Pablo Armero was a nailed-on starter for an historic Colombia side that made a thrilling run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup over the summer – but he’s long suffered at club level.
Once a key component of a Udinese side that regularly punched above its weight, the versatile left wing-back has fallen on hard times since the end of the 2011-12 season.
He started 25 games during that campaign for the Zebrette. Since, Armero has started only 34 times in his club football career – adding three more clubs to his list of employers.
Last season, he ended up at West Ham in January. Parent club Napoli deemed him surplus to requirements, sending him to Upton Park on a six-month loan.
Things didn’t go to plan for the Colombian in east London. Armero played just 322 minutes of Premier League football and then was promptly on his way back to Italy.
In the background of Armero’s World Cup adventure, Udinese then bought the Colombian back from Napoli – but only to subsequently loan him out to AC Milan.
And at San Siro his club-level malaise has carried on uninhibited, with 13 minutes of football to date quite clearly infuriating him – leaving coach Pippo Inzaghi exposed.
Armero told El Universal: “I’ve had a meeting with Mr Inzaghi. I didn’t ask to go to Milan, I asked to go to a team where I could be a leader."
“It was Inzaghi who called and asked me to go to Milan, because he said he was depending on me. But so far I haven’t found space in Serie A, where I thought I’d play regularly after a good World Cup."
“I’m not one of those players who likes to talk about what’s going on in the dressing room, but the situation is quite difficult for me with Inzaghi at Milan."
“He said: ‘come here, I need you’. I thought that he really meant it, but I never play.”
Armero has sat on the bench with natural right-back Mattia De Sciglio taking the reins at left-back, leaving the Colombian out in the cold.
Compounding his frustration, ageing centre-back Daniele Bonera has acted as Inzaghi’s second-choice left-back. Against Sampdoria at the week-end, Bonera was sent off after 85 laborious minutes.
The going remains tough for the former West Ham man on a day-to-day basis, even as he continues to be a first-choice player for Cafeteros boss Jose Pekerman.
Armero can’t seem to find a club where he can get consistent minutes, though thankfully for his sake remains able to ply his trade on the international stage.
Being on duty with Colombia at the moment is certainly a welcome respite for him, while it remains to be seen how Inzaghi will react to Armero’s tirade back at Milan.