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Gaizka Mendieta
Personal information
Full name Gaizka Mendieta Zabala
Date of birth 27 March 1974 (1974-03-27) (age 35)
Place of birth Bilbao, Spain
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1992 Castellón 16 (0)
1992–2001 Valencia 231 (45)
2001–2004 Lazio 20 (8)
2002–2003 Barcelona (loan) 33 (4)
2003–2004 Middlesbrough (loan) 31 (2)
2004–2008 Middlesbrough 31 (2)
National team
1991 Spain U18 5 (0)
1993 Spain U20 3 (0)
1992–1996 Spain U21 13 (0)
1996 Spain U23 2 (0)
1999–2002 Spain 40 (8)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gaizka Mendieta Zabala (born 27 March 1974 in Bilbao, Basque Country) is a former Spanish football player of Basque origin. He is a midfielder who played for the Spanish football club Valencia. He has played 40 games and scored 8 goals for the Spanish national football team, and represented Spain at the 1996 Summer Olympics, 2000 European Championship, and 2002 World Cup tournaments. He was a versatile and hard tackling midfielder also capable of creating goals as well as scoring a fair number himself.


Playing career

Early career

Mendieta started his club career with CD Castellón in 1991 and moved to Valencia CF in the top-flight La Liga championship a year later. He started his Valencia career in the reserve team, before making his first team debut on June 13, 1993.[1] Mendieta played 34 of 42 games during the 1995-96 La Liga season, as Valencia finished runners-up, its best result since 1990. In the summer 1996, he was a part of the Spanish under-21 national team which ended runners-up at the 1996 European Under-21 Championship.

Breakthrough with Valencia

The 1997-98 La Liga season was Mendieta's breakthrough season, under new Valencia coach Claudio Ranieri. Mendieta played 30 of 38 games, scoring 10 goals, and he made his debut for the Spanish national team against Austria on March 27, 1999. In June 1999, Mendieta won his first trophy with Valencia, beating Atlético de Madrid in the Copa del Rey tournament.

Under new manager Hector Cuper, Mendieta had an even better 1999-2000 season. He helped Valencia beat FC Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate to win the 1999 Supercopa de España, and by scoring 13 goals in 33 league games, Mendieta helped Valencia finish in third place. However, the biggest triumph of the season was helping Valencia reach the final of the international 1999-2000 UEFA Champions League tournament. Valencia lost the final 0-3 to Real Madrid, but Mendieta was later awarded "European Midfielder of the Season".[2] Mendieta was selected to be part of the Spanish squad at Euro 2000, where he helped Spain reach the quarter-finals.[3]

Valencia reached the UEFA Champions League final again the following year, this time losing to Bayern Munich following a penalty shoot-out. Mendieta scored a penalty in normal time and another one in the shootout but he was unable to prevent his team from ultimately losing.[4] Mendieta was again named "European Midfielder of the Season".

Moving abroad

Mendieta was one of the most sought-after players, which led to a €48 million transfer to Italian club S.S. Lazio in 2001 which at the time made him the sixth most expensive player of all time.[5] Mendieta disappointed in Serie A, spending only a year with the Rome club. Despite his slump in form, he represented Spain at the 2002 World Cup, scoring one goal.[6] He was loaned out to FC Barcelona for the 2002-03 season[7], and then to Middlesbrough for the 2003-04 season.[8] In his season at Middlesbrough FC, Mendieta was part of the team which won the 2004 Carling Cup, bringing Middlesbrough their first ever silverware.[9] At the end of the season, the stay at Middlesbrough was made permanent.

In his last two years at Middlesbrough, a string of injuries and long duration of regaining match fitness relegated Mendieta to the substitutes bench. He fell out of favour with former Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate who made it clear that Mendieta no longer featured in his first team plans. Reports suggested that Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao and Málaga CF were interesting in purchasing the midfielder in the January 2007 transfer window, however no concrete agreement was ever made. The 2007 summer transfer window passed amid speculation that Mendieta was set for a move to LA Galaxy[10]; however towards the end of the transfer window, Mendieta was quoted to have said that he would fight for his place at Middlesbrough. A day later, Middlesbrough F.C. Chief Executive, Keith Lamb disregarded Mendieta's comments saying that there was "no chance" of Mendieta entering the first team. He played his last game on December 26, 2006 against Everton.[11]

Career end

On December 6, 2007, according to a Spanish newspaper,[12] Mendieta announced his retirement from professional football when his Middlesbrough contract expired at the end of the 2007-08 season.[13] Mendieta rejected this speculation in comments made to the official Middlesbrough website. In local reports he has stated that he and his family are happy living in the area and wants to play for another north-eastern team. Mendieta was released by Middlesbrough on May 13, 2008 ending a successful career.[14]

On November 3, 2009, Mendieta was quoted as saying a part of him would be interested in football management when interviewed by the BBC. He said "a part of me can see the excitement and challenge of being a manager, definitely." For now Mendieta still lives near Middlesbrough in Yarm, while football may not have seen the last of him.[15]


  1. ^ Middlesbrough profile
  2. ^ "Real storm to Cup glory". BBC Sport. 2000-05-24. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  3. ^ "Raul miss sends France through". BBC Sport. 2000-06-25. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  4. ^ "Bayern crowned European champions". BBC Sport. 2001-05-23. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  5. ^ "Mendieta agrees to Lazio move". BBC Sport. 2001-07-19. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  6. ^ "Heartbreak for South Africa". BBC Sport. 2002-06-12. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  7. ^ "Barca seal Mendieta loan deal". BBC Sport. 2002-07-20. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  8. ^ "Boro sign Mendieta". BBC Sport. 2003-08-21. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  9. ^ "Boro lift Carling Cup". BBC Sport. 2004-02-29. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  10. ^ "Boro's Mendieta could be US bound". BBC Sport. 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  11. ^ "Everton 0-0 Middlesbrough". BBC Sport. 2006-12-26. Retrieved 2009-11-03.  
  12. ^ Gaizka Mendieta retires (in Spanish)
  13. ^ Mendieta decides to retire
  14. ^ Paylor, Eric (2008-10-09). "I’m glad I came to Boro - Mendieta". Evening Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-13.  
  15. ^ What became of Gaizka Mendieta?

External links

Preceded by
David Beckham
UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder
1999-2000, 2000-01
Succeeded by
Michael Ballack

Simple English

Gaizka Mendieta
Personal information
Full name Gaizka Mendieta Zabala
Date of birth 27 March 1974 (1974-03-27) (age 36)
Place of birth    Bilbao, Spain
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Playing position Midfielder (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
Barcelona (loan)
Middlesbrough (loan)
National team
1999-2002 Spain

Gaizka Mendieta (born 27 March 1974) is a former Spanish football player. He has played for Spain national team.

Club career statistics


Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
1991/92CastellónSegunda División160
1992/93ValenciaLa Liga20
2001/02LazioSerie A200
2002/03BarcelonaLa Liga334
2003/04MiddlesbroughPremier League312
CountrySpain 28049
Italy 200
England 624
Total 36254

International career statistics


Spain national team


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