At just 5.6ft (1.72m), Gary Medel may not be the classic size for a defensive midfielder but donâ€™t be fooled, the â€œChilean pitbullâ€ is one of the most exciting talents in South America. This multi-talented player, born in Pudahuel, a small commune located in Santiago Province, has numerous qualities that make him currently the brightest prospect in Chile.
With a game based on intensity and high energy it comes as no surprise that the Chilean press has fallen in love with this hard-working player. Medel has been nicknamed the â€œChilean Gattusoâ€ after the AC Milan and Italy midfielder and the â€œpitbullâ€ â€“ the same moniker attached to another defensive midfielder with seemingly boundless energy, Edgar Davids.
Medel is the most exciting and intelligent player in the Primera Division, he has a strong shot, great heading ability and a wonderful passing style.Â As a defensive midfielder he knows the importance of finding his team mates with accurate passes and he can also play a defence-splitting through ball.
According to the IMScouting database, the estimated market value of the former captain of the Chile Under-20 team is â‚¬4,500K whilst his estimated salary per year is â‚¬31K. This right-footed player who can also play at the back and on either side of the midfield may be attractive to La Liga teams as his only language is Spanish.
The 21-year-old box-to-box midfielder came to the fore for the national team on the 15th of June, 2008 against Bolivia when the pint-sized Medel became the new hero of Chile with two goals including a stunning bicycle kick in a 2-0 win.
Following his match-winning performance, Medel commented with characteristic humility, “it was great game for me, but I always think about the team in order to win.” The Univ Catolica player continued, “the most important thing was the three points for our campaign.â€
The above comments following the World Cup qualifier are excellent proof of his level headedness and why many football experts in Chile believe Medel is a certainty to be a huge player in the future.
This defensive midfielder played in both the recent World Cup qualifying games for Chile, coach Marcelo Bielsa had complete faith in him and he played a powerful 90 minutes against a strong Brazil side that ran out 3-0 winners. Following the defeat to Dungaâ€™s side, Medel was a key member of the side that bounced back in style just three days later with a comprehensive 4-0 win against Colombia.
In the Primera Division this season he has made 21 appearances and scored two goals. In yet more evidence of his balanced temperament, Medel has received 10 yellow cards so far this campaign but has yet to receive a red card.
This is Medelâ€™s second full season for Univ Catolica, during his first for the club he scored four goals in 25 games, a very impressive figure for a defensive midfielder.
At the end of season 2007, the supporters of Catolica chose him as their Player of the Season and Chile coach Marcelo Biesla commented at the time that â€œMendel has to stay humble like he is. He has all the right qualities to join a super club in Europe.”
Medelâ€™s contract expires in 2012 and the sky is the limit for a rare breed of defensive midfielder, one who, according to the IMScouting system combines a high level of strength with top quality technique and creativity.
Video evidence of Gary Medel in action can be seen here.