Gabriel Heinze

Gabriel Iván Heinze (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaˈβɾjel ˈxejnse]; born 19 April 1978) is an Argentine former footballer who operated as either a left-back or a central defender,[3] and is the current manager of Atlanta United in Major League Soccer.

Gabriel Heinze
Heinze in 2007
Personal information
Full name Gabriel Iván Heinze[1]
Date of birth (1978-04-19) 19 April 1978[2]
Place of birth Crespo, Argentina[1]
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Atlanta United (head coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1997 Newell's Old Boys 8 (0)
1997–2001 Valladolid 54 (1)
1998–1999Sporting CP (loan) 5 (1)
2001–2004 Paris Saint-Germain 99 (4)
2004–2007 Manchester United 52 (1)
2007–2009 Real Madrid 44 (3)
2009–2011 Marseille 58 (7)
2011–2012 Roma 30 (0)
2012–2014 Newell's Old Boys 54 (3)
Total 404 (20)
National team
2004 Argentina Olympic 6 (1)
2003–2010 Argentina 72 (3)
Teams managed
2015 Godoy Cruz
2016–2017 Argentinos Juniors
2017–2020 Vélez Sarsfield
2020– Atlanta United
Representing  Argentina
Men's Football
Copa América
Runner-up2004 Peru
Runner-up2007 Venezuela
FIFA Confederations Cup
2005 GermanyTeam
Olympic Games
2004 AthensTeam
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Nicknamed Gringo ("Foreigner" in Argentine–Spanish slang),[4][5] he made a name for himself at Paris Saint-Germain, moving in 2004 to Manchester United and subsequently to Real Madrid, winning three trophies in total with the latter two clubs. He started and finished his 18-year professional career with Newell's Old Boys.

Heinze played 72 times with Argentina, representing the nation at two World Cups and as many Copa América tournaments.

Playing career

Early career

Heinze was born in Crespo, Entre Ríos to a Volga German father[6] and an Italian mother, thus also held an Italian[7] and a German passport.[8][9] He began his career in his home country with Newell's Old Boys and, following attention from various European clubs, the 19-year-old signed for Real Valladolid in Spain, not managing one single La Liga appearance in his first season and also being loaned to Sporting CP in December 1998.[10]

After the 2000–01 campaign, where he appeared in 36 league games to help the Castile and León side narrowly avoid top flight relegation, Heinze moved to Paris Saint-Germain, where he amassed over 100 overall appearances in three years, helping to the 2004 conquest of the Coupe de France.

Manchester United

In June 2004, Heinze joined Manchester United for a fee of £6.9 million.[8] He marked his debut on 11 September with a goal in a 2–2 away draw against Bolton Wanderers,[11] and immediately established himself as first-choice left-back, being regularly lauded by fans with the chant of "Ar-gen-tina!"[12] and eventually voted the club's best player for the 2004–05 season.[13]

On 14 September 2005, Heinze was injured in a UEFA Champions League match with Villarreal and was ruled out of first-team action for the rest of the campaign.[14] Previously, he had scored two goals in the same competition, the 3–0 second-leg qualifier away win over Debreceni.[15] He made a comeback with the reserve team in April 2006, but a minor injury picked up in his third game back prevented him from making a first-team appearance before the end of the season. The consequence of this injury was the signing of Patrice Evra, who went on to become the club's first-choice left-back in the following years.

Heinze returned to action for United in 2006–07, and eventually won a place in the side back as a central defender, due to an injury crisis. After the team had sealed the Premier League title, he was named captain for the last two games of the season, away to Chelsea[16] and at home to West Ham United.[17]

After becoming disillusioned with manager Alex Ferguson by his lack of regular first-team action,[18] Heinze demanded a transfer to Liverpool during the close season.[19] United rejected the bid, believed to be in the region of £6.8 million.[20]

Real Madrid

Heinze playing with Real Madrid against Valencia in 2009

On 22 August 2007, Heinze joined Real Madrid on a four-year deal, becoming the third United player to join the Spaniards (after David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy), for a reported £8 million fee.[21] He made his debut on 2 September against Villarreal, coming on as a substitute for Raúl.[22] On 30 March 2008 he netted his first goal for the Merengues, in a 3–1 home win over Sevilla,[23] and finished his debut season with 20 appearances to help win the league.

