A spotlight on … Alvaro Negredo.

“The beast” made a Premier League comeback with Middlesbrough last weekend, scoring in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at the Riverside stadium. Here’s everything you need to know about the somewhat underrated striker …

Fact file:

Full name: Alvaro Negredo Sanchez

Age: 31

Height: 6ft 1′

Postion: Striker

Clubs played for: Rayo Vallecano, Almeria, Real Madrid B, Almeria, Sevilla, Manchester City, Valencia, Middlesbrough (loan).

Negredo was born in Madrid on the 20th of August, 1985 and began playing football when he was just 12 years old at local club Escuela Futbol A.F.E. (apt name for this blog of mine!).

How it all began …

With many clubs realising his potential, in 2001 he was snapped up by another local side, Rayo Vallecano and began playing for their B team, where he eventually scored 28 goals in 40 games. This was then followed by promotion to their first team and despite not being highly impressive for them, scoring just once in 12 games, Real Madrid decided to sign him and play him for their B side, where he scored 32 goals in 70 appearances between 2005-2007. In July of 2007 he signed for La Liga newcomers, UD Almeria, which was arguably the club that he would go on to make a name for himself within European football and became a cult hero at the club, scoring 32 goals in 70 games for the Andalusian side.

In 2009, Real Madrid exercised their buy-back option on Negredo’s contract and he subsequently returned to the Bernabeu briefly, before manager at the time Manuel Pellegrini told him that he would be better off departing the club again as he could not be guaranteed first team football there.He then signed for Sevilla and later spoke of his admiration of Pellegrini’s honesty which in turn allowed his career to flourish.

During his stint at Sevilla, between 2009 and 2013, he was once again at his best and even helped his club win the prestigious Copa Del Rey in the 2009-10 season, in a game which saw them beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Nou Camp. He was a prolific goalscorer during his time at Sevilla, earning himself the Zarra trophy (equivalent to golden boot in England) in 2010-11 and 2012-13 and went on to score 70 goals in 139 games for the club, before making a move to the Premier League with Manchester City.

Sevilla days, where he was one of the best strikers in La Liga.

Move to England

In July of 2013, City announced the signing of Negredo on a four year deal for a relatively cheap price of around £16 million, and following in the footsteps of his Sevilla team mate Jesus Navas who had joined City just a couple of weeks prior to him. Upon making his move to Manchester, the Spaniard had a glistening reputation as a consistent goal scorer and fans were right to expect a lot from him. Negredo scored his first goal Premier League goal on the 25th of August of that year, scoring a header in an otherwise embarrassing defeat at the hands of newcomers Cardiff City. He was also the first Manchester City player  ever to score a Champion’s League  hat-trick, netting his trio in a group stage match against CSKA Moscow.

His career at City never really got off the mark though as he was often overlooked by the manager due to Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko supposedly being better strikers than him. However, he did win two major honours with the club; the Premier League title and the Football League cup (both 2013-14 season).:

Winning the Premier League with Manchester City.

Following the disappointment of not quite being able to break into City’s first team regularly enough, Negredo went out on loan to Valencia during the 2014-15 season, before signing for them permanently in the summer of 2015, for a £27 million fee. He scored on his debut against Granada but after falling out with manager at the time, Nuno Espirito Santo, he became ostracized from the team.

International career

Negredo received his first cap for Spain on the 10th of October, 2009 in a 2010 World Cup qualifier match against Armenia. Four days later, the striker was in the starting eleven against Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a game that saw him score twice and provide two assists as Spain won 5-2 and eventually went on to win all ten of their group matches. In 2012, he won the European Championships with his country. He has a total of 21 caps and 10 goals for Spain.

Balder but still skilled – making his debut for Spain.

The present situation …

Back to 2016 and the beast has returned and will be looking to revive his career after joining newly promoted Premier League side Middlesbrough for the 2016-17 season. He impressed on his debut last week, scoring the opening goal as Boro made their long awaited comeback to the Premier League after being away from the top flight for 7 years. They’ll be hoping that his form continues and if it does then they may be looking to make his switch to the Riverside a permanent one.

Negredo is a strong player who is great in the air but also possesses a unique technical ability which many players of his size do not have. Olivier Giroud is probably a good example of somebody who has a similar style of play to him. Premier League fans may be in for a surprise when they realise just how good he is.

The beast is back and good luck to him I say!
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