Ariel Ortega

Ariel Ortega
Ortega in a River Plate shirt in 2013
Personal information
Full name Arnaldo Ariel Ortega
Date of birth (1974-03-04) 4 March 1974
Place of birth Ledesma, Jujuy, Argentina
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder / Forward
Youth career
–1990 Atlético Ledesma[1]
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1996 River Plate 134 (30)
1997–1998 Valencia 29 (9)
1998–1999 Sampdoria 27 (8)
1999–2000 Parma 18 (3)
2000–2002 River Plate 56 (23)
2002–2003 Fenerbahçe 14 (5)
2004–2006 Newell's Old Boys 53 (11)
2006–2012 River Plate 82 (12)
2008–2009Independiente (Riv) (loan) 25 (4)
2011All Boys (loan) 12 (0)
2011–2012Def. Belgrano (loan) 27 (4)
Total 447 (109)
National team
1993–2010 Argentina 87 (16)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ariel Arnaldo Ortega (born 4 March 1974) is a retired Argentine footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. His nickname is "El Burrito" ("The Little Donkey"), thus he is called "Burrito Ortega".

Ariel Ortega first played for Club Atlético River Plate on 14 December 1991 and until 1996 and returned in 2000–02, 2006–08 and 2009–11.[2] Ortega's other clubs include Fenerbahçe, Parma, Sampdoria, Valencia, and Newell's Old Boys. A former Argentina international, Ortega played for his country in the 1994, 1998, and 2002 World Cups. He was also a member of the team that won the silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Biography and career

Beginnings in Argentina

Ortega began his professional football career in 1991 with Argentine club River Plate. With the club, he won the Primera División in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1996, as well as the Copa Libertadores in 1996. He lost out on the 1996 Intercontinental Cup final to Juventus.


Ortega left Argentina in 1996. He played 1½ seasons for Valencia CF before being signed by Sampdoria in 1998 for 23 billion Italian lire (£8 million),[3] replacing Juan Sebastián Verón. After the club was relegated to Serie B, Ortega joined Parma AC, rejoining national and former club teammate Hernán Crespo, replacing Verón again who left for Lazio. Parma paid Sampdoria 28 billion lire (£9.4 million).[4] However, in the following season he returned to Argentina with River Plate, to compensate unpaid 12 billion lire transfer fees of Crespo. (The 10% of the transfer fees to Lazio) Claudio Husaín also joined the club.[5] River Plate acquired 50% registration rights of Ortega for a reported 5.5 million dollars.[6] While, in Parma AC annual filing to Italian government, Ortega was sold for 11 billion lire.[7]

Fenerbahçe and ban

In May 2002, Fenerbahçe signed Ortega from River Plate for a fee of USD 7,500,000 (USD 2,500,000 of which was paid to Parma). Fenerbahçe also bought his image rights for a further USD 1,500,000. Ortega signed a 4-year contract.[8] He was one of the key players of the team, scoring 5 goals in 14 matches.

Fenerbahçe were forced to file a complaint to FIFA in April 2003 as Ortega had failed to return from international duty since 12 February 2003.[8] In June 2003 the FIFA Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) ordered Ortega to pay Fenerbahçe USD 11,000,000 as compensation for breach of an employment contract and suspended him until 30 December 2003.[8] Ortega appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July 2003 but the case was dismissed on 5 November.[8] Ortega served a 4-month suspension from that day.[8] After the ban he was without a club.

Return to Argentina

In 2004, when he could finally come back to football, he joined Newell's Old Boys after he was called by his friend Américo Gallego, who at the time was Newell's' coach. Newell paid an unknown sum to Fenerbahçe as part compensation for what Ortega owed the club. They won the Apertura 2004.

In June 2006, he went back to his first team River Plate, where he played for about half of the Apertura 2006,[9] before he stopped to begin treatment for alcoholism. On January 2007, during River's pre-season in Mar del Plata, and one day after playing an excellent game in which he scored, he surprised everyone with another alcoholic episode, after which River Plate's doctors suggested to the coach that Ortega should go back to Buenos Aires to resume treatment for his problem.

