FRANCISCO JAVIER GONZÁLEZ PÉREZ

Squad Number: 10
Date of Birth: 14 July, 1969
Nationality: Spain (international from 1993 until 2000)
Contract: 1988 - 2005
Transfer: ca. €1,7 million (260 mln ptas) (1988)
Previous Clubs: Deportivo B
Sold: - (has quit football)
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Position: Attacking Midfielder (left/central)

Galician midfielder FRAN is the face of Deportivo in the world of football, and an idol for its supporters. He arrived to the club in 1988, and together with Mauro Silva was considered the leader of the squad. He is well respected, in Spain as well as in Europe, His goodbye at the Riazor is something that the fans will never forget. Without doubt, he's the eternal captain of Deportivo.

O Neno was the heart and soul of Deportivo since they achieved promotion to the Primera División in 1991. The then 22-year-old playmaker was to become the best Number 10 the Galician football has ever seen. His Liga debut on 31 August 1991 was during a 2-1 loss at Valencia. In the next years the skilful midfielder hardly missed a match (he played 182 Liga matches in his first five years in the Primera División) and provided Bebeto (1992-1996) with a lot of goals.

His talent was soon recognized and in 1991 Real Madrid almost signed the midfielder for 250 million pesetas. But Fran regretted the deal and president Lendoiro of Deportivo bought him back for a fraction of what Real Madrid had paid. This interest of the club from the capital, and the fact that Johan Cruyff also adores his style, indicate that Fran has been one of the best Spanish midfielders of the past 15 years.

Fran made his Spanish debut on 27 January 1993, but he wasn't picked since an appearance against Yugoslavia at the Euro 2000 tournament. This leaves him with 16 caps to his credit. This number is way too little for Fran's qualities and is something which he regrets. Apparently Fran and the national Spanish team weren’t made for each other.

Since 1999 he suffered from several injuries and this made him slowly retreat from the starting eleven. He nevertheless remained very important to the squad and during his following three seasons only saw his amount of matches rise: from 24 in the season 2001/2002, to 28 one campaign later to 31 matches in the season 2003/2004. But in most of the later ones he played as Luque's substitute, so for the first time since 1991 the team of Deportivo had to do without Fran as a starter. On occasions Irureta used both Fran and Valerón as playmakers, making the team look creative like never before.

During his last campaign at Depor (2004/2005), Fran played 29 liga games, although that he only completed two matches. But unfortunately the main event during this period was his personal dispute with President Lendoiro. A row in the summer of 2004 spoiled the relationship between him and the club. Financial differences were taken to a third party, something which caused Deportivo to publish his contract on the internet.

But at the end Depor's captain found the retirement that he deserved. He scored a magnificent goal against Barcelona and was taken on shoulders to the delight of spectators at the Riazor, although that the team was humiliated in the last home match against Mallorca (0-3).
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