When a legend of the game like Jürgen Klinsmann makes you the first signing at his new club, then clearly you're a very gifted player. But what else is there to know about Hertha Berlin's new midfield terrier, Santiago Ascacibar?
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Argentina international…
Club: Hertha Berlin
Position: Defensive midfielder
Country: Argentina (3 caps)
Ascacibar joined Stuttgart from Estudiantes in his native Argentina in August 2017 and announced that: "My dedication and will to win are part of South American culture." To say he likes a tackle is an understatement, though he also picked up 22 yellow cards and two reds in his two seasons in the top flight. Although standing at just 5’7”-tall, Ascacibar is difficult to budge off the ball. He finally got his first goal in German football in Stuttgart’s 3-1 Bundesliga 2 win over Dynamo Dresden in November 2019. Having represented Argentina at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the native of La Plata made his senior bow in a 3-0 friendly win over Guatemala in Los Angeles in September 2018.
Plays a bit like: Javier Mascherano
With his low centre of gravity and tenacity in winning back possession, Ascacibar bears a startling resemblance to his compatriot Javier Mascherano. The former Barcelona and Liverpool player and his defensive midfield kin – think Roy Keane and Gennaro Gattuso – had fast been fading from the collective footballing memory. Deep-lying playmakers have been very much in vogue, but Ascacibar is something of a throwback – and it works.
Did you know?
Ascacibar may spend his time stopping opposition attacking midfielders in his tracks, but he nonetheless sports a tattoo of a certain Diego Maradona, perhaps the greatest creator of them all, on his right calf. "[Arturo] Vidal? He's the most complete player in his position," Ascacibar explained to German sports daily, kicker. "There are many strong players in this position, but he combines everything you could need in one player… my football idol is Maradona, though!"
What they’re saying
“I really like his style of play. Ascacibar seems to me to be a great player. If he keeps improving he’ll end up being a very important player in European football and also for the Argentina national team.” – former Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano speaking about Ascacibar in 2018
“Santi has developed a huge amount in possession. He’s already outstanding in defence – he always cleans up everything for the team." – Former Stuttgart head coach Tim Walter
"Santiago can operate in a number of roles in central midfield. At 22 he's a young midfielder with the potential to develop further. He's very strong in the tackle. We're delighted to have recruited another very talented player into our squad." - Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz