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Player Profile : Mati Fernandez

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Matias Fernandez Signed from Chilean powerhouse Colo Colo ‘Matigol’ joined Villarreal in January 2007, the 2006 South American Player Of The Year made his debut against Valencia and went on to notch up 1 goal and 7 assists in the second half of the Liga campaign. The goal coming in a 3-0 defeat of Gimnastic de Tarragona. Despite these good stats it was widely felt that Matias had not completely adapted to La Liga and that he was perhaps suffering from fatigue after a couple of seasons without a break .Towards the end of the season Pellegrini mainly used him as an impact sub.Fernandez is an attacking midfielder in the playmaker mould, his best position is just off the strikers where he can pick up the ball and dictate the attack. He’s got skill, pace and a great eye for a pass, set pieces are also his forte however we have not gotten to see many of them due to the clinical finishing of Nihat. A Chilean international Matias is key to ‘El Loco’ Bielsa’s plans for Chiles World Cup Qualifying campaign.At the beginning of the 2007-08 season Mati had to be content with a place on the bench, and was mainly deployed in a left midfield position, however some good performances from the bench (including a match winning penalty against Sevilla) and in the Uefa Cup led to him getting more playing time and recently he’s started 3 consecutive games and scored a goal against Levante. Pellegrini has stated that he is happy with Mati’s progress but he feels that there is a lot more to come from him. Overall the 8.7 million euros invested in Mati looks to be money well spent, he has said that he is happy at Villarreal and it looks that he is starting to find himself on the playing field. images courtesy of villarrealcf.es