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Manuel Almunia

Manuel Almunia Rivero (born 19 May 1977) is a Spain Association football. Manuel Almunia currently plays as a Goalkeeper (association football) for Arsenal F.C..

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Manuel Almunia biography


Manuel Almunia Rivero (born 19 May 1977) is a Spain Association football. Manuel Almunia currently plays as a Goalkeeper (association football) for Arsenal F.C..

Club career

Early career

Born in Pamplona, Navarre, Almunia started Manuel Almunia senior career with CA Osasuna's reserve team in 1997, playing two seasons with the team in Segunda División B. Manuel Almunia went on to spend two more seasons in the category, with FC Cartagena and CE Sabadell FC, joining La Liga in 2001–02 La Liga, with Real Club Celta de Vigo.

However, shortly after joining Celta, Almunia was loaned out to Segunda División side SD Eibar, where Manuel Almunia spent 2001–02 Segunda División as first-choice goalkeeper. During the 2002–03 season, Celta loaned Manuel Almunia out to first-division club Recreativo de Huelva, where Manuel Almunia played understudy to José Antonio Luque Ramírez and César Quesada, only making two league appearances. Almunia's debut in the first division came on 17 November 2002, following a
Red card (sports) to the latter, in a 0–3 defeat at Deportivo Alavés.

Manuel Almunia then returned to Celta, being loaned for the third and final time, now to Albacete Balompié on 1 November 2003. Manuel Almunia made Manuel Almunia club debut the following week, in a 1–0 loss at Málaga CF. Almunia achieved first-choice status, making a total of 24 league appearances until the end of the season, while helping Albacete La Liga 2003-04.

Arsenal

Almunia signed for Arsenal F.C. for an undisclosed fee on 14 July 2004. Manuel Almunia break out season was during the 2007/2008 season where Manuel Almunia started many games. Manuel Almunia was given the number one after Jens Lehmann left for VfB Stuttgart at the beginning of the 2008–09 season. In 2008, Almunia signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal. Doubt was cast on Almunia's continued role in the squad following the 2009–2010 season. Manuel Almunia had a solid start to the season but made a mistake to stop Arsenal taking all three points at Birmingham. Manuel Almunia was also at fault when Manuel Almunia failed to punch the ball away against Liverpool but the game ended 2–1 to Arsenal. Despite this Manuel Almunia captained the side many times. Arsenal F.C. manager Arsène Wenger publicly stated that Manuel Almunia was looking to improve the defensive line up of the first eleven which exacerbated public speculation that Almunia would be sold. However, Manuel Almunia did save a penalty against West ham in a 3–0 victory and kept a clean sheet against Hull City A.F.C. in a 3–0 victory. Over the entire season Manuel Almunia kept ten clean sheets.

2010–2011 season

Despite speculation that Almunia would be sold on, Arsène Wenger decided that after having two £2,000,000 bids rejected for Mark Schwarzer that Almunia would keep the No. 1 jersey. Manuel Almunia started off the season against Liverpool F.C. where despite having a decent game, Manuel Almunia came under some criticism after conceding a questionable goal from David N'Gog. Manuel Almunia kept a clean-sheet against Blackpool F.C., and had a strong performance against Blackburn Rovers F.C. where Manuel Almunia was the man of the match. Manuel Almunia also had a decent game against S.C. Braga where Manuel Almunia kept a clean sheet as the team won 6–0. Then Manuel Almunia conceded three goals at home to West Bromwich Albion F.C. in a shock 3–2 home defeat on 25 September, conceding a penalty (which Manuel Almunia saved), letting a tame shot slip through the near post, and caught out of position for the third. Since then Almunia has been replaced by the Polish goalkeeper duo Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczęsny. Almunia made a return to the team on 30 January 2011 against Huddersfield Town F.C. in the FA Cup.

International career

Almunia has not played in any international matches, and stated on more than one occasion about Manuel Almunia wish to play for England national football team, but only provided that Manuel Almunia did not receive a call-up from the UEFA Euro 2008-winning Spain national football team first. Manuel Almunia was not called up to Spain national football team national team for Euro 2008 so the option of playing for England is still available to him.

Honours

Club

Arsenal FC

Winner
- FA Cup: FA Cup 2004-05
- FA Community Shield: 2004 FA Community Shield

Runner-up
- UEFA Champions League: 2006 UEFA Champions League Final
- Football League Cup: 2007 Football League Cup Final

Individual

- Ricardo Zamora Trophy: 2001-02

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Almunia

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