Connect with us


Miguel Almiron has last laugh with Jack Grealish after England star’s classless taunt at Newcastle midfielder backfires

SIX months ago he was making headlines as a footballing laughing stock — thanks to a classless taunt from Jack Grealish.

Now he is doing so as perhaps the unlikeliest hero of all in the great Newcastle United revolution.

Almiron has been a key to Toon Army success under Eddie Howe
Grealish mocked the Newcastle midfielder during title celebrations

When Grealish mocked team-mate Riyad Mahrez as having “played like Almiron” in the midst of Manchester City’s title celebrations, it meant only one thing — having a stinker.

It was a cruel comment, bringing sympathy aplenty for the Paraguayan, yet everyone knew what it meant.

Miguel Almiron had such a torrid time of things that he looked certain to become collateral damage in Eddie Howe’s great Toon rebuild.

But the man whose spindly frame earned him the nickname ‘Spaghetti’ as a kid has gone from unpickable to undroppable after a stunning start to the season.

A superb winning goal against Everton last Wednesday was his fifth of the campaign.

Along with Bruno Guimaraes, he has been the star of Newcastle’s rise to the fringes of the top four.

Over 6,000 miles away, one man has watched his rebirth with a smile.

He has seen Almiron, 28, prove everyone wrong before and never doubted he would do the same in England.


Hernan Acuna was a coach at Cerro Porteno, one of Paraguay’s leading clubs, when a 14-year-old Almiron arrived with his uncle Diego for a trial.

At the time he was playing in the youth ranks of third-tier outfit Club 3 de Noviembre after being rejected by bigger teams as being too frail.

Almiron came through that first trial of 300 wannabe youngsters but, for two years in the academy, his chances were limited to the odd cameo off the bench.

So when it came to D-day every youth coach at Cerro wanted to release him. But Acuna was having none of it.

As Under-17 coach, he had seen the youngster at the level below and was convinced he had something special.

So he dug his heels in and insisted the boy was given a chance.

Ancuna, now Cerro’s chief scout, revealed: “When his uncle  brought Miggy to an open trial with the Under-15s, he was a very thin and skinny boy.

“A lot of his coaches thought he was too frail and delicate to make it.

‘Wor Miggy’ has become a fan favourite at St James Park

“He was skillful, but hardly got a game in two years because of that. But whenever I watched him train, there was something about him.

“Miguel was small but had a powerful and explosive sprint, an elegant left foot and a great eye for a pass.

“Even so, at the end of the season he was on the list of players who were being released. I had to intervene and insist that Miguel could not leave. 

“I said, ‘We cannot throw a player out of the club just because he is thin. This boy is going to be a superstar and I want him in my team’.

“In fact, I changed my system to get Miguel in because I wanted him   between the midfield and strikers,  and he was perfect.

“So I told Miggy I’d give him six games to prove himself — and the next season he was a different player.

“He went from a thin, fragile and quiet boy who was lacking confidence to one who was captain and leader by the time he was in the Under-18s.”

Almiron’s form earned him a move to Atletico Lanus and after just one season in Argentina, MLS outfit Atlanta paid £7million to take him to America.

Three years on he became Newcastle’s then club-record £21m buy, yet he struggled to make an impact when he was asked to play down the right.

And when he again failed to make an impression under Howe, he looked doomed. Yet, like Acuna before him, the boss never lost faith.

Acuna added: “Miguel was lost under Steve Bruce. Howe understands he needs some kind of freedom.

“You can see the difference this season. He is a special and unique player and I’m so proud to have helped his career along the way.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Must See


More in Football