Garay in action for Benfica in 2011
|Full name||Ezequiel Marcelo Garay González|
|Date of birth||10 October 1986|
|Place of birth||Rosario, Argentina|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Zenit St. Petersburg|
|Newell's Old Boys|
|2004–2005||Newell's Old Boys||14||(1)|
|2008–2009||→ Racing Santander (loan)||24||(2)|
|2014–||Zenit St. Petersburg||3||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 August 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Ezequiel Marcelo Garay González (Spanish pronunciation: [eseˈkjel ɣaˈɾai]; born 10 October 1986) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia and the Argentine national team, as a central defender.
He started his career with Newell's Old Boys but moved to Spain at the age of 19, going on to amass La Liga totals of 109 games and 15 goals over the course of six seasons, with Racing de Santander and Real Madrid. In 2011 he signed with Benfica, winning four major titles including the 2014 national championship.
Garay was born in Rosario, Santa Fe. At the early age of 18, he made his professional debut for hometown's Newell's Old Boys, in the Argentine top division. His first match was against Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, as the local club eventually won the Apertura championship in the 2004–05 season.
In December 2005 Garay joined La Liga club Racing de Santander, helping with seven complete matches as the Cantabria team barely avoided relegation. His first full season was nothing short of spectacular as he netted nine league goals in 31 games, being the second top scorer in his position in Europe's major leagues only behind Inter Milan's Marco Materazzi (ten); against Real Madrid only, he scored three times – 2–1 home win (both through penalties, as well as five other goals) and 1–3 away loss – as Racing eventually finished tenth, the club's best since returning to the top flight in 2002.
On 19 March 2008, in the semifinal match of the Copa del Rey against Getafe CF, Garay suffered a serious leg injury which put him out of action for the remainder of the campaign. He still scored three goals in 22 contests with his club finishing in a best-ever sixth position, qualifying for the first time to the UEFA Cup – one of those came on 30 September 2007 in a 1–0 win at UD Almería.
On 18 May 2008 Racing sold Garay to Real Madrid, but received the player again on a season-long loan. Returned in July 2009, he made his league debut for the Merengues on 29 August, in the opening game of the season against Deportivo de La Coruña, a 3–2 home win; on 12 December, after coming on as a substitute for severely injured Pepe, he scored his first goal for the club, heading in a free kick from Xabi Alonso to make it 3–2 at Valencia CF with six minutes to go.
Garay was only fourth-choice stopper in 2010–11 under new manager José Mourinho, only appearing in five league matches, adding two in the season's Spanish Cup (including one minute in the final against FC Barcelona, a 1–0 extra-time win).
On 5 July 2011 Garay transferred to S.L. Benfica for a fee of €5.5 million, signing a four-year contract - initially part of the deal that sent Fábio Coentrão to Real Madrid, Garay eventually signed a separate deal. Real Madrid also remained eligible for 50% of any transfer fee Benfica would receive, and the latter also sold part of his rights to Benfica Stars Fund for €1.175 million, making the club owner of 40%.
During his spell in Lisbon, Garay shared teams with a host of compatriots, and often partnered with Luisão in central defence. On 24 April 2014 he scored his eighth official goal of the season, netting his team's first in a 2–1 home win over Juventus F.C. for the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals.
On 25 June 2014, Russian team Zenit signed Garay in a transfer totalling €15 million, according to the international press, with Benfica receiving €6m for their 40% share in the player, while Real Madrid received €7.5m. However, in the official statement to the Portuguese Market Commission, Benfica disclosed that the sale was for €6M, with €2.4M corresponding to 40% of their share of the economic rights.
Garay earned his first cap for the senior team cap in a friendly against Norway, a 1–2 loss on 22 August 2007. He had previously been called in May by coach Alfio Basile to a series of friendlies prior to the 2007 Copa América, but injury prevented him from appearing in those matches and the official competition.
Garay was selected by new national team manager Sergio Batista to the 2011 Copa América. He was also picked by the following coach, Alejandro Sabella, for his 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, making his debut in the competition on 15 June by featuring the full 90 minutes in a 2–1 group stage win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was first-choice in all the remaining games and, on 9 July, converted his penalty shootout attempt against the Netherlands (0–0 after 120 minutes) to send his country to the final for the first time in 24 years.
- Real Madrid
- Primeira Liga: 2013–14 
- Taça de Portugal: 2013–14; Runner-up 2012–13 
- Taça da Liga: 2011–12, 2013–14 
- UEFA Europa League: Runner-up 2012–13, 2013–14
|Newell's Old Boys||2004–05||2||0||—||—||2||0|
- "Onwards and upwards for Garay". FIFA.com. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Almeria 0–1 Racing Santander". ESPN Soccernet. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "Garay: Gunning for the future". Real Madrid's official website. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
- "Garay header secures Real win". ESPN Soccernet. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- Ronaldo heads Real to victory; ESPN Soccernet, 20 April 2011
- "Garay to move to Benfica". ESPN Soccernet. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "Comunicado" [Announcement] (in Portuguese). CMVM. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- Real Madrid sign fullback Coentrao from Benfica; Reuters, 5 July 2011
- "Garay leaves Madrid for Benfica". ESPN Soccernet. 17 July. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "Comunicado" [Announcement] (in Portuguese). CMVM. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Luisão e Garay formam a 'muralha' ideal" [Luisão and Garay form ideal 'wall'] (in Portuguese). Diário de Notícias. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "Benfica nunca perdeu esta época sem Luisão e Garay" [Benfica has never lost this season without Luisão and Garay] (in Portuguese). Público. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "Benfica sem centrais titulares: «déjà vu» de Londres" [Benfica without starting centre-backs: London «déjà vu»] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "Lima puts Benfica on top against Juventus". UEFA.com. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- Sheen, Tom (25 June 2014). "Ezequiel Garay latest: Manchester United target completes £12m move to Zenit St Petersburg". The Independent. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- "Ezequiel Garay signs for Zenit". ESPN. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- "Comunicado" [Announcement] (in Portuguese). S.L. Benfica. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "Announcement". CMVM.pt (in Portuguese). 26 June 2014.
- Ezequiel Garay – FIFA competition record
- "Bosnia beaten by Messi marvel". FIFA.com. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Romero the shoot-out hero as Argentina reach final". FIFA.com. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Ezequiel Garay". gfdb.com.
- "Zenit win race to sign Argentina defender Garay". Reuters.
- "Spot-on Sevilla leave Benfica dreams in tatters". UEFA.com. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Ezequiel Garay #2, Argentina; #24, Zenit St Petersburg". yahoo.com.
- "UEFA Europa League squad of the season". UEFA.com. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "E. Garay". Soccerway. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Ezequiel Garay at ESPN FC
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ezequiel Garay.|
- Benfica official profile (Portuguese)
- BDFutbol profile
- Stats and profile at Zerozero
- Stats at ForaDeJogo
- Ezequiel Garay at National-Football-Teams.com
- Stats at Irish Times
- Guardian Stats Centre