Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Getafe's best XI of the decade: 2000-2010

At the request of ForzaFutbol I have compiled my best Getafe XI of the past decade. Of course as I only "seriously" started watching Getafe in 2006, I needed a little help. My gratitude to the posters at the Getafeweb forum for their assistance and advice.

Roberto 'Pato' Abbondanzieri (GK): The first name on the teamsheet and the man who more than any other exemplified Getafe's rise from minnows to La Liga mainstays. A real coup of a signing: as Argentina's number one he had plenty of options throughout Europe, but he chose Getafe. His twilight years were well-spent at the Coliseum, and although he is uncharitably remembered for high-profile errors against Bayern Munich he remains the only Geta player to have won Marca's "Zamora" award for top goalie, shipping just 32 league goals in the 2006-07 campaign.

Cosmin Contra (DR): A fiery figure who spent four injury-hit but brilliant years at the club, Contra was a tough-tackling, line-hugging full-back for the ages. A fan favourite due to his combative nature on the pitch, and a problem child in the dressing room due to the same off it, he was a player who, once seen, was never forgotten. Left under something of a cloud in 2010 but the memories of his tenure mark him out as the best and most influential right-back of the last ten years.

David Belenguer (DC): A defender neither fast nor tall, David Belenguer nonetheless served as Getafe's skipper and first choice centre-back for over half the decade. Present for all the team's best moments, including promotion, and always reliable. Still one of the most revered names in the club's history and still playing at the age of 38 at Real Betis.

Alexis (DC): It was virtually impossible to choose between Alexis and current centre-back Cata Díaz. Alexis only narrowly gets the nod: were it not for injuries his career might have gone in a better direction, but even so his calm, assured, almost languid defensive performances were a joy to behold during his all-too-brief stay at the Coliseum. A one-season wonder who should have remained..

Pernía (DL): The big-domed Argentine became Getafe's first Spanish international when he took citizenship and donned the red shirt before crossing town to join Atlético Madrid. Prior to that he was one of Getafe's greatest finds, arriving from Recre in Geta's top-flight debut season. Like Contra, he wasn't a defender who restricted himself to his own half, but one who used every inch of the touchline.

Pedro León (MR): Like Alexis, Pedro only stopped at the Coliseum for a single campaign. But the impact he had was undeniable. The classiest right-midfielder in the club's history - ousting even Pablo Hernández - Pedro was as likely to score goals as he was to set them up, and more often than not they were audacious screamers that most players wouldn't even try on the training ground. Ultimately sold to Real Madrid for €10m - his release clause.

Rubén de la Red (MC): A commanding, sophisticated midfielder whose career was sadly cut short in its prime. De la Red enjoyed one tremendous season at Getafe in which he would become the best pivot the club had ever seen. Alongside erstwhile Madrid teammate Esteban Granero he formed a devastating trigger to most attacking moves, and his positional sense was well-utilised in the defensive phase. He rejoined his boyhood club Madrid in the summer of 2008; three months later his career was over due to heart trouble. He was just 23 when he hung up his boots to take up coaching.

Ángel Vivar Dorado (MC):
Of all the players on this list, Vivar Dorado joined the club the earliest, signing from nearby Rayo Vallecano in 2002. Prior to this he'd represented local rivals Leganés, Tenerife, and Racing - but it was at Getafe that he finally made his mark as a tenacious and classy attacking midfielder. Always entertaining to watch, his was the name on most replica shirts in the middle of the decade.

Jaime Gavilán (MR): Narrowly the best left-sided player in the club's history, there is a nagging feeling that despite Jaime's undoubted talents, he's yet to fully unleash his potential. Still, he's a mainstay on the left wing and offers a great deal of finesse and control when on the ball. Spent two loan spells at the club before finally signing on full-time in 2008: now he's considered an automatic first pick.

Roberto Soldado (ST): Two seasons and over 30 goals, Roberto Soldado is now onto bigger and better things at Valencia, having been let go by boyhood club Real Madrid earlier in his career. What a poor piece of judgement from the Bernabéu side, who failed to see the potential that the rest of Spanish football noticed in Soldado's pace, power, control, and of course that deadly shot. A true team player who breaks the mould of the "poaching" forward.

Dani Güiza (ST): Dani didn't manage quite as many goals in Madrid as did Roberto, but in his two seasons at Getafe he nonetheless proved himself to be one of the league's fastest-improving forwards. Never the type to drop back too much, he was a penalty-box forward of the old school, and had a fierce and accurate shot that put most other forwards to shame. Eventually re-joined Mallorca and is now at Fenerbahce in Turkey. Every so often he's linked with a move back to Geta - how the fans wish it were true!

Honorable Mentions (7-Man Subs' Bench): Jordi Codina (GK); Cata Díaz (DC), Javier Paredes (DR); Derek Boateng (DM/MC), Manu del Moral (AMC/AML/ST), Pablo Hernández (AMR); Gica (ST).

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