Javier Pinola has become an integral member of 1. FC Nürnberg down the years
Javier Pinola has become an integral member of 1. FC Nürnberg down the years

Petitioned to stay and finally at home in Bavaria

Javier Pinola's first attempt to settle in Europe may not have been a resounding success, but once he arrived in the welcoming Bavarian city of Nuremberg, he knew he had found a home from home.

Don't cry for me, Argentina

The Bavarian climate, particularly with its harsh winters, is hardly the most appealing for a South American footballer, especially after an attempt to settle in a more familiar environment such as Spain had already brought its share of difficulties.

Yet Pinola was intent on making the grade in Europe, and in 2005 he boldly accepted an offer from 1. FC Nürnberg. After impressing in the club's most successful season since the nineties, his initial loan move from Atletico Madrid was made permanent. He promptly helped the club win the DFB Cup, earning the accolade of the league's best full-back in the second half of the 2006/07, according to Kicker magazine.

Such is his popularity among the fans that when Der Club were relegated to the Bundesliga 2 in 2008, they launched a petition for him to remain. It was ultimately signed by over 22,000 people and the incredible gesture helped to convince the Argentine defender to stay.

Adopted son of Bavaria

Stay he did, and he was certainly glad of it. Immediate promotion followed for the historic club, and Pinola is still there, fighting for every inch at left-back.

Pinola has featured season-in, season-out since promotion in his adopted hometown. Despite injuries and suspensions hindering his number of appearances early in the 2013/14 season, Pinola has fought off challenge after challenge to his full-back spot with the customary tenacity of an Argentine defender. He may have played unfairly uncommonly for his international team, but he has certainly settled in Europe.