Central Coast Mariners sign Argentine midfielder

The 25-year-old played alongside players such as Lionel Messi and Pablo Zabaleta at the Argentina side that won the 2005 Under-20 World Cup.

“Clubs in Portugal and Greece came but I chose Australia because of the seriousness of (new Mariners coach) Graham Arnold when he was in Argentina,” Perez said through his agent.

“I found out what the A-League is like. (It’s) a major league and is expanding.

“(Arnold) spoke wonders of Australia as a country and it has aspirations of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

“I’ve seen Patricio play live on several occasions in Argentina and I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen, so we’re hopeful Patricio will live up to that expectation,” new Mariners coach Graham Arnold said.

“On the occasions I saw him play, he scored two great goals and created plenty more chances for his strikers.

“He is an attacking midfielder who scores goals, has a great work rate and is also very creative.

“He’s had the privilege of playing alongside some of the best players in the world, and he will bring real quality to the Mariners.

“He is only small in stature but is so strong both on and off the ball, has wonderful vision, and will bring plenty of excitement to the fans at Bluetongue Stadium, which is something I have set out to achieve from day one.”