Armed Force's new striker Juan Manuel Arostegui, seen here in action against Selangor in a friendly match on New Year's eve, hopes to bang in the goals for his team this season.
PETALING JAYA: Former Golden Boot award winner Juan Manuel Arostegui is back to haunt defenders in the M-League – thanks to his childhood friend and fellow Argentinian Bruno Martelotto.
The two grew up together in the town of San Francisco in the province of Cordoba in Argentina but went their separate ways in their football careers.
Lanky striker Arostegui played for Argentina clubs Boca Juniors, El Porvenir and Belgrano de Cordoba before joining Malaysian club MPPJ in 2003.
Midfielder Martelotto started his career with Renato Cesarini Club, a regional league side, followed by a stint with Argentine Division Two club Atletico Union before being re-united with Arostegui at MPPJ in 2003.
The Argentine pair fired MPPJ to the Malaysia Cup and Premier League titles in 2003. After that, Arostegui left to join Mexican side Pachuca the following season while Martelotto was dropped from MPPJ midway through the 2005 season.
The duo were back together playing for their hometown side Sportivo Belgrano in Cordoba in 2005 before going their separate ways again.
The 33-year-old Arostegui re-signed with MPPJ briefly in 2006 but left in a huff due to unpaid salaries as the club went on a decline following financial problems and folded at the end of the season.
Arostegui said that Martelotto, a mainstay of the Armed Forces team since 2012, convinced him to return to Malaysia.
“I have fond memories of my stay here. My family loved Malaysia and I had always felt at home here. When I was given the chance to return, I just grabbed it,” said the 1.84m tall striker.
“I have known Bruno since we were toddlers and he has told me great things about the Forces team. He also told me that Malaysian football had improved a lot and it made my resolve to return stronger.
“I’m here to win ... We have played in several pre-season matches and I think I’m gelling well with the team. I hope we can win a title this season.”
The father of two hopes he can repeat his 50-goal feat for Forces although he has to fight with the team’s top scorer Marlon James for a place in the starting line-up.
Arostegui’s feat in 2003 earned him the top scorer’s award.
“I do hope to score 50 goals this season but it won’t be easy. There’s a fierce competition to get into the starting line-up but I’m ready for it as it will make the team stronger,” said Arostegui.