JAVIER MANJARÍN PEREA

Date of Birth: 31 December, 1969
Nationality: Spain (international from 1995 until 1997)
Period at Deportivo: 1993 - 1999
Transfer: (1993, Sporting de Gijón)
Clubs: Santos, Celaya, Racing de Santander (1999-2001), Deportivo, (1993-1999), Sporting de Gijón (1989-1993)
Sold: ca. €1,3 million (1999, to Racing de Santander)
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Position: Attacking Midfielder (right), Attacker

8 October, 1989 was the day when 19-year old MANJARÍN was given the chance to prove his value at the highest Spanish level playing for Sporting de Gijón. The short attacker, born in Gijón, had been performing before in their youth teams and that day was brought by coach Howard Kendall as a substitute.

Quickly the club from Asturia realized that they had a very talented player amongst their midst, because he was presented more and more minutes until acquiring a starting place in February, 1990. Manjarín scored four important goals during that campaign (including winners against Osasuna and Rayo Vallecano) and was a key player when his club finished fifth in 1991, and qualified for UEFA Cup football. His five goals that campaign might not have been spectacular for an attacking player, but Manjarín was more characterized as a team player always creating danger to opponents and looking for ways to help colleagues.

Unfortunately he suffered an injury near the end of the season and was ruled out until the year 1992 had just started. It still allowed him to play nineteen Liga matches that season and to score one goal… against Deportivo in Riazor. But this match finished 5-2 for the Galicians, and Sporting de Gijón finished eighth that year. It still earned Manjarín a place in the Spanish squad winning a golden mental at the Olympic Games of 1992 in Barcelona, although he didn’t play a single minute during the tournament.

The season 1992/1993 was his final one in Gijón and showed once again that his qualities made him suitable to play at a higher level. Once again his six goals in thirty-six matches weren’t vital for his team, but one had to look beyond numbers to discover the qualities of the player. His speed and mobility were his main weapons and made him lethal when counterattacking.

His arrival at Deportivo in 1993, he signed for five years, made him being part of the legendary ‘Superdepor’ team. Cruyff’s Barcelona also had been after acquiring his services, but in the end they preferred to sign his colleague Iván Iglesias instead of him. From the first day he was given a starting position and Manjarín became the partner of Bebeto those years, slowly taking over Claudio’s position. The Asturian player scored two Liga goals in his first four matches and scored the winner in the first ever away victory of Deportivo in Europe: at 3 November, 1993 against Aston Villa (0-1).

It’s well known that Deportivo lost the Liga in the final minute of that season, but Manjarín’s twenty-seven Liga matches (and three goals) had made him an important part of the team. He continued this line in the next campaign, which culminated in his vital contribution to the Copa del Rey win in 1995. Manjarín missed just one Liga match during this season, because of a suspension, and reached a total of five Liga goals. The one against Valladolid on 27 November, 1994 was number thousand of Deportivo in the Primera División.

24 and 27 June, 1995 would form the highlight of his career as Deportivo won their first ever trophy: the Copa del Rey. Manjarín gave Deportivo the lead in the Bernabéu against Valencia, until heavy rain made it impossible to continue. After the restart three days later, it was Manjarín who provided Alfredo with a cross from the left to head in the winner.

That summer Deportivo added the Supercopa 1995 to their cabinet by winning 5-1 on aggregate against Real Madrid, while Manjarín scored a goal in the Bernabéu. It would be his finest season, as the undisputed starter reached thirty-eighth matches and scored eighth Liga goals in these. Despite a disappointing campaign of Deportivo, they finished ninth, it earned Manjarín a place in the Spanish squad playing the Euro 1996 tournament in England.

He had made his international debut on 6 September, 1995 during a 6-0 win against Cyprus, scored his first goal against Macedonia two months later and added one against Rumania during the tournament phase. He played in three of Spain’s four matches in England and continued his international career until June, 1997 against the Czech Republic. Manjarín reached a total of thirteen caps and scored two goals in the Spanish shirt.

But at Deportivo things started to get more difficult for the player, despite his contract was renewed until 2000. During the summer of 1996 the Deportivo squad was restructured and Manjarín lost his status as undisputed player. He nevertheless reached playing thirty-three Liga matches, scored three goals in them but found his contribution being downgraded to mainly being a substitute as the season went by.

On 5 March, 1997 he scored his final goal for Deportivo during a 3-0 win against Sevilla, because during his final two campaigns in La Coruña he suffered serious injuries and lost his status as an important player. He limped off injured against Espanyol in November, 1997 and only returned against Real Sociedad in October, 1998. He reached just eighteen matches in those two seasons, but lost the competition with players like Pauleta, ‘Turu’ Flores and Djalminha.

At the age of 29 he had already experienced his best years, and despite a contract running for one more season he was sold to Racing de Santander. It made him miss winning the title with Deportivo in 2000, while his period in Santander ended two years later with relegation. Despite his sixty-one Liga appearances for them, the team went down. Manjarín made an usual step for a Spanish player by continuing his career in a foreign country, as he signed for Mexican club Celaya in 2001 and later went to Santos.

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