London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Wed 09 Aug 2006 Hearts 1 AEK Athens 2 Team-> Page->
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Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth None auth-> Nicolai Vollquartz
Aguiar Bruno [P Kapetanos 88] ;[N Liberopoulos 93]
26 of 066 Saulius Mikoliunas 61 E H

Rough Guide: Maurizio Pinilla (Hearts)

Maurizio Pinilla’s career so far resembles a pub crawl of all the major European leagues. Although still 22, the Chilean has played in Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s Primera Liga and Portugal’s Liga before his latest transfer which will see him play in Scotland’s Premier Division for Hearts.

Having made a name for himself with one of his home country’s foremost sides Universidad De Chile where he scored twenty goals in thirty nine games, Pinilla was brought to Europe by Inter Milan. There he was seen as a good prospect and, typically for Italy, was loaned out to gain experience.

He couldn’t have chosen a better club as Chievo Verona has built their reputation on the ability to turn potential into results. With Pinilla, however, they failed. The move probably came too early in his career – he was just 19 years-old – as he suffered the usual problems of being away from both family and friends.

A move to Spain and Celta Vigo followed but again he failed to shine, scoring no goals in the six games he played there. Another season brought another move as he joined Sporting Lisbon.

It was in Portugal that he first started to find his feet, where despite being largely a squad player he managed to score his first goals in Europe and played a key part as the Lisbon side reached the final of the UEFA Cup.

This however, didn’t prevent another move and during the January transfer window of this year he was off to Racing Santander. There the mad insistence of chairman Diego Pitterman to manage the side didn’t help him into settling down and the end result was just one goal in thirteen games.

Back home, his reputation was solid enough as he retained his place in the national squad. His total of three goals in the qualification for the World Cup doesn’t seem much but it was the most any Chilean player scored.

Whether it was this fact that brought him to the attention of Hearts is doubtful yet, whilst the move does have its potential pitfalls, it will be interesting to see how he fares in Scotland.

The basic talent is there. Pinilla has the flair and technical ability that the fans will love provided he is determined enough to make the most of this latest opportunity. Having changed clubs every year since moving to Europe in 2003 he will be aware that what his career needs most of all at the moment is stability.

Cynics might point out that given what happened last season, Hearts isn’t exactly perfectly suited for that. In truth, however, it is just what he needs. They showed with Rudi Skacel that they can offer players the possibility to progress to a higher level and it shouldn’t be any different for Pinilla.

If Ivanauskas can get him to regularly play to the utmost of his abilities then the Edinburgh side will have a player who can score goals and, equally as important, create chances for his team-mates.

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