WIGAN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Franco Di Santo (L) of Wigan Athletic in action with Carlos Cuellar of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa at DW Stadium on February 25, 2012 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Carlos Cuellar will be remembered as a legend at Villa Park despite having only spent 2008 through 2012 in claret and blue. There are pockets of people who aren't necessarily sure why that's the case. He was never a primary player for long stretches of time. After Martin O'Neill's exit he was mostly a forgotten man. But that never stopped Carlos from being the wonderful, humble human being that he has always been. As a relatively new Aston Villa supporter, and one in the Twitter age, there aren't a lot of footballers worth following. Some people might follow Barry Bannan because he's an atrocious speller who gets into pissing matches with twelve year old kids who hate Celtic. Some people might follow Darren Bent because they want to know which department stores have the best deals. Everyone follows Carlos Cuellar who never has an unkind word to say about anyone, uses the cutest emoticons with aplomb, and interacts with his fans whenever he can. He is literally the most likeable professional athlete I can think of.
Cuellar is still a very capable defender and a guy who can fill in at any spot across the back line. He even volunteered to play left back during the injury crisis under Gerard Houllier and performed admirably. There were times when Carlos liked to show off his dribbling skills and he'd come forward while playing his customary right back position and make you get up from your seat from time to time and shout, "Holy hell, was that Cuellar!?" His tackling was pretty good, too. He saw a lot more playing time in his final months as an Aston Villa player and generally made the most of it, even winning man of the match against Wigan in a scoreless draw or as we came to know them, the McLeish Special.
His heart-rending words of inspiration for cancer-stricken teammate Stan Petrov left many of us fighting tears. I wrote about their relationship and what Carlos means to Stan and how he tried to keep the skipper's spirits up during the toughest of times. He is the kind of guy that is a friend and a teammate. The kind of guy you want on your side. Again, it speaks volumes about what Carlos meant to the fans that they held a special day in his honor at Carrow Road. On the final game of the most dreadful season in a long, long time, fans brought curly wigs and Spanish flags to send Carlos off in his last game as a Villan. He was quite obviously touched by the gesture and there's no question Carlos Cuellar is Villa ‘til he dies.
Share your favorite memories of Carlos in the comments.