In what was a busy week for Chicago Fire FC player signings, Argentinian midfielder Gastón Giménez was announced as the Club’s newest Designated Player on Monday.
Giménez, 28, joins Fire FC from Argentine Superliga club Veléz Sarsfield, where he appeared 47 times across all competitions since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.
Get to know the Formosa native with five fast facts on his career so far, as he looks to be the latest in a long line of Argentine exports to make an impact in Major League Soccer:
Gimenéz is Fire FC’s second Designated Player of Argentine descent in Club history, joining countryman Ignacio Aliseda -- who’s signature was just announced on Wednesday. The veteran holding midfielder is the Club's 18th Designated Player overall, and the 39th Argentine Designated Player to join MLS since the rule was adopted ahead of the 2007 season.
Giménez and Aliseda join forward and fellow 2020 newcomer Robert Berić as the Fire's three allotted Designated Players for the upcoming regular season campaign.
Coincidentally, Giménez and Aliseda have gone head-to-head before dating back their time in the Argentine first division. The two shared the field for 54 minutes in a Superliga clash between Giménez’s Vélez Sarsfield and Aliseda’s Defensa y Justicia on Nov. 15, 2018.
Both players started from the outset in what became 3-2 victory for Defensa.
Across the Continent
Giménez has appeared for his native Argentina at the national team level on one occasion, coming on as a second half substitution in a friendly against Mexico on Nov. 17, 2018. In that match Gimenez matched up against former Liga MX standout and fellow MLS newcomer Alan Pulido, who signed for Sporting Kansas City in December.
At the club level, Giménez has 13 appearances in international tournaments coming out of his career in Argentina. He featured in the Copa Libertadores for both Godoy Cruz and Estudiantes, and recently took part in both of Vélez Sarsfield’s two February matches in the 2020 Copa Libertadores tournament.
One of Vélez Sarsfield’s most effective two-way threats, Giménez departs the club as it’s fourth-highest rated performer according to WhoScored. Defensively, Giménez is top-three in the club in tackles (2.6), blocks (0.4), and clearances (2.6) per 90 minutes played.
Giménez has been among Vélez Sarsfield’s highest-usage performers from the middle of the park, averaging 50.8 touches per game. Alongside former Real Madrid man Fernando Gago, Giménez is also one of the team’s most effective long ball players, leading all field players with 61 completed this season.
During his time in the Superliga, Giménez took on several of Major League Soccer’s current crop of Argentine ex-pats.
The Vélez Sarsfield product will recognize New England’s Gustavo Bou (formerly of Racing Club), Portland’s Sebastian Blanco (formerly of San Lorenzo), and LA Galaxy’s Cristian Pavón (formerly of Boca Juniors), each he has faced at least once in Superliga play.
In addition, the Fire's 2020 home opener against Atlanta United on March 21 at Soldier Field looks to be a Superliga reunion of sorts, with Giménez potentially lining up against former Superliga opponents Ezequiel Barco (Independiente), Franco Escobar (Newell’s), Pity Martínez (River Plate), and Eric Remedi (CA Banfield).