Fernando Gago
Gago in 2010
Personal information
Full name Fernando Rubén Gago[1]
Date of birth (1986-04-10) 10 April 1986 (age 35)
Place of birth Ciudadela, Argentina
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Aldosivi (manager)
Youth career
1991–2004 Boca Juniors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2006 Boca Juniors 61 (1)
2007–2012 Real Madrid 92 (1)
2011–2012Roma (loan) 30 (1)
2012–2013 Valencia 13 (0)
2013Vélez Sársfield (loan) 3 (0)
2013–2019 Boca Juniors 85 (5)
2019–2020 Vélez Sarsfield 14 (0)
Total 298 (8)
National team
2003 Argentina U17 5 (0)
2005 Argentina U20 15 (0)
2008 Argentina U23 9 (0)
2007–2017 Argentina 61 (0)
Teams managed
2021– Aldosivi
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Fernando Rubén Gago (Spanish pronunciation: [feɾˈnando ˈɣaɣo];[3] born 10 April 1986) is an Argentine professional football manager and former player, who is the current manager of Primera División club Aldosivi. During his club career that spanned 16 years, Gago played as a defensive midfielder and deep-lying playmaker for Boca Juniors, Real Madrid, Roma, Valencia and Vélez Sarsfield.

A full international from 2007 to 2017, Gago represented Argentina at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and at the Copa América in 2007, 2011 and 2015, as well as winning a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

Club career

Boca Juniors

Gago came from the youth divisions of Boca Juniors, made his professional debut with Boca in the 1–0 victory over Quilmes on 5 December 2004. Despite his youth, he quickly became an essential part of the Boca midfield, attracting interest from European clubs such as Real Madrid [4] and Barcelona.[5]

Real Madrid

On 15 November 2006, Real Madrid President confirmed the signings of Gago, as well as compatriot Gonzalo Higuaín of River Plate, as part of his policy to sign younger players to gradually replace the older stars in the squad.[citation needed] However, news of Higuaín's departure to Madrid was premature, as River Plate rejected a €10 million bid for the striker, stating they would prefer him to remain until at least June 2007.[citation needed] During the 2006 South American transfer saga, Gago's name was also linked with a move to Milan. Ariedo Braida, however, Milan's top transfer guru, was quoted as saying, "They [Gago and Higuaín] only want to go to Madrid."[citation needed] The transfer was finally agreed on 19 December 2006 for 20.4 million. Following the move, he was impressive in the defensive midfield position,[6] which led to comparisons to former Argentina "number 5" Fernando Redondo from Jorge Valdano and many other pundits.

Gago made his debut for Madrid in the 2–0 La Liga defeat against Deportivo de La Coruña on 7 January 2007.[7] This promised to be an exciting start for the extremely talented midfielder. Due to the poor team performance, however, Gago was unable to display his talent, and after being at fault for the opening goal by breaking from the rest of the defensive wall at a free-kick, he was replaced by substitute Ronaldo.[8] However, a week later against Real Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Gago's performance lifted along with that of his teammates. His defensive game picked up considerably as he fought hard in midfield, while also demonstrating vision by delivering several through balls to the attackers. Real Madrid defeated Zaragoza 1–0,[9] with a goal from Ruud van Nistelrooy created by fellow new signing Gonzalo Higuaín.

On 20 May 2007, with the score tied at 2–2 against Recreativo de Huelva, Madrid looked set to return the lead back to rivals Barcelona until Gago provided a last-minute assist to Roberto Carlos, who scored at the end of the match and the squad left Huelva with just three "finals" left to play. Real managed to beat Recreativo 3–2 at the Estadio Nuevo Colombino and went on to win the league title.

Gago playing for Real Madrid in September 2009
Gago playing for Real Madrid in September 2009

Before the start of the 2007–08 season, Gago changed his number from 16 to 8. In his second season at the club, he displayed his true ability with a series of top-class performances in the center of Madrid's La Liga-winning midfield. He managed to claim a first-team spot in place of Mahamadou Diarra and was a key figure in the club's second successive league title.

During the January transfer window, Gago was close to signing for Manchester City. He had agreed on personal terms although an agreement worth about £15 million could not be agreed between both teams.[citation needed]

In the beginning of the 2008–09 season, Gago only played two games due to an injury he picked up during the Champions League match against BATE Borisov. He managed to recover in time and was named in the starting eleven for 27 October La Liga clash against Athletic Bilbao. Madrid won 3–2 and Gago was praised for his match-winning performance in the midfield alongside Wesley Sneijder. Also in this season, Gago scored his first goal for Madrid, a header from an indirect free kick delivered by Guti against Sevilla to tie the game 3–3, though they went on to lose the game 3–4. Against Villarreal, he started in central midfield along with a new signing Lassana Diarra.