Heinze was more regularly used in his second year at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, but the club came out empty in silverware, with the exception of that year's Supercopa de España.[24]


Heinze in action for Marseille (2010)

On 30 July 2009, Heinze joined Marseille on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, reuniting at the Ligue 1 club with countryman Lucho González.[25] In his first year he scored a career-best four league goals in 27 matches, as L'OM won both the national championship and the season's Coupe de la Ligue. On 27 March 2010 he was a starter as his team defeated Bordeaux in the latter competition's final, for Marseille's first major title since 1993;[26] on 5 May, he netted the opener in a 3–1 home win against Rennes, which clinched the league.[27] Manager Didier Deschamps later described the season's events as an "extraordinary human adventure".[28]

Heinze was again a defensive stalwart in the 2010–11 season. On 20 March 2011, he scored from a free kick to help defeat his former club PSG 2–1 at home in the Clasico.[29]

On 1 June 2011, it was announced on Marseille's website that 33-year-old Heinze would leave the club at the end of the season.[30]

Later years

Heinze joined Serie A side A.S. Roma on 22 July 2011, after being released by Marseille at the end of June.[31] He made his competitive debut on 11 September, in a 1–2 home loss against Cagliari.[32]

On 19 March 2012, after appearing in his 25th official game, Heinze had his contract automatically renewed for another year.[33] However, just five months later, it was announced on Roma's official website that he was being released from his contract with immediate effect;[34] the day after his release[35] he joined his original club, Newell's Old Boys, on a two-year deal.[36]


Heinze first represented Argentina on 30 April 2003, in a friendly away win with Libya.[37] The following year, he won a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, scoring in a 6–0 group stage rout of Serbia and Montenegro.[38]

Despite missing most of 2005–06 with Manchester United due to injury, Heinze was called up for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany. In the quarter-final clash against the hosts, he started as Argentina lost on penalties.[39]

Heinze participated in the 2007 Copa América, scoring with his head from a Juan Román Riquelme free kick in the semi-finals against Mexico, a 3–0 win for the eventual runners-up.[40] In the 2010 FIFA World Cup he played in four of Argentina's five matches in South Africa, netting the game's only goal – his third international – in a group stage victory over Nigeria.[41]

Coaching career

Even though he still did not possess the proper license, Heinze began working as a manager in June 2015, being appointed at Godoy Cruz in the Argentine Primera División.[42][43] He was sacked on 27 September, following two wins, two draws and six defeats.[44]

Heinze signed at Argentinos Juniors in June 2016, also as a coach. In July of the following year, after achieving top-level promotion, he resigned.[45]

On 11 December 2017, in the same capacity, Heinze was appointed at Vélez Sarsfield.[46] Having led the team to two consecutive Copa Sudamericana qualifications, he chose not to continue past the end of the 2019–20 season.[47]

On 18 December 2020, Heinze was named manager of Major League Soccer club Atlanta United on a two-year contract.[48] On his debut the following 6 April, the side won by one goal away to LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica, in the last-16 first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League.[49]

Personal life

Heinze was named in the Panama Papers, a 2016 leak of offshore accounts used for tax evasion. In 2005, he signed an endorsement with Puma AG in which at least a million dollars was paid to him over a period of five years through an account in his mother's name in the British Virgin Islands.[50]

An urban myth, published in sources including UEFA's website, alleged that Heinze was a member of Y Wladfa, the Welsh-speaking colony in Patagonia. This was proven false by a Manchester United spokeswoman.[7]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubDivision AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1996–97 Newell's Old Boys Primera División 800080
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1997–98 Valladolid La Liga 0000000000
1998–99 0010000010
Portugal League Taça de Portugal Taça da Liga Europe Total
1998–99 Sporting Primeira Liga 5110000061
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1999–2000 Valladolid La Liga 180100000190
2000–01 361100000371
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2001–02 Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 310000020330
2002–03 352000040392
2003–04 332000000332
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2004–05 Manchester United Premier League 261402070391
2005–06 4000002262
2006–07 220612080381
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
2007–08 Real Madrid La Liga 201200040261
2008–09 242102070342
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2009–10 Marseille Ligue 1 274002072366
2010–11 313000081394
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2011–12 Roma Serie A 300200000320
Total Argentina 800080
Spain 98460201101174
Portugal 5110000061
France 15711002021318014
England 52110140172834
Italy 300200000320
Career total 350171918049542623



International goals

No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result CompetitionRef.
117 August 2005Ferenc Puskás, Budapest, Hungary Hungary1–21–2Friendly[53]
211 July 2007Polideportivo Cachamay, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela Mexico0–10–32007 Copa América[40]
312 June 2010Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa Nigeria1–01–02010 FIFA World Cup[41]

