Marcelo Diaz’s career took on a new dimension when Jorge Sampaoli was named Chile coach at the end of 2012, at which point the central midfielder became a mainstay of the national team.
After starting out as a full-back at Universidad de Chile, Diaz took on midfield duties when he joined Deportes La Serena on loan in 2010, enjoying an excellent season with them.
Sampaoli took charge at La U the following year and promptly recalled Diaz, who brought balance to an attack-minded side that won three league titles and the Copa Sudamericana in the coach’s time there.
Diaz’s fine club performances led to him receiving a call-up from the then Chile coach Claudio Borghi, giving him the chance to resume an international career in which he had appeared at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Netherlands 2005 as an unused substitute.
Though Diaz failed to consistently produce his best form under Borghi, all that changed when Sampaoli took charge of La Roja, with the Celta Vigo player assuming a key midfield role on account of his positioning, defensive skills and distribution.
An undisputed first choice at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and the 2015 Copa America, Diaz has maintained his place under current coach Juan Pizzi and played an important part in Chile’s 2016 Copa America Centenario triumph.