Victor Ferreyra scored against a star-studded Brazil side during Argentina’s post-Maradona era before becoming a cult hero at Dundee United.
He also proved a style icon to strike partner Duncan Ferguson, who ended up on probation after trying to impersonate the Argentinian by walking into a bar wearing a lady’s earring and a silk glove.
Ferreyra started his career with his local side Racing de Cordoba before moving to San Lorenzo in 1988.
Ferreyra’s form saw him gain international recognition for Argentina, whose new manager, Alfio Basile, was preparing the team for the 1991 Copa América.
Basile injected new faces into the team after Diego Maradona announced his international retirement following defeat to Germany in the 1990 World Cup finals.
Basile gave opportunities to players from the domestic league including Ferreyra ,who was included in the squad for friendly games against Mexico and Brazil in March 1991.
There was a huge turnover, although Basile stuck with the experience of goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea and 1986 World Cup-winning defender Óscar Ruggeri.
Ferreyra played all 90 minutes of a goalless draw against Mexico in Buenos Aires and retained the number 9 shirt during a six-goal thriller against Brazil.
This was a rematch after Argentina’s victory in the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup when Claudio Caniggia scored the winner.
Ferreyra, Franco and Bisconti scored for the home team at the Estádio Velez Sarsfield, with goals from Renato Gaucho, Luis Henrique and Careca for Brazil.
The writing was on the wall when Ferreyra did not make the squad for a series of friendlies in May against the USA, USSR, England and Brazil.
By the time of that final warm-up game the Argentine strike partnership was Gabriel Batistuta and Claudio Caniggia.
The rest is history.
Argentina won the Copa América with Batistuta top scorer with six goals.
Six months after scoring the first equaliser against Brazil he arrived at Tannadice in September 1991 to join Dundee United for a reported fee of £350,000.
He was the second Argentinian to arrive from San Lorenzo within a few weeks, following the infamous Walter Rojas who was known as “the explosive one”.
United were said to have pipped Italian clubs Sampdoria and Foggia for Rojas, who apparently damaged a thigh muscle only 48 hours after signing.
Rojas became a tenant of the treatment room and rumours abounded that Jim McLean had been conned into buying the dud twin brother of the real player.
Both deals for Rojas and Ferreyra were concluded with the assistance of Argentina 1978 World Cup-winning hero René Houseman and his agent brother Marcelo.
Marcelo was making some dubious claims about the 27-year-old’s pedigree and stressed Ferreyra was still the number one striker in the international squad.
His two caps had now grown to 26 and he was the “top scorer” with six goals in seven games at the 1988 Copa Liberatores when his tally was actually three.
Marcelo told reporters that “club commitments” were to blame for Ferreyra missing Argentina’s warm-up games and the summer’s Copa América.
“He actually has to return to Argentina on November 7 because he has been called up to play in a friendly against Cameroon,” he said.
Marcelo’s talk was cheap but the £350,000 fee paid for Ferreyra matched the record pay-out to Newcastle United for Michael O’Neill in 1989.
Ferreyra said: “My hero as a youngster was René Houseman and when he advised me to come to Britain, I decided to come.
“I have seen a lot of Scottish football on TV in Argentina and I saw United play Rangers on Saturday and I was really wishing I could have played.
“My ambition is to help United win the championship.”
United assistant Paul Sturrock said Ferreyra was “really impressive” in training and would have “absolutely no problems with the physical aspect of the Scottish game”.
“Victor has shown himself to be a good finisher and strong runner in training and in the long term these attributes will benefit us,” said Sturrock.
“With our first Argentinian signing Walter Rojas being prevented from playing by injury, it is pleasing to be able to blood Victor so quickly, although it will obviously take him a while to adapt to the Scottish game.”
He made his debut a week later, winning a penalty for United to take the lead in a 2-2 draw with Motherwell at Tannadice in front of 7,000 fans.
He scored twice against Falkirk at Brockville a week later and struck up a partnership with Duncan Ferguson during his first season.
One of the more infamous stories in Scottish football in recent decades is the occasion Ferguson, then only 20, thought a good way of avoiding trouble would be to head for a night out in Anstruther wearing, according to court reports of the time, a lady’s earring clipped to one ear, a silk glove pulled up to one elbow and sunglasses.
It was November 1992 and he also wore a flower behind one ear.
Alan Pattullo, author of In Search of Duncan Ferguson, said it isn’t hard to fathom how he managed to attract trouble.
“It was a Friday night,” he said. “The Dundee derby was the following day.
“Ferguson was injured, again.
“A night out in Fife seemed just the ticket for a young man wanting to escape the pressures of top-flight football – and Jim McLean.
“He was also keen to escape the bother that had followed him around his home town of Stirling, after incidents with a postman on crutches and a policeman, both of which resulted in fines.
“Ferguson had gone to Fife with Eddie Conville, a then-teammate at United and one of his closest friends.
“Also in the group was a chap called Frank Downie, a member of the East Neuk Dundee United supporters’ club.
“It’s Downie who I heard the details of the night from while I was researching a book on Big Dunc.
“He was living in Leslie when I called round. I asked him about Ferguson’s attire on the evening in question.
“What was all that about?
“Downie explained that Ferguson had noted Ferreyra’s penchant for wearing jewellery.
“According to Downie, his wife had picked up Ferguson and Conville from Tannadice ahead of this planned night out and Ferguson was wearing an earring, a necklace and a single black glove.
“Christian Dailly apparently shouted: ‘Oi Dunc, what are you wearing?’
“And he replied: ‘I’m Victor!’
“Ferguson added: ‘If Victor can wear it, then I can f****** wear it!’
“Later, in the Royal Hotel, Anstruther, all hell broke loose.
“A local fisherman had been winding up the hardly inconspicuous Ferguson.
“A broken glass went flying. Downie was in the midst of it.
“He claimed Ferguson was only trying to defend him.”
Ferguson was later convicted of assault at Cupar Sheriff Court, told to attend alcohol counselling and put on a year’s probation.
What became of Victor Ferreyra?
He was popular among the Tannadice fans and scored eight times during his 35 appearances but he failed to settle during his time in Scotland.
On the park Ferreyra’s antics made him hugely unpopular with opposing supporters and his diving also brought an angry rebuke from his manager.
He courted controversy, though, when he was twice accused of spitting at opponents – Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram and Dundee defender Jim Duffy – during matches.
Ferreyra started few games during the 1992-93 season and played mainly in the reserves until he left in February 1993 for Japanese club Urawa Reds for £175,000.
He returned to Argentina for Belgrano de Córdoba, Estudiantes and Talleres de Córdoba before spending two seasons at Argentinos Juniors.
In 1997 he moved to Club Atlético Douglas Haig before retiring in 1998.
Dundee United fans still hold him in great affection.
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