Managerial statistics

As of match played 27 June 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Godoy Cruz 11 June 2015 27 September 2015 10 2 2 6 9 14 −5 020.00
Argentinos Juniors 20 June 2016 1 August 2017 46 25 14 7 62 26 +36 054.35
Vélez Sarsfield 11 December 2017 9 March 2020 71 31 22 18 90 63 +27 043.66
Atlanta United 18 December 2020 Present 14 4 7 3 14 14 +0 028.57
Total 141 62 45 34 175 117 +58 043.97



Paris Saint-Germain

  • UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2001[54]

Manchester United

Real Madrid


  • Ligue 1: 2009–10[28]
  • Coupe de la Ligue: 2009–10, 2010–11

Newell's Old Boys

  • Argentine Primera División: 2013 Final[56]


  • Copa América runner-up: 2004,[57] 2007[58]
  • FIFA Confederations Cup runner-up: 2005[59]
  • Summer Olympic Games: 2004[60]


  • Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 2004–05[13]


Argentinos Juniors

  • Primera B Nacional: 2016–17[61]


  1. "Iván Gabriel HEINZE". El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  2. "Gabriel Heinze". Eurosport. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  3. "Gabriel Heinze". FIFA. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  4. Lagares, Juan (12 June 2010). "Fuimos locales otra vez" [We played at home again] (in Spanish). Misión Mundial. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  5. Arcucci, Daniel (7 June 2010). "Zona mixta, personalidades distintas" [Mixed area, different personalities]. La Nación (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  6. Reato, Ceferino (14 June 2010). "Gabriel Heinze: El hijo de Titina y la garra de un pueblo" [Gabriel Heinze: The son of Titina and the spunk of a people] (in Spanish). Estación Plus. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
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  11. "Bolton 2–2 Man Utd". BBC Sport. 11 September 2004. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
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  30. "Gracias señor Heinze!" [Thanks Mr.Heinze!] (in French). Olympique Marseille. 27 May 2011. Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
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  33. "Roma, rinnova Heinze: Marquinho, niente bonus" [Roma, Heinze renews: Marquinho, no bonus] (in Italian). Calcio Mercato. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
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  37. "Argentina player profiles". MSN. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  38. Gabriel HeinzeFIFA competition record (archived)
  39. "Clinical Germany win on penalties". BBC Sport. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
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  44. "Gabriel Heinze dejó de ser DT de Godoy Cruz" [Gabriel Heinze is no longer Godoy Cruz HC] (in Spanish). Godoy Cruz. 26 September 2015. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
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  46. "Gabriel Heinze nouvel entraîneur du Velez Sarsfield" [Gabriel Heinze new coach of Velez Sarsfield]. L'Équipe (in French). 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  47. "Mauricio Pellegrino vuelve al fútbol argentino: dirigirá a Vélez en reemplazo de Gabriel Heinze" [Mauricio Pellegrino returns to Argentine football: he will lead Vélez in place of Gabriel Heinze]. La Nación (in Spanish). 16 April 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
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  49. Hunte, Sydney (7 April 2021). "Recap: LD Alajuelense 0, Atlanta United 1". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  50. Escudero, Jesús (4 April 2016). "La Real Sociedad abrió firmas 'offshore' a sus jugadores extranjeros para pagarles" [Real Sociedad opened offshore accounts for paying their foreign players]. El Confidencial (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 April 2016.
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  54. "Brescia, sogno finito il Psg va in Uefa" [End of the dream for Brescia, Psg go to Uefa]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 21 August 2001. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  55. "Gabriel Heinze: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  56. "A un año de la gloria, los hinchas de Newell's festejan el campeonato que ganó el equipo de Martino" [One year after the glory, Newell's fans celebrate championship won by Martino's team]. La Capital (in Spanish). 19 June 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  57. "Brasil es el nuevo rey de la Copa América" [Brazil are the new Copa América kings]. El Universo (in Spanish). 26 July 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  58. Freitas, Bruno; Canônico, Leandro (15 July 2007). "Brasil rouba o 'jogo bonito' da favorita Argentina para levar o bi" [Brasil steal 'jogo bonito' from favourites Argentina for the back-to-back] (in Portuguese). Universo Online. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  59. Medice, João Henrique (29 June 2005). "Brasil goleia rival Argentina e levanta a Copa das Confederações" [Brasil rout rivals Argentina and lift Confederations Cup] (in Portuguese). Universo Online. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  60. "2004. El título que faltaba" [2004. The honour that was missing]. El Gráfico (in Spanish). 15 May 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  61. "Gabriel Heinze anunció que se va de Argentinos, después de haberle devuelto la alegría" [Gabriel Heinze announced he leaves Argentinos, after having brought the joy back]. Clarín (in Spanish). 23 July 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
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