The following season, Ayala was part of the Valencia team that won the —02 La Liga title. During his time with Valencia, he was widely regarded as one of the finest central defenders in the world and is considered to be one of the club's all-time legends. In August , Ayala was not offered a new contract by sporting director Amedeo Carboni. On 7 February , he announced he would join regional rivals Villarreal at the end of the season, however before having played for Villarreal, he joined Real Zaragoza on a three-year deal on 14 July On 22 November , Ayala scored his second goal for Zaragoza, in the 73rd of a 3—0 win over Eibar.
On 29 February , he scored his third goal coming in the 54th minute against Real Murcia as Zaragoza won the match 4—1. Ayala played for Argentina at the Summer Olympics , winning the silver medal. He played for Argentina in the FIFA World Cup and was a non-playing squad member in the competition due to a last minute injury moments before their first match against Nigeria. He was then selected as an over-age player as Argentina won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics.
Ayala played an integral part in the Argentine squad for the World Cup in Germany. He played brilliantly throughout the tournament and was picked as a member of the All Star Team.
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In the quarter-final against Germany , he scored a header that gave Argentina the 1—0 lead, although his side lost the penalty shootout after a 1—1 draw, with Ayala's spot kick being saved by Jens Lehmann. One of the best defenders in Argentina's history, on 7 February Ayala became the most capped player of the national team most as captain , beating his friend Diego Simeone , in a friendly victory 1—0 against France played in the Stade de France in Paris.
On 5 June , in a friendly against Algeria , Ayala captained Argentina for a record 58th international, having equalled Diego Maradona 's mark of 57 in the 1—1 draw against Switzerland in Basel on 2 June. On 30 December, Ayala retired from professional football.
Ayala - Wikipedia
He left the club in the summer On 10 January , Ayala joined the technical staff of the Argentine national football team as a field assistant of manager Lionel Scaloni. Regarded as one of the best and most accomplished defenders of his generation, Ayala was mainly known for his ability in the air and tenacious tackling, and also stood out for his leadership and consistency throughout his career.
A complete defender, he was also noted for his speed, ability on the ball, and passing accuracy as a centre-back. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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