Marcelo Alfonso Díaz Rojas is a Chilean professional footballer who currently plays for Racing Club. He was born on 30 December 1986 in Santiago, Chile. Diaz is a defensive midfielder and is known as the “South American Xavi” for his excellent ball control and passing. He is also good at free-kicks and set pieces, providing cover for the defenders and helping start attacks. He has also dropped in as a central midfielder at times.
Diaz started his football at the youth academy of Universidad de Chile and acted as a playmaker before finding his flair in defensive midfield. He slowly started progressing from the lower ranks of the club, and finding his debut only at the age of 19.
Diaz has represented the following teams - Universidad de Chile, La Serena, Basel, Hamburger SV, Celta de Vigo, Pumas UNAM, Chile U20, and Chile.
Diaz made his professional debut for Universidad de Chile in the 2005 Apertura tournament playing against Everton in a 3-2 loss.
On 11 November 2011, Diaz made his international debut against Uruguay in the Centenario Stadium which was a 4-0 loss for the visitors.
Rise to Glory
Diaz was inducted into the youth team of Chile by Jose Sulantay, who gave him the opportunity to play in the South American Youth Championship for the U20s. He made his international debut for them and helped them qualify for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was a part of the quad that travelled to the tournament, but did not get a chance to play.
In September 2011, Diaz was called up to play for the senior team by Claudio Borghi in a 2014 World Cup Qualification match. He played his first match in a 4-0 loss to Uruguay. He was called up again to play against Ghana, where he did well in a 1-1 draw at PPL Park. He played two more qualifiers against neighbours Bolivia and Venezuela, both ending 2-0 to Chile.
Diaz played four matches in the 2014 World Cup and did well to help his team through to the knockout stages. He scored his first goal in 2014 in a friendly against Egypt which ended 3-2 to Chile. In the 2015 Copa America, Diaz started all matches and helped his team to the title beating Argentina in the finals. It was also Diaz’s first international trophy win.
So far, Diaz has gathered 60 caps, scoring one goal and providing 5 assists.
After struggling for a few years to earn a starting place at Universidad de Chile, Diaz turned things around and earned a spot in the playing XI. He became a regular starter and played the complete 90 minutes in almost all the matches. He was solid at his position, tracking back after every attack. He played 105 matches for them in all competitions, scoring 7 goals and providing 13 assists. Diaz won his first club trophy, the Copa Sudamericana with Universidad de Chile. His time at the club also involved a loan deal to La Serena, where he played 13 matches and scored 5 goals.
In 2012, Diaz joined Swiss club FC Basel on a 4-year deal. He won the league twice with them - 13/14 season and 14/15 season. He played 99 games for them in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and providing 8 assists before moving to the Bundesliga.
In the winter transfer window of 2014-15, Diaz signed for Hamburger SV and helped them avoid relegation in the that season by scoring a crucial free kick in the 91st minute. The goal is one of the most important goals in the history of the club. He played 20 games for them.
In January 2016, Diaz signed for La Liga club Celta de Vigo and played 55 games for them before moving to his current club Pumas UNAM.