Coach Daniel Passarella later brought Ortega back, stating he was ready for a comeback. On 15 March 2007, in a Copa Libertadores 2007 match against LDU Quito, Ortega formed part of River's bench but was not given a chance to play. However, three days later, in a league match versus Quilmes, he came on during the second half to help break the opposing team's defense in a tight 0–0 up to that point. Ortega scored a controversial goal with his hand, in the 93rd minute, to give River the victory and himself a great comeback.

Upon the arrival of Diego Simeone as head coach of River, Ortega allegedly lost some "protections" he was rumoured to have and, despite being an important part of the team that achieved the Clausura 2008 title, Simeone left him out of the squad for the upcoming season, reasoning his decision on Ortega having several times not come to train as well as some episodes of alcoholism.[10][11][12] After some controversy[13] and rumours[14][15] in the winter window of Argentine market, he was loaned to Nacional B side Independiente Rivadavia,[16] signing a one-year contract where a twice a week trip to a Chilean Special Treatment Center for alcoholics[17] is one of the clauses. On 1 May 2009 the player has been let go by Independiente officials. The club decided to terminate his contract in advance. Ortega was on loan from River Plate. On his first game back in River Plate, 25 July 2009, he scored an outstanding chip shot goal to give River a 1–0 victory over Everton F.C. of England in Edmonton, Canada during the preseason. In the 2009 Apertura, Ortega scored a wonder lobbed goal against Chacarita Juniors to give River Plate a 4–3 victory. Later in the tournament, he scored a last minute equalizer against Estudiantes.

In the 2010 Clausura, Ortega started River's first two matches, but suffered another alcoholic relapse and missed the next ten games before returning against Newell's Old Boys in the 13th round of matches.

In 2011, he was loaned to Defensores de Belgrano.

On 8 April 2012, Fox Sports Argentina journalist Juan José Buscalia, confirmed that Ortega would join Chilean Primera División club Unión San Felipe in June 2012.


Ortega was included in the squad for the 1994 World Cup. His debut in the starting eleven occurred on 3 July 1994 when Argentina was knocked out of the competition by Romania. He also reached the final of the 1995 King Fahd Cup with Argentina, and he won a Silver Olympic medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Ortega was handed the #10 shirt for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where he was expected to carry the mantle of the team's playmaker, and it was his first World Cup as an established star. Despite impressing in the early rounds to be considered a favorite as player of the tournament, Ortega was most notable for his sending-off in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands. Ortega received a second yellow card for head-butting Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar when van der Sar confronted him after a dive in the penalty area, for which Ortega was just getting his first yellow card. Shortly after Ortega's sending-off, Dennis Bergkamp scored the winning goal to make it 2–1, eliminating Argentina.

Ortega was also a member of the squad for the 2002 World Cup. Ortega missed a penalty in the last match against Sweden, which was then followed up and converted into the back of the net by Hernan Crespo, nonetheless the result meant that Argentina was knocked out in the first round.

On 24 September 2009, he was recalled to the Argentina national first-team squad,[18] but a couple of days later, it was announced that Ariel Ortega would miss the friendly match against Ghana due to an injury he picked up during the weekend in the Argentine Domestic League.[19]

In April 2010, 17 years after his Argentina debut, Ortega received a call-up again, this time against Haiti.[20] All the players in Diego Maradona's squad were from the Primera División Argentina. He played the match as starting XI on 5 May.[21]

Style of play

A highly creative player with excellent technical ability, Ortega was well known for his pace, mobility, dribbling, and skills from dead ball situations, as well as his ball trickery, clever body feints, and lobbed shots. At his prime he was one of the best dribblers in the world; primarily deployed as an attacking midfielder, Ortega was an effective playmaker due to his vision and passing ability, which earned him comparisons with Maradona as a youth. Along with his skills, Ortega was infamously temperamental, and he was criticised throughout his career for not living up to his potential.[22]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Argentina League Cup South America Total
1991–92River PlatePrimera División141????
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1996–97[23]ValenciaLa Liga1270000127
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1998–99SampdoriaSerie A278??????
Argentina League Cup South America Total
2000–01River PlatePrimera División279????
Turkey League Türkiye Kupası Europe Total
2002–03[25]FenerbahçeSüper Lig1450060205
Argentina League Cup South America Total
2004–05Newell's Old BoysPrimera División245??
2006–07River Plate18430214
2008–09Independiente RivadaviaPrimera B Nacional254254
2009–10River PlatePrimera División132202
Total Argentina 32578????
Spain 329??????
Italy 4511??????
Turkey 1450060205
Career total 416103??????



