HIGHLIGHTS: Norberto Paparatto

Paparatto brings panache, speed, and strong physical play in the center of defense

And then there were four.

With the Portland Timbers signing Norberto Paparatto, the talented center back joins fellow Argentines Diego Valeri--the 2013 MLS Newcomer of the Year--and forwards Maximiliano Urruti and Gastón Fernández to form a gifted and talented quartet of players.

But though Valeri, Urruti, and Fernández are all known for their creativity in the attack, Norbertto brings an equal amount of panache in defense. The highlight video above is full of over 18 minutes of ball recoveries and physical play that one might expect from a strong center back. However, what is also apparent in just the first minute is Norbertto's quick feet. He moves with a smoothness and confidence on the ball that allows for slick expertly timed tackles, excellent possession work and quality distribution of the ball up field. Paparatto clearly has strong closing speed and his aerial ability in defense is also apparent towards the tail end of the video.

Offensively, at 1:02, there’s a pair of goals scored via set plays in which Paparatto is able to give perfect flicks of the ball into the back of the net. The 9:32 mark showcases some of that aforementioned confidence on the ball as the defender finds himself upfield a bit, manages a ball takeaway, creates a give-and-go in the midfield and then carries the ball all the way into the opponent’s attacking third.

There’s a great deal of footage to view here but the takeaway is this: Norberto Paparatto is a multi-talented and adaptable player.