At the end of the season, Fabio Cannavaro returned to Juventus, leaving the number 5 shirt available, which Gago had initially wanted when he first signed for Madrid. He willingly offered his number 8 shirt to new arrival Kaká and took number 5, the same number he also wore for Argentina. Under new Madrid manager José Mourinho, Gago struggled to receive playing time due to both a lengthy injury spell and Mourinho's preference for the tandem of Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira in defensive midfield.[10]

Loan to Roma

On 31 August 2011, Gago moved on loan to Italian Serie A side Roma, with a view to a permanent move, until the end of the 2011–12 season, having amassed a 100 appearances for Real Madrid in La Liga during his four-and-a-half years at the club.[11] His number 5 jersey was conferred to the recently signed Nuri Şahin, formerly of Borussia Dortmund.[12]

Gago scored his first goal for Roma against Lecce on 20 November, an eventual 2–1 Roma victory. At the conclusion of the season, Roma did not use the option to buy Gago, and he returned to Real Madrid.

Valencia and return to Argentina

On 19 July 2012, shortly after returning from loan to Real Madrid, Valencia announced it had purchased Gago for a reported fee in the region of €3.5 million.[13][14] He made his official debut for Valencia on 19 August, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 away draw against former club Real Madrid.[15]

In 2013, Vélez Sársfield secured Gago's loan to replace injured Ariel Cabral for the team's league and Copa Libertadores campaign. However, the midfielder was mostly injured during his time with the club, playing only four league games and four Copa Libertadores games (scoring once against Deportes Iquique). Nonetheless, he did manage to win a title during his six-month stay in the club, helping Vélez defeat Newell's Old Boys in the 2012–13 Superfinal.

In 2013, it was officially confirmed that Gago's old club Boca Juniors had bought 50% of his playing rights from Valencia for a fee of €1.7 million. Gago scored three goals since his return, against Godoy Cruz in 2014 and Olimpo and Belgrano in 2015.

Return to Vélez Sarsfield and retirement

From June 2016 until summer 2019, Gago played only 39 games due to an injury spell. Ahead of the 2019–20 season, Gago signed a one-year contract with Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield, which he already spent a half-season at in 2013.[16] In November 2020, Gago announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 34.[17]

International career

Gago was part of the under-20 squad which won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and was one of many touted "future stars" in the competition. Though he was not named in the squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he made his debut a year later and played in the 2007 Copa América. Since then, he has been a regular squad member. He was part of the team which won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. Although he was often in the starting line-up under Diego Maradona, he was not included in the squad for the 2010 World Cup, but returned to Argentina's squad for the 2011 Copa América.

Gago was named in Argentina's 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[18] He made his World Cup debut in Argentina's 2–1 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Estádio do Maracanã, coming on as a half-time substitute for Hugo Campagnaro.[19] He was named in the starting line-up for the team's second match, a 1–0 win over Iran in Belo Horizonte,[20] and remained a starter until being replaced by Lucas Biglia in the quarter-finals. Gago replaced Enzo Pérez after 86 minutes of the final, which Argentina lost 0–1 to Germany after extra time.

Gago challenging for the ball against Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal in a 2011 friendly
Gago challenging for the ball against Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal in a 2011 friendly

Style of play

Gago relished operating in a holding role at Boca Juniors, functioning as a deep-lying playmaker in front of the defence, due to his intelligence and ability to dictate play in midfield with his passing; he has also played in a similar role with the Argentina national team and other clubs. Upon arriving in Europe in 2006, Gago drew comparisons to compatriot and former Real Madrid man Fernando Redondo, due to his ability to build up play and break down the oppositions' attacks, thus enabling him to contribute both offensively and defensively.[21][22][23][24] His Real Madrid profile described Gago as a "very dynamic footballer who predicates his game on ball movement". He is also capable of reaching the opponent's box, possesses a tremendous vision for the game, can cover much ground and knows how to protect the ball.[25]

Managerial career

On 17 January 2021, Gago was appointed manager of Argentine Primera División side Aldosivi.[26]

Personal life

Gago, Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi had all been teammates as children back in Argentina.[27] Together, the three of them won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands.

Fernando Gago is also a literature and art enthusiast. The first thing he did after landing in Spain was visit the Museo del Prado.[28] He earned the nickname "El Pintita" (roughly meaning "the little one trying to look good" in English) ever since Ramón Maddoni scolded him for playing with his hair.[29] Also, his Boca Juniors teammates would call him so because his youth squad coach would scold him, "Stop trying to look good and run!"[30]

Gago is married to professional tennis player Gisela Dulko with whom he has two sons, Mateo, born on 9 June 2013[31] and Daniele, born on 19 April 2018 and a daughter, Antonella, born in 2015.[32]

