|Intro||Paraguayan association football player|
|Is||Athlete Football player Association football player Sports official Association football manager|
|Birth||10 February 1994, Canelones Department, Uruguay|
Miguel Ángel Almirón Rejala (born 10 February 1994) is a Paraguayan professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Newcastle United and the Paraguay national team.
He began his career at Cerro Porteño and transferred to Lanús in 2015. After winning the 2016 Argentine Primera División, he signed for Atlanta United FC for $8 million. He was named in the MLS Best XI for both of his seasons in Major League Soccer, as well as MLS Newcomer of the Year for 2017. After helping Atlanta to the MLS Cup 2018 he signed for Newcastle for £21 million, a club record and the highest fee for an MLS player.
Almirón made his international debut for Paraguay in 2015 and represented the country at the Copa América in 2016 and 2019.
Almirón grew up in an impoverished family where his father worked 18-hour shifts as a security guard and his mother worked in a supermarket. The seven members of his household slept in three bedrooms, and he had to share a bed with his mother until he was 18.
Almirón began his career with Cerro Porteño in his native Paraguay.
In August 2015, Almirón signed for Club Atlético Lanús in the Argentine Primera División. Introduced slowly in his first season by Lanús manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Almirón came to the forefront the next season in the shortened 2016 Argentine Primera División under Jorge Almirón. Playing as an advanced central midfielder, Almirón was pivotal in Lanús' 2016 Argentine Primera División title win, scoring key goals against local rivals Banfield in the Clásico del Sur, and later in the final against San Lorenzo. A few months later, in August 2016, Almirón set-up the only goal in Lanús' Copa Bicentenario victory over Racing.
On 5 December 2016, Almirón signed with the new Major League Soccer expansion team Atlanta United. He joined as a "Young Designated Player" and Atlanta paid a transfer fee of around $8 million to Lanús.
Almirón was an important figure in Atlanta United's first season, described as the "heartbeat" of the team by veteran teammate Jeff Larentowicz. On 12 March, Almirón scored his first goals for the club, notching a brace in the club's second game, a 6–1 victory over fellow MLS newcomers Minnesota United. He scored the second hat-trick in club history on 20 May against the Houston Dynamo, and scored two goals a week later against New York City FC. Almirón joined teammates Greg Garza and Michael Parkhurst in the MLS All-Star Game on 2 August, and topped the league's list of 24 players under the age of 24, released on 28 September. During the regular season, Almirón was named to seven Teams of the Week by Major League Soccer, and was named Player of the Week twice. At the end of the season, he was named to the league's Best XI and was named Newcomer of the Year.
In April 2018, Almirón was named MLS Player of the Month for his five goals and two assists as Atlanta went unbeaten with three wins and a draw. With 12 goals and 14 assists, he was again named in the MLS Best XI, alongside teammate Josef Martínez. Atlanta won MLS Cup 2018 against the Portland Timbers in only their second season of existence, and Almirón was named in the Team of the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
On 31 January 2019, Almirón joined Newcastle United for an undisclosed fee on a five-and-a-half year deal. The transfer fee is believed to be around £21 million, at the time, a club record fee, and a record for an MLS player.
He made his Premier League debut on 11 February in a 1–1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, playing the final 18 minutes in place of Christian Atsu. Fans and media likened Almirón to Santiago Muñez, a fictional Newcastle player from the film Goal! who also originated from Latin America and moved to St James' Park via the United States.
During a match against Southampton on 20 April, he was tackled by Oriol Romeu and suffered a hamstring injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season. Almirón struggled to score in his first months with Newcastle, but helped his side to avoid relegation. After registering a total of 40 shots with no goals, he scored his first Premier League goal on 21 December 2019 in a 1–0 victory over Crystal Palace.His second goal came in the FA Cup on January 4th away at Rochdale in an eventual 1-1 draw. This was followed by his second Premier League goal coming away at WolverHampton Wanderers that ended at 1-1. His FA Cup form continued, scoring in the Rochdale replay at home, scoring one of Newcastle's four goals. On March 3rd, Almirón scored his first brace, in an eventual 3-2 away FA Cup win at West Brom. After the suspension of the 2020 season, Almirón was Newcastle's top scorer in all competitions.
Almirón played for the Paraguay under-20 national team in the 2013 South American Youth Football Championship in Argentina, and was highly involved as his team finished second to Colombia. Later that year, he was called up for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where Paraguay reached the last 16.
On 5 September 2015, Almirón made his senior international debut in a 3–2 friendly loss away to Chile, playing the final nine minutes in place of Jonathan Fabbro. Manager Ramón Díaz called him up the following May for the Copa América Centenario in the United States, where he started two matches in a group-stage exit.
In March 2019, in a friendly against Mexico at Levi's Stadium, Almirón came on as a substitute. Seven minutes later, he received a straight red card for a foul on José Juan Vázquez in which he dragged his studs down the back of the opponent's leg. On 10 October the same year, he was sent off for diving in a 1–0 friendly loss to Serbia.
- As of 28 June 2020
|Club||Season||League||Domestic Cup||League Cup||International||Total|
|Cerro Porteño||2013||Primera División||6||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||1|
|Newcastle United||2018–19||Premier League||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||0|
- As of match played 19 November 2019
- As of match played 14 November 2019. Paraguay score listed first, score column indicates score after each Almirón goal.
|1||10 September 2019||Amman International Stadium, Amman, Jordan||23||Jordan||2–2||4–2||Friendly|
|2||14 November 2019||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria||25||Bulgaria||1–0||1–0|
- Paraguayan Primera División: 2013 Clausura, 2015 Apertura
- Argentine Primera División: 2016
- Copa Bicentenario: 2016
- Supercopa Argentina: 2016
- MLS Cup: 2018
- Paraguayan Footballer of the Year (ABC Color vote): 2017, 2018
- Paraguayan Footballer of the Year (Public vote): 2017
- MLS Best XI: 2017, 2018
- MLS Newcomer of the Year: 2017
- MLS All-Star: 2017, 2018
- MLS Player of the Month: April 2018