Cologne - After a wry smile and a few moments of thought, new VfB Stuttgart signing Emiliano Insua summons up the words to describe his style of play. "First and foremost I'm a hard worker," he told vfb.tv in his first interview since becoming the latest in a long line of Argentinians to have plied their trade in the Bundesliga. "I really hope that the Stuttgart fans like what they see."
Indeed, if Insua's CV is anything to go by, the Swabians have some player on their hands. The 26-year-old has won a league title in Spain, an U-20 FIFA World Cup, and is a UEFA Champions League runner-up with three caps for his country. An impressive resume, and one bolstered by a wealth of experience; despite his age, the left-back has already played in six different countries.
His European career began when English giants Liverpool FC, noticing his talent, plucked Insua from the Boca Juniors academy in 2007, although it took until 2008/09 for the full-back to establish himself at Anfield, where all were impressed by his robust, aggressive, front-foot-forward style of defending. Insua puts that down to his roots: "[In Argentina] we have a very determined way of approaching football and go into every tackle as if it's the last one we'll ever make," he told the Liverpool Echo. "We really live for the game and give our all. It's total commitment and we absolutely hate losing."
Despite over 50 appearances in England, instability at the Reds encouraged Insua to seek pastures new, and, after a loan spell at Turkish side Galatasaray AS in 2010/11, he joined Sporting Clube de Portugal. So impressive were his performances in Lisbon between 2011 and 2013 that Club Atletico de Madrid swooped to secure his signature. Although Insua found himself in and out of the first team under his compatriot Diego Simeone, he made 14 appearances as Los Colchoneros won the league and finished runners-up in the Champions League in 2013/14.
Once again, though, Insua moved on in search of regular first-team football, helping Rayo Vallecano de Madrid to an eighth-placed finish last season and developing into one of La Liga's most consistent left-backs in the process. And so to Stuttgart, where the self-described "tough tackler", who admired Diego Maradona as a youngster, is again searching for a permanent home.
Once, when asked by the Liverpool Echo to describe his homeland, Argentina, Insua took a moment to find the right words. "Both the players and the fans have that special feeling for [football]," he eventually responded. "An intensity, I suppose you'd call it, and that shows when we [Argentinian players] take to the field." It is a description which could apply perfectly to Stuttgart, both city and club. Insua need have no worries about VfB fans not liking what they see.