Esteban Cambiasso and the greatness of reliability

An element of football that is often underrated by fans is being reliable. There is so much you can accomplish by being a player that gets the job done and does so with a very high level of consistency. The capacity to not have a lot of notorious ups and downs is something that can be a huge difference-maker in the world of football and one that could separate winning from losing.

Esteban Cambiasso
In that regard, there are a lot of different things to take into account, such as dedication, professionalism, intelligence and capacity to adapt to the demands of top level football. In that regard, Argentinian defensive midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, mostly known for his time at Italian giants Inter Milan, is a very a good example of all these things and today we are going to have a look at his career.

This is Esteban Cambiasso and this is who he was as a player. Let's begin.

Early days and Real Madrid

Born in Argentina in August of 1980, Esteban Cambiasso showed a lot of promise for football from an early age and was admitted in one of the highest-regarded youth academies of his country, Argentinos Juniors, mostly known for producing the likes of Diego Maradona and Juan Román Riquelme. And after a promising 1995/96 season at youth level, being only 16 years old, he signed for Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants took their time with Cambiasso and didn't rush him to the first team, knowing full went that he wasn't ready yet to play at that level. So he spent three season at Independiente at Argentina from 1998 to 2001 where he started to make a name for himself, and another season in that league, this time with another big club in River Plate (winning his first trophy and league title that year), cemented him as one to watch in South American football.

Cambiasso came back to Madrid in the summer of 2002 and now he was part of a squad that had the Galacticos, such as Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo Nazario. And while won La Liga in 2003, the UEFA SuperCup and the International Cup in 2002 and the Spanish Super Cup in 2003 in his two years at the Santiago Bernabeu, the reality is that his time there wasn't the best.

This was a weird time period in Real Madrid where some of their star performers were getting way too much leeway and the supporting ones were not getting a lot of backing, which resulted in a massive lack of balance that proved to be too costly. In that regard, Cambiasso was lost in the mix and failed to play regularly, often having to slot in with an unbalanced midfield and defensive structure.

After almost ten years betting on him and nurturing his development, Madrid decided that it was better to cut their losses and the player was let go as a free agent in the summer of 2004, signing in the process for Italian giants Inter Milan.

Glory at Inter

Esteban Cambiasso spent an entire decade at Inter Milan and there is no doubt that it was the best period of his career. It was one of those unions where you can obviously tell that both parties benefitted greatly: Cambiasso finally found a home in Europe where he could play regularly as an important of the team and Inter found a midfield general that could give them a lot of defensive solidity.

In fact, it is no coincidence that Cambiasso's arrival also helped Inter to push for more trophies and kick start a successful domination in the remainder of the decade. He became a lynchpin in their midfield and a lot of defensive actions were solved because of his own performances, plus he had the ability to score a very decent amount of goals for a player in his position.

While Cambiasso never enjoyed a lot of playing time with his national team, perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of Argentinian football during this time period, there is no denying that he found a lot of love and appreciation at Inter. The treble he won in 2010 under the tutelage of manager Jose Mourinho was a grand example of this as it felt like a reward after years of struggling in Europe and never reaching that coveted UEFA Champions League trophy.

By the time he left the club as a free agent in 2014, he had more than earned the title of club legend and deserved all the recognition he received during his departure.

The period after Inter

Cambiasso signed for Premier League team Leicester City for the 2014/15 season. They were newly promoted to the top division of English football and Cambiasso played a big role in helping them stay afloat, even going as far as winning their Player of the Year Award. He became a fan-favorite after scoring an equalizer in their now-classic 5-3 victory over Manchester United early that season.

He didn't sign a new contract and went to Greek giants Olympiacos, and he played more than forty games across two seasons from 2015 to 2017, helping them win the league twice in a row. Afterwards, he decided to retire at the end of his second season in Greece.

Esteban Cambiasso's career might not have the biggest amounts of ups and downs, frantic events or interesting scandals, but what it has is a blueprint of how a player should carry himself during his career. He was always the top professional, the top performer and a consistent player that was there for his teams through thick and thin.

This is the kind of reliable players that can make a difference for any team.