Peruvian magic: When Jefferson Farfan was shining in Eindhoven

Adam Brown

Jefferson Farfan was part of one of PSV Eindhoven’s most successful spells in which the Peruvian winger helped guide the club to four successive Eredivisie titles. In many ways, based off performances in Eindhoven, the versatile winger is one of the best South American natives to ever play in Holland, only rivaled by the likes of Luis Suarez.

As a footballing nation, Peru is a country which has produced just a handful of players who have excelled in Europe. In terms of the Premier League, just four Peruvians have ever made an appearance – with Nolberto Solano being the standout amongst the quadruple, which also includes Claudio Pizarro.

The Peru winger’s most successful seasons in Holland came in 05/06 and 06/07, which saw Farfan tally over 20 league goals in consecutive seasons. As well as a ridiculous goal ratio, Farfan was a nightmare for defences – quick and elusive with no limitations in technical ability.

An interesting comparison to make is with Memphis Depay; prior to the Dutchman’s £31million move to Manchester United, the winger was coming off a season where he scored 22 goals in 30 games, and an earlier season of 12 goals in 32 games. Effectively, Memphis Depay may have been one of the best players from the Eredivisie in recent history, especially for Eindhoven, but while an impressive scoring record, it doesn’t match the Peruvian’s 42 league goals in 61 appearances; Farfan was a level above.

But not just that, the Peruvian’s dominance was expressed in four consecutive seasons – while Depay only managed one league title with PSV. This only further proves the effect of Farfan; a game changer, a player who teams had to plan against – the type of player you’d have to at least select ‘show onto his weak foot’, when playing on Football Manager – but even that wouldn’t be enough.

Although the Eredivisie isn’t the world’s most competitive league, it’s certainly above the level of the likes of the SPL – and there’s an endless list of world-class players who first came to light in the Netherlands. But overall, it was Farfan’s versatility that made his time in Eindhoven so special – a player who was capable of scoring from multiple situations.

As well as a host of ridiculous goals from free-kicks, Peru’s star continuously destroyed defences with skill and clinical finishing. Whether it was in or outside of the box, or what foot he would strike the ball with; it simply didn’t matter. When Farfan wasn’t hitting irretrievable strikes, the South American would consistently wrong foot goalkeepers – and he’s still doing it today.

So how was it possible to defend Jefferson Farfan? For defenders in the Eredivisie, it was almost impossible. Much like Luis Suarez against Norwich, it was more inevitable of when the player would impact the game somehow. We’re not suggesting that he would go on a number of Lionel Messi runs, but the Peruvian’s magic was clear to see; a level above his opponents.

To be fair to Eindhoven, they were by no means a one-man team, and the Peruvian was certainly helped by having a great squad in support; from Phillip Cocu and Mark van Bommel to Park Ji Sung. Also, when considering the likes Alex and Bouma in defence, PSV were more than assured at the back, too.

After four seasons in the Eredivisie of complete domination – winning the league on every occasion, it was Schalke 04 who had recognised Farfan’s talent, acquiring the Peruvian for around €14.5million – which would be a bargain in today’s era of inflated fees.

Due to the Peruvian Magician being an expert in freezing goalkeepers, we couldn’t resist the temptation to show you another example of how to catch the keeper out. Excellent.


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