(This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Aimar and the second or maternal family name is Giordano.) Pablo César Aimar Giordano (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaβlo aiˈmar]; born 3 November 1979) is a former Argentine professional footballer. A technically gifted and creative attacking midfielder with a vast array of skills, Aimar excelled as an advanced playmaker, where he was best able to utilise his dribbling, vision, and passing ability to create chances for team-mates. Due to his talent and flamboyance, he was given the nicknames El Payaso (the clown) and "El Mago" (the wizard) throughout his career. As a youth, compatriot Lionel Messi stated in 2002 that Aimar was one of his biggest influences as a player. After starting his senior career at River Plate in 1996, he amassed La Liga totals of 215 games and 32 goals over eight seasons with Valencia and Real Zaragoza between 2001 and 2008, before spending five years in Portugal with Benfica, winning nine major titles between the three teams. Aimar earned 52 caps for Argentina over ten years, representing the nation in two World Cups and as many Copa América tournaments, as well as a Confederations Cup. He reached the final of the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2007 Copa América with the Argentine national side.