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South American Nicknames in La Liga

 Posted by on March 31, 2014 at 10:56 am  The Ball is Flat
Mar 312014
Tune into a Spanish language broadcast here in the States and you’ll usually here announcers, usually Argentines, spouting out names of players from Argentina playing in Spain and you’ll hear some really interesting nicknames for some very familiar players. To give a little color, I decided to research some of these. I tried my best, some are really difficult, since I am neither Argentinean nor an expert on the game there, so disculpe, my apologies if I’ve made any mistakes. By the way, if you notice, for many reasons, there are some clubs that do not participate because they have no Argentines in their ranks.

The Big Two
Real Madrid CF: Angel di Maria: El Angelito and Di Magia are both referring to his name: Angelito means little Angel and Di Magia replaces parts of his last name with the Spanish word for magic. El Flaco (Skinny), El Pibito (little man) and Fideo (noodle) all refer to his slight stature.

FC Barcelona: Lionel Messi: La pulga atomica or the atomic flea. Interesting how Sebastien Giovinco at Juve has a similar title and plays similarly. Javier Mascherano: Masche, a shortening of his last name, El Jefecito, or the little chief.
The Rest of La Liga
Almeria: Sebastián Dubarbier: Sebas and Dubas are both related to his name. El Frances is due to his French name and/or ancestry

Atletico Madrid: Emiliano Insua: Pochito, which refers to the fact that despite the fact that he was born in Argentina and raised early on by Boca Juniors, Liverpool FC in England trained him so he has that stigma of being more English than Argentine, therefore Pocho or Pochito, Jose Sosa: El Principito, or the Little Prince.

Celta Vigo: Gustavo Cabral: El Sargentito, which means the little seargant, or El Negro, which refers to his dark skin color. Agusto Matias Fernandez: El Negro, which also refers to his dark skin color.

Espanyol: Diego Colotto. El Coly, a shortening of his last name or El Cordobes, because he comes from Cordoba, Argentina.

Granada: Diego Bunoanotte: El Enano, or the midget referring to his being close to 5 feet tall.

Malaga: Pablo Perez: El Fantastico, or the Fantastic One, or PP8 referring to his initials and his shirt number. Fernando Tissone: Tisso DJ, referring to is passion for music and his willingness to spin tunes in the dressing room and also a shortening of his last name. Willy Caballero: Willy, an obvious one, Marcos Angeleri, El cáscara or Cascarita (eggshell) because as a kid his uncle named him that because of his rowdy and combative nature, picking fights, Mambrú after an Argentine children's song that refers to the Duke of Marlborouogh dying in war, Comandante refers to Subcomandante Marcos the Zapatista rebel leader, el Locomía for his resemblance to a Spanish pop group singer and I mean I could go on. The guy has a nickname for every day of the week. Ezequiel Relscaldani: Rescaldowsky, I guess because of his Polish background?

Osasuna: Emeliano Armenteros: Armen, which is a shortening of his last name, Pelado or baldy, or Travesaño which means crossbar referring to his defensive prowess.

Rayo Vallecano: Leonel Galeano: cebolla or onion, a guy who makes the opponents cry and Joaquin Larrivey, El Bati Gol or Larry Gol, both refer to his striking resemblance to Gabriel 'Batigol' Batistuta.

Real Betis: Guillermo Sara, Saramago, which is a portmanteau of his last name Sara and mago which means magician, Guille, which is a shortening of his first name and parapenales, which means penalty-stopper.

Sevilla: Nicolas Pareja: El Peludo, the hairy One or El Flaco, skinny. Federico Fazio, el Gigante or the Giant, which refers to his stature

Valencia: Federico Cartabia: Fede, which is a shorting of his first name, or La Joya, which means the Jewel. Pablo Piatti: Pablito, which is a shortening of his name and means little Pablo, or El Duende which means the Elf and refers to his slight stature.

Villareal: Mateo Musaccio: el joven-veterano, the young-veteran, which refers to his poise in defense.


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The Ball is Flat is a website and podcast devoted to the Beautiful Game. Football, Futbol, Fusball or whatever you call it, it is the game that divides and unites us. The Ball is Flat's mission is to cover European football with an eye open, the heart in motion, and the brain colored with the right amount of cheerful cynicism. Read more:

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