HÉCTOR BERENGUEL DEL PIÑO

Squad Number 05/06: 24
Date of Birth: 11 October, 1974
Nationality: Spain
Period at Deportivo: 2001 - 2006
Transfer: Free Transfer (2001)
Clubs: Mallorca (2006-?), Deportivo (2001-2006), Sevilla (1998-2001), Elche (1995-1998)
Sold: Zero-cost transfer (Mallorca)
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Position: Defender (central/right)

Andalucian defender HÉCTOR is one of those players one hardly notices but who are nevertheless fundamental for every squad. Each Spanish club has to have depth in its squad to face a long season full of matches, as Real Madrid experienced in the season 2003/2004. But at Deportivo there are players like Héctor, who hardly complain and are ready to be used any time.

He’s a right footed defender capable of playing on both the right defending position and a central position, who also specializes in going into attack. Héctor was characterized by hard work, good ball skills and knowing where to position himself. This versatility is one of the reasons he was signed by Deportivo in the summer of 2001 after the promotion of Sevilla to the Primera División. Héctor played 133 matches with Deportivo before joining Mallorca on the summer of 2006.

On October of 2001, the Almería-born defender played his first Primera División match in the shirt of Deportivo, his chance arrived soon after the awful injury Manuel Pablo sustained in September 2001. Héctor took over his place and covered this position well. He played 21 Liga matches that campaign and played great matches against big teams like Manchester United and Arsenal.

It was evident though that he does not have the capabilities of Manuel Pablo nor the fighting spirit of Lionel Scaloni. But he was very useful when Irureta needed central defenders and he delivered good performances when asked, like against Milan in 2002 when the team needed a victory to qualify for the next round of the Champions League. His versatility and regular performances were his weapons that made him play another 22 Liga matches during the season 2002/2003.

Nevertheless, Héctor was always the first to be blamed when things go wrong. It has made his relationship with Irureta a difficult one as he was always dropped from the first eleven after a team failure. After an unlucky performance on 27 September, 2003 at Osasuna (3-2 loss) he played just 90 minutes (for the Copa against Compostela) in the next nine matches. And after he had much difficulties against PSV Eindhoven on 10 December of that same year, he only played another 90 minutes on February 8 at Albacete. Only in the final weeks of the season was his role important as he played the six final Liga matches.

In the summer of 2004 there were many rumours relating him to other clubs, as Irureta renewed for one more year at Deportivo and his difficult relationship with the coach is well known. Besides, the rivalry of Lionel Scaloni and Manuel Pablo made his position a difficult one while his contract was supposed to run in 2005. But instead of selling him to earn some money, Héctor and Deportivo agreed on an extension keeping the player in La Coruña for two more years. In Héctor's words: "That was the only thing I wanted". .

But once again, Héctor was underplayed by Irureta, during the season 2004/2005 he only participated in nine games, including five Champions League confrontations. It was highly rumoured that he was maintaining a tough relationship with Irureta and his numbers on the pitch certified the difficulties. On the summer of 2005 news rumours about his exit appeared, but the arrival of Caparrós gave him new hope. .

Héctor started the season 2006/2007 with high expectations, and soon he realised that everything was the same. Caparrós preferred to play with Manuel Pablo in the right back position and Héctor only participated in 3 liga games during the first round. But his luck changed for good. Caparrós saw that Manuel Pablo's performance wasn't acceptable and he started to give more options to Héctor. The Andalucian defender played as starter the last 11 matches of the season and he only abandoned the pitch for an injury during the clash with Cádiz. .

His multifunctional skills were noticed by Caparrós and the defender was even used as right winger in some occasions. Maybe the best characteristic to define Héctor is patience. He never enjoyed of the same opportunities than other players, but at the same time, he never protested about his situation. A true gentleman that's rare to see on this days. The arrivals of Antonio Barragán and Alvaro Arbeloa on the summer of 2006 were new hits to him and he realised that the end was near. Héctor negotiated his freedom with the club and soon he arranged a two-year contract with Mallorca. Now the Almería-born player wants to demonstrate that his time has not ended. Soin Moix will be the judge.
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