Fernando Redondo Profile
Fernando Redondo - Career
When we talk about playmakers in football, the natural inclination is to think of those that created and carved out chances near the front of the team, but we mustn't forget those playmakers who could look just as elegant, and who could be just as effective, in a deep-lying role. Fernando Redondo was one such player.
Redondo had been picked up by Argentinos Juniors as a ten year-old, and made his debut for the first team in 1985, as a sixteen year-old against Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.
It was soon apparent that the club who'd unearthed Diego Maradona had now got another supreme talent on their books. Not only was the young Redondo showcasing a fantastic passing ability and an array of skills, particularly with his left foot, but he had character too, and was more than willing to organise much older teammates and show leadership qualities that belied his age.
After five years in the Argentinos Juniors first team, it became obvious that Europe would be the next step for the 21 year-old Redondo. However, his exit from the club, and his next destination would both be somewhat unusual. Firstly, in a bizarre state of affairs, Argentinos Juniors forgot to send renewal contracts to their players at the the end of the 1989-90 season, which basically meant that the entire squad had effectively been released. The club did manage to get the majority to re-sign, but not their most valuable asset, Fernando Redondo. There was interest in the young Argentinian from a number of Serie A clubs, but it was La Liga where he headed, but not to one of the big clubs. Struggling Tenerife was his destination, with Redondo persuaded by the club's Argentinian coach Jorge Solari to join his project. Tenerife had only avoided relegation to the second tier by winning a play-off at the end of the 1989-90 season, but Redondo's signing helped the Canary Islands club to push on towards mid-table safety. The appointment of another Argentinian coach, Jorge Valdano, in 1992, saw further improvement that lead to an incredible 5th place at the end of the 1992-93 season, the highest position in the club's history.
In the summer of 1994 Valdano was offered the job at Real Madrid, taking over from Vicente del Bosque, and his immediate thought was to take Redondo with him. Redondo and Tenerife had twice helped to deny Real Madrid on the last day of the season by claiming unexpected victories over them, so the Real Madrid hierarchy were well versed on them.
Redondo and Valdano would have an immediate impact, helping Real Madrid to secure the La Liga title in their first season at the Bernabeu, 1994-95. There's no wonder that Iván Zamorano and Raul had such a good couple of seasons up front, if it wasn't the likes of Michael Laudrup and Luis Enrique feeding them from attacking midfield positions then it was Redondo from deeper.
The summer of 1996 saw Valdano replaced at the helm by Fabio Capello. Real Madrid were desperate to win La Liga regularly, but they were even more desperate to win the Champions League and end their decades of waiting. They saw Capello as the man to bring it back, the Italian having won it two years previously with Milan in that 4:0 demolition of Barcelona.
Capello would lead them to the La Liga title in his first year, but at the end of the season left the club to go back to Italy.
Next up in the Bernabeu hot-seat was Jupp Heynckes, the German had been coaching at Redondo's former club, Tenerife, for the previous two seasons.
Whilst they failed to retain their league crown, finishing only 4th in La Liga, they did end the club's 32 year wait for Europe's biggest prize, lifting the Champions League trophy in Amsterdam with a 1:0 victory over Juventus. Incredibly, despite helping the club achieve this landmark victory, Heynckes was sacked at the end of the season because or the teams poor showing in La Liga!
Guus Hiddink was Redondo's next manager, taking charge in the summer of 1998. Redondo would claim an Intercontinental Cup winners medal with Hiddink in charge, beating Vasco da Gama in December. However, two months later Redondo would be being coached by yet another manager, Hiddink sacked in February 1999 because of the club's poor league position, and John Toshack brought in.
1999-2000 was another eventful season for Redondo. John Toshack was still in charge when the season kicked off, but was replaced in November by Vicente del Bosque after another poor start to the league season and some controversial comments from the Welshman regarding some of his players.
Whilst it was too late to save the La Liga title challenge, the team, and Redondo in particular, had another great Champions League campaign. Redondo played the most games for the club in the competition and was the captain as they beat Valencia to win the trophy for the eighth time. As well as getting the honour of lifting the trophy, his performances during the season earned him the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award.
Sadly, the Champions League triumph would prove to be Redondo's last game for Real Madrid as the club's presidency elections resulted in his controversial exit. Redondo had publicly supported Lorenzo Sanz, who had been the president since 1995, so when Florentino Pérez won the election the writing was on the wall for the Argentinian. So, despite protests from Redondo himself that he didn't want to leave the club, Florentino Pérez set in motion his £11m transfer to Milan.
Fernando Redondo - Playing Style
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