Nelson Haedo is one of Paraguay’s most beloved players for his hard running, never-say-die attitude on the pitch matched by a genuine rags to riches story off it. While Sid Lowe’s wonderful piece from a few years back covers the latter here are the facts and stats on Valencia’s latest signing.
Nelson Haedo Valdez
D.o.B: 28 November 1983
Height: 1.78 metres
Club: Valencia (Spain)
Former Clubs: Tembertary (Paraguay), Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund (both Germany), Hercules (Spain), Rubin Kazan (Russia)
International Caps: 59
International Goals: 12
The striker was plucked from obscurity at the turn of the century by German club Werder Bremen having been spotted in the Paraguayan Intermedia. Haedo Valdez has never been a great scorer of goals nor a scorer of great goals, his strength lies in his stamina and determination that allows him to support teammates and create spaces from his constant running. With that in mind he is wasted as a lone striker where he was used occassionally in the national team and at Valencia will have to be used in conjunction with somebody like Roberto Soldado or Pablo Piatti. Nelson will run, take defenders away, break down attacks while his striker partner can poach to their heart’s content.
The striker is a hero in his native Paraguay and is seen as the epitomy of the Garra Guaraní which he displays every time he pulls on the albirroja. Such is his desire to do well for the national team he often plays much better than some of his more talented compatriots, in the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers he scored five goals, only Salvador Cabañas (6) managed more in Paraguay’s campaign. The most memorable of which has to be the only goal against Diego Maradona’s Argentina, capping an excellent passing move. A man for the big occassion he scored against Brazil in last year’s Copa América and was desperately close to knocking out Spain in the 2010 World Cup (his first-half strike was ruled out for offside).
In Russia Nelson Haedo Valdez has enjoyed success on the field with Rubin Kazan, winning the Russian Cup and Russian Super Cup, but he always struggled to adapt to the life and the climate. On a trip back to Paraguay with the national team he told local radio “It’s so cold even your snot freezes” when talking about the harsh conditions. Now in warmer climes he should be more at home; regardless of the weather Valencia have got a player who will give it his all as it is the only way he knows how.
By Ralph Hannah