Argentina national team

International goals



River Plate
1991 Apertura, 1993 Apertura, 1994 Apertura, 1996 Apertura, 2002 Clausura, 2008 Clausura
Newell's Old Boys
2004 Apertura


Argentina U-23


  • South American Team of the Year: 4
1994, 1996, 2001, 2002[51]


  1. "Ortega said: Gracias a la camiseta de River y a los hinchas" (in Spanish). Olé.
  2. es:Ariel Ortega#Inicios
  3. Bartolozzi, Bruno (29 July 1998). "Ortega alla Samp per 23 miliardi, il Betis sonda Cesare Maldini". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  4. Monti, Fabio (4 July 1999). "Ortega, un affare da 28 miliardi". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  5. Laudisa, Carlo (10 August 2000). "Ortega dà l' addio al Parma Torna al River con Husain". La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  6. "Ariel Ortega vuelve a River". La Nación (in Spanish). 9 August 2000. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  7. AC Parma SpA Report and Accounts on 30 June 2011 (in Italian), CCIAA Archive (require login and purchase)
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 "Arbitration CAS 2003/O/482 Ariel Ortega v/ Fenerbahçe & Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), award of 5 November 2002" (PDF). The Court of Arbitration for Sport. 5 November 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  9. "Tactical Formation". Retrieved 26 January 2007.
  10. "Ortega said: I will leave River" (in Spanish). Clarín.
  11. "Aguilar forced Ortega and Simeone to an agreement" (in Spanish). Clarín.
  12. "Ortega is left out of River squad" (in Spanish). Clarín.
  13. "New scandal by Ariel Ortega" (in Spanish). La Nueva. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011.
  14. "Ariel Ortega is too close to UAE" (in Spanish). ESPN.
  15. "Dallas FC aims on Ariel Ortega" (in Spanish). La Nación.
  16. "Ortega signs for Independiente Rivadavia" (in Spanish). La Nación.
  17. "Ortega signs for Independiente Rivadavia" (in Spanish). La Nación.
  18. "Ortega returns to Argentina squad after six years". 25 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  19. "La Selección se entrenará hoy y mañana por la tarde" (in Spanish). AFA. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  20. "Diego Maradona dio la lista para el amistoso ante Haití". AFA (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. 27 April 2010. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  21. "La Selección Argentina derrotó a Haití". AFA (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. 5 May 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  22. Mora, Marcela (18 January 2007). "Ariel Ortega - just an ordinary genius". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  23. 1 2 "Historical Data". LFP. Archived from the original on 1 December 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
  24. Soccerbase
  25. "Player Details". Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  26. | Conmebol
  27. "Ariel Ortega". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  28. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  29. "International Matches 1994 - Intercontinental, January–April". RSSSF. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  30. 1 2 "International Matches 1994 - Intercontinental, May–August". RSSSF. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  31. International Matches 1994 - South America
  32. "International Matches 1994 – Intercontinental, September–December". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  34. International Matches 1995 - Intercontinental, January-March
  35. 1 2 3 International Matches 1995 - Intercontinental, April-June
  36. International Matches 1995 - Intercontinental, July-September Archived 15 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. 1 2 International Matches 1995 - South America Archived 9 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  38. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  39. Match Report 28 December 1996
  40. 1 2 3 International Matches 1998 - Intercontinental Archived 7 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  41. Match Report 24 February 1998
  42. Sambafoot Match Report Archived 10 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  43. Match Report 14 May 1998 Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  44. All Bafana Games Part 1 Archived 5 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  45. International Matches 1999 - Intercontinental
  46. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  47. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  48. International Matches 1999 - South America
  49. Match Report 23 February 2000
  50. International Matches 2002 - Intercontinental, July-December
  51. "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  52. FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info Archived 17 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.