Career statistics

Club

Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Boca Juniors 2004–05 Argentine Primera División 7 0 7 0 2 0 16 0
2005–06 34 0 1 0 2 0 37 0
2006–07 20 1 1 0 21 1
Total 61 1 8 0 5 0 74 1
Real Madrid 2006–07 La Liga 13 0 2 0 2 0 17 0
2007–08 31 0 4 0 6 0 1 0 42 0
2008–09 26 1 1 0 6 0 0 0 33 1
2009–10 18 0 2 0 2 0 22 0
2010–11 4 0 3 0 0 0 7 0
Total 92 1 12 0 16 0 1 0 121 1
Roma (loan) 2011–12 Serie A 30 1 2 0 0 0 32 1
Valencia 2012–13 La Liga 13 0 1 0 4 0 18 0
Vélez Sársfield (loan) 2012–13 Argentine Primera División 3 0 0 0 4 1 7 1
Boca Juniors 2013–14 Argentine Primera División 20 0 0 0 0 0 20 0
2014 10 1 0 0 6 0 16 1
2015 14 2 3 1 6 0 23 3
2016 11 0 0 0 6 1 1 0 18 1
2016–17 16 2 0 0 0 0 16 2
2017–18 6 0 6 1 0 0 12 1
2018–19 8 0 1 0 5 0 14 0
Total 85 5 10 2 23 1 1 0 119 8
Vélez Sársfield 2019–20 Argentine Primera División 13 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 16 0
2020–21 1 0 1 0
Total 14 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 17 0
Boca Juniors total 146 6 10 2 31 1 6 0 193 9
Vélez Sársfield total 17 0 0 0 6 1 1 0 24 1
Career total 298 8 25 2 57 2 8 0 388 12

International

Argentina[33]
Year Apps Goals
2007 13 0
2008 7 0
2009 7 0
2010 1 0
2011 7 0
2012 8 0
2013 3 0
2014 11 0
2015 3 0
2017 1 0
Total 61 0

Managerial

As of 9 May 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Aldosivi Argentina 17 January 2021 Present 13 3 2 8 18 21 −3 023.08
Total 13 3 2 8 18 21 −3 023.08

Honours

Club

Boca Juniors

Real Madrid

Vélez Sarsfield

International

Argentina

Individual

References

  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of players: Argentina" (PDF). FIFA. 14 July 2014. p. 2. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Fernando Gago". bocajuniors.com. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  3. ^ Surname in isolation: [ˈgaɣo].
  4. ^ "Gago gaga for Real move". Sky Sports. 4 October 2006.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Barca take check on Boca pair". Sky Sports. 4 October 2006.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Es Real". Olé sports newspaper. 20 December 2006.
  7. ^ "Tactical Formation". Football-Lineups.com. Retrieved 15 January 2007.
  8. ^ "Deportivo La Coruna 2 0 Madrid, Match Report". Sky Sports. 7 January 2007. Archived from the original on 14 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Madrid 1 0 Real Zaragoza, Match Report". Sky Sports. 14 January 2007. Archived from the original on 17 January 2007.
  10. ^ "Fernando Gago's Injury Woes Continue As Real Madrid Confirm Further Lay-off". Goal.com. 9 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Official: Roma loan Real Madrid's Fernando Gago". Goal.com. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Fernando Gago out of Copa America and out at Real Madrid". Adifferentleague.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Valencia C.F". Valencia C.F. 19 July 2012. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Valencia agree fee with Real Madrid for Fernando Gago – ESPNFC". Soccernet.espn.go.com. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  15. ^ "Real held by Valencia in season opener". ESPN Soccernet. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  16. ^ Injury-stricken Gago hopes move to Vélez will put past behind him, batimes.com.ar, 13 July 2019
  17. ^ "Fernando Gago announces his retirement from football". Marca. 11 November 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  18. ^ "World Cup 2014: Argentina leave out Carlos Tevez and Erik Lamela". BBC Sport. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Argentina 2-1 Bos-Herce". BBC. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Argentina vs Iran". BBC. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  21. ^ Mora y Araujo, Marcela (29 November 2006). "Not the new Maradona, but the new Redondo". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  22. ^ Cox, Michael (10 June 2014). "The group stage's biggest battles". ESPN FC. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  23. ^ Edwards, Daniel (16 April 2014). "Fernando Gago Absence Would Leave Gaping Hole in Argentina Middle for World Cup". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  24. ^ Marinfield, Fernando Álvarez (19 July 2012). ""Gago could be a very useful player"". Marca. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Player Profile". Real Madrid CF. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  26. ^ "Fernando Gago ya es el nuevo DT de Aldosivi" (in Spanish). Aldosivi. 17 January 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  27. ^ Madrid C.F. Web Oficial – Madrid C.F. Official Website Archived 28 October 2007 at archive.today
  28. ^ "Madrid C.F. Web Oficial – Madrid C.F. Official Web Site". Realmadrid.com. 29 June 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  29. ^ "Real Madrid C.F. – Official Web Site". Realmadrid.com. 29 June 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  30. ^ "Real Madrid C.F. – Official Web Site – Fernando Gago". Realmadrid.com. 22 December 2006. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  31. ^ "Nació Mateo, hijo de Gago y Gisela Dulko". Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  32. ^ "Nació Antonella, la segunda hija de Gisela Dulko y Fernando Gago".
  33. ^ Fernando Gago at National-Football-Teams.com
  34. ^ "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.