Gabriel Heinze Profile
After a distinguished career which saw him represent Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid and win 72 caps for Argentina, Gabriel Heinze is now head coach at MLS side Atlanta United.
Gabriel Heinze is an Argentine former soccer player who played as a defender for Newell's Old Boys, Valladolid, Sporting CP, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Marseille and AS Roma.
Heinze also played for the Argentina national team, earning 72 caps and scoring three goals. He played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Currently, Heinze is the head coach of Major League Soccer (MLS) team Atlanta United. He has previously been in charge of Godoy Cruz, Argentinos Juniors and Velez Sarsfield.
Gabriel Heinze and his early career
Heinze began his career with Newell's Old Boys and quickly came to the attention of European clubs. At the age of 19, he moved to Spain, signing for Real Valladolid. Heinze failed to make a single appearance in La Liga in his first season and went on loan to Sporting CP in December 1998.
Heinze was crucial for Valladolid in their 2000/01 season, making 36 appearances in La Liga for a team which narrowly avoided relegation.
In 2001, Heinze signed for Paris Saint-Germain. They were not the superpower in world soccer that they are today, but Heinze nevertheless made his mark in an exciting era at the club. During his time there, PSG won the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup and the 2004 Coupe de France.
Move to Manchester United
In June 2004, Heinze joined Manchester United for a reported fee of £6.9million. He scored on debut in a 2-2 draw at Bolton Wanderers and instantly became a fan favourite. He was cheered on with chants of "Ar-gen-tina!" and was named Manchester United's best player in the 2004/05 season, which saw the Red Devils finish third in the Premier League behind Chelsea and Arsenal.
Heinze struggled with injury in the 2005/06 season, in which Manchester United finished runners-up behind Chelsea. This led to the signing of Patrice Evra, who would go on to displace him at left-back.
In 2006/07, Heinze was utilised at centre-back as United battled an injury crisis. After the Red Devils had already secured the Premier League title, he captained the team against Chelsea and West Ham.
United rejected a bid from Liverpool in the region of £6.8million for Heinze's services, although the defender wanted to leave Old Trafford for Anfield due to his lack of playing time under Sir Alex Ferguson. As United's greatest rivals, Liverpool have not traded players directly with the Red Devils for some decades.
Heinze lost an appeal to the Premier League tribunal to force Manchester United to let him go to Liverpool and ultimately moved on to Real Madrid.
Heinze later told ESPNsoccernet of not seeing eye to eye with Ferguson: "I don't have many regrets from my career as a footballer, but that episode with Ferguson has to be one of them.
"I'm impulsive and strong-willed and this has got me into trouble at times, which was the case at the time when I left United.
"On reflection, it is easy to see that Ferguson was a major influence on my career, in a positive way. I thought my mind was set to be a winner before moving to United, but I had only completed part of the journey.
"Sir Alex makes every player he comes into contact with so much more driven and committed. He demands that his players dig as deep for the cause and I'm sorry that we fell out in the final days because I still have so much respect for him."
Meanwhile, ESPN quoted Ferguson as saying: "I have no problem with Gaby. He was badly advised in my opinion. He [Heinze's agent] engineered a situation to try and trick David Gill, which we then proved it was of no foundation. So we stopped his agent's attempts to get him to Liverpool. He appealed and they lost it unanimously and Gaby moved on to Real Madrid.
"He was a fantastic player for us, a warrior and in three years with us he did very well."
Switch to Real Madrid
Heinze joined Real Madrid from Manchester United on August 22, 2007 for a reported £8million. He came off the bench for his debut against Villarreal on September 2, replacing striker Raul. On March 30, 2008, he scored his first goal for Real Madrid in a 3-1 home win over Sevilla. Real Madrid went on to win the La Liga title in convincing fashion.
In 2008/09, Heinze and Real Madrid struggled to match Pep Guardiola's rejuvenated Barcelona and finished the season nine points adrift in the title race.
Trophies with Marseille
Heinze left Real Madrid for Marseille in 2009 and helped his new club to the Ligue 1 title in 2009/10, as well as the Coupe de la Ligue that season and the next.
After his time at Marseille ended following the 2010/11 season, Heinze moved on to AS Roma, where he spent a year and a half before moving back to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys.
Gabriel Heinze and Argentina
Heinze made his first appearance for Argentina in a 2003 away friendly win over Libya. He was part of the team which won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and scored in the 6-0 group stage thrashing of Serbia and Montenegro.
Heinze went to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where Argentina were eliminated on penalties by Germany in the quarter-finals after a 2-2 draw.
He was part of Argentina's squad for the 2007 Copa America and headed home Juan Roman Riquelme's free-kick in a 3-0 semi-final win over Mexico. However, Argentina lost the final 3-0 to Brazil.
Once again, Heinze was a major part of Argentina's team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He played four of their five matches under Diego Maradona at the tournament, scoring in a group stage win over Nigeria. However, Argentina lost 4-0 to Germany in a quarter-final clash in Cape Town.
Coaching career and appointment at Atlanta United
Heinze had a brief and unsuccessful stint as coach of Godoy Cruz in 2015 before moving on to Argentinos Juniors in June 2016. He led Argentinos Juniors to promotion to the top flight before resigning in July 2017.
In December 2017, Heinze took over at Velez Sarsfield. After back-to-back Copa Sudamericana qualifications, he opted not to continue beyond the 2019/20 campaign. On December 18, 2020, he was appointed manager of MLS side Atlanta United.
Heinze was rumoured to be a Welsh-speaker from Patagonia, but a Manchester United spokesperson denied this story. Heinze was born to a German father and Italian mother.
Gabriel Heinze's net worth
Heinze was named in the Panama Papers as a soccer player who had allegedly made use of offshore accounts to shield him from taxes. At least $1million in earnings from Heinze's sponsor, Puma, was allegedly channelled to him through an account under his mother's name in the British Virgin Islands. He also reportedly had a bank account in Switzerland.
A spokesperson for Heinze was quoted in the Irish Times as saying Heinze "paid all the necessary taxes" he was supposed to in the countries where he had bank accounts and had set up the accounts as part of an inheritance plan in case anything bad happened to him.