Iván De La Peña
Iván de la Peña López (; born 6 May 1976 in Santander, Cantabria) is a retired Spain Association football who played as a Midfielder Centre midfielder. During Iván De La Peña career, de la Peña earned the nicknames Pequeño Buddha
(Gautama Buddha) and Lo Pelat
(The Shaven One) due to Iván De La Peña shaven head and slight frame.
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Iván De La Peña biography
Iván de la Peña López (; born 6 May 1976 in Santander, Cantabria) is a retired Spain Association football who played as a Midfielder Centre midfielder. During Iván De La Peña career, de la Peña earned the nicknames Pequeño Buddha (Gautama Buddha) and Lo Pelat (The Shaven One) due to Iván De La Peña shaven head and slight frame.
Having started as a youth prodigy at FC Barcelona, Iván De La Peña incidentally closed out Iván De La Peña extensive career at neighbouring RCD Espanyol, amassing La Liga totals of 267 games and 19 goals over the course of 12 seasons.
De la Peña was also known for Iván De La Peña skills and accurate passing, and gained five Cap (sport) for Spain national football team.
Club careerDe la Peña was recruited by FC Barcelona as a youth player in 1991 and made Iván De La Peña debut for FC Barcelona B in 1993. Iván De La Peña went on to play 37 games for them, and then manager Johan Cruyff gave Iván De La Peña Iván De La Peña debut with the senior team on 3 September 1995, as Iván De La Peña came on as a Substitute (association football) and scored, in a 2–0 win at Real Valladolid. At 19 Iván De La Peña was initially regarded as the natural successor to Josep Guardiola. However, Iván De La Peña gradually fell out of favour with Cruyff and found himself dropped, although Iván De La Peña achieved a career-best seven league goals in that 1995–96 La Liga.
With the arrival of Bobby Robson in 1996, de la Peña was given a second chance to establish himself in the team. Iván De La Peña subsequently developed a partnership with Ronaldo and was a prominent member of the team that won the Copa del Rey/1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup/1997 UEFA Super Cup Treble (association football) in 1997. Iván De La Peña was also voted the best young player by El País in both 1996 and 1997.
De la Peña found himself out of favour at Barça once again, after the arrival of Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, and Iván De La Peña was consequently transferred to S.S. Lazio, along with Fernando Couto. However, Iván De La Peña failed to establish himself in Serie A and was loaned to Olympique de Marseille during the 1999–00 season. This move was not successful either and Iván De La Peña returned to Barcelona, on loan, for 2000–01 La Liga. After only appearing nine times (one start, against Racing de Santander) throughout the season, under then coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, de la Peña returned to Italy, being released.
In 2002, de la Peña moved to Barcelona neighbours RCD Espanyol, where Iván De La Peña found the continuity and stability to produce some of the best football in Iván De La Peña career. In 2005 Iván De La Peña helped the Catalonia outfit 2004–05 La Liga in La Liga, enabling them to 2005–06 UEFA Cup for the UEFA Europa League. In the 2005–06 Copa del Rey final, de la Peña masterminded a 4–1 victory against Real Zaragoza, setting up two goals. Raúl Tamudo scored after two minutes when Iván De La Peña headed in a rebound following a de la Peña Direct free kick. The pair combined again to carve open the Zaragoza defence to lay on a goal for Luis García Fernández. As a result, Espanyol again for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup and eventually reached the 2007 UEFA Cup Final, losing to Sevilla FC on Penalty shootout (association football).
From 2007–09, after extending Iván De La Peña contract, de la Peña was severely hindered with injury problems. However, on February 21, 2009, Iván De La Peña managed to net twice in a 2–1 Local derby win at Barça, with one side ranking first in 2008–09 La Liga and the other last; Espanyol eventually finished in 10th position.
After the shocking death of new Captain (association football) Daniel Jarque, in August 2009, de la Peña was named as Iván De La Peña replacement. Iván De La Peña physical problems continued to bother Iván De La Peña tremendously, to a point which Iván De La Peña said that if this became a major issue Iván De La Peña would retire, which happened on 22 May 2011 at the age of 35, immediately after a home match against Sevilla.
International careerDe la Peña, alongside the likes of Fernando Morientes, Raúl González and Gaizka Mendieta, played for the Spain national under-21 football team at both the 1996 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship squads and the 1996 Olympic Games, helping the nation Football at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Despite this, Iván De La Peña did not make Iván De La Peña debut for the Spain national football team until 9 February 2005, at the age of 28 years and 9 months, in a 2006 FIFA World Cup 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) against San Marino national football team (Almería, 5–0). Iván De La Peña subsequently played for Spain on five occasions during the year, with Iván De La Peña last coming against the same opponent.
Post-playing careerOn 8 June 2011, de la Peña was announced as part of the new coaching staff that will work alongside new manager Luis Enrique Martínez García - a former teammate at Barcelona - at Serie A club A.S. Roma.
It was announced in August that Iván De La Peña would be taking a leave of absence for family reasons.