Gago playing for Real Madrid in 2010
|Full name||Fernando Rubén Gago|
|Date of birth||10 April 1986|
|Place of birth||Ciudadela, Argentina|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in) |
|Playing position||Defensive midfielder|
|Current club||Boca Juniors|
|2011–2012||→ Roma (loan)||32||(1)|
|2013||→ Vélez Sársfield (loan)||4||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 April 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
His Real Madrid profile described Gago as a "very dynamic footballer who predicates his game on ball movement". He is also capable of reaching the opponent's box, possesses tremendous vision for the game, can cover lots of ground and knows how to protect the ball.
Gago came from the youth divisions of Boca Juniors, made his professional debut with Boca in the 1–0 victory over Quilmes on 5 December 2004. Despite his youth, he quickly became an essential part of the Boca midfield, and attracted attention from European clubs such as Real Madrid  and Barcelona.
On 15 November 2006, Real Madrid President confirmed the signings of Gago as well as compatriot Gonzalo Higuaín of River Plate, as part of his policy to sign younger players to gradually replace the older stars in the squad. However, news of Higuaín's departure to Madrid was premature as River Plate rejected a €10 million bid for the striker, stating they would prefer him remain until at least June 2007. During the 2006 South American transfer saga, Gago's name was also linked with AC Milan. However, Ariedo Braida, Milan's top transfer guru, was quoted as saying, "They [Gago and Higuaín] only want to go to Madrid". The transfer was finally agreed on 19 December 2006 for €20.4 million. Since the move, he has been very impressive in the defensive midfield position, which led to comparisons to former Argentina "number 5" Fernando Redondo from Jorge Valdano and many other pundits.
Gago made his debut for Madrid in the 2–0 La Liga defeat against Deportivo La Coruña on 7 January 2007. This promised to be an exciting start for the extremely talented midfielder. However, due to the poor team performance, Gago was unable to display his talent, and after being at fault for the opening goal by breaking from the rest of the defensive wall at a free-kick, he was replaced by substitute Ronaldo. However, a week later against Real Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Gago's performance lifted along with that of his teammates. His defensive game picked up considerably as he fought hard in midfield, while also demonstrating vision by delivering several through balls to the attackers. Real Madrid defeated Real Zaragoza 1–0, with a goal from Ruud van Nistelrooy, created by fellow new signing Gonzalo Higuaín.
On 20 May 2007, with the score tied at 2–2 against Recreativo Huelva, Madrid looked set to return the lead back to rivals FC Barcelona until Fernando Gago gave a last minute assist to Roberto Carlos, who scored at the end of the match and the squad left Huelva with just three "finals" left to play. Real managed to beat Recreativo 3–2 at the Estadio Nuevo Colombino and went on to win the league title.
Before the start of the 2007–08 season, Gago changed his number from 16 to 8. In his second season at the club, Gago displayed his true ability with a series of top class performances in the centre of Madrid's La Liga-winning midfield. He managed to claim a first team spot in place of Mahamadou Diarra and was a key figure in the club's second successive league title.
During the January transfer window Gago was very close to signing for Manchester City. He had agreed personal terms although an agreement worth about £15m could not be agreed between both teams.
In beginning of the 2008–09 season, Gago only played two games due to an injury he picked up during the Champions League match against BATE Borisov. He managed to recover in time and was named in the starting eleven for 27 October La Liga clash against Athletic Bilbao. Madrid won 3–2 and Gago was praised for his match-winning performance in the midfield with Wesley Sneijder. Also in this season, Gago scored his first goal for Madrid, a header from an indirect free kick delivered by Guti against Sevilla FC to tie the game 3–3, however they went on to lose the game 3–4 with a goal from Renato in the 82nd minute of the match. Against Villarreal CF, he started in central midfield along with new signing Lassana Diarra and they put in a solid performance together.
At the end of the season, Fabio Cannavaro returned to Juventus. This left the number 5 shirt, which Gago had initially wanted when he first signed for Real Madrid, was now available. Gago willingly offered his number 8 shirt to new arrival Kaká and took number 5, the same number he wears for Argentina. Under José Mourinho, Gago struggled to get gametime because of a lengthy injury spell and Mourinho's preference of Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira in the defensive midfield.
Loan to AS Roma
On 31 August 2011, Fernando Gago moved on loan to Serie A side Roma with a view to a permanent move, until the end of the 2011–12 season, after over a 100 appearances for Real Madrid in La Liga during his 4 and a half years stay at the club. His number 5 jersey was conferred to the recently signed Nuri Şahin, formerly of Borussia Dortmund.
He scored his first goal for Roma against Lecce on 20 November, Roma won 2–1. However, Roma did not use the option to buy Gago.
Valencia and return to Argentina
Valencia CF announced on 19 July 2012 that they had bought Gago from Real Madrid for a reported fee in the region of €3.5 million. He made his official debut on 19 August 2012, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 away draw, against his former club Real Madrid.
In 2013, Vélez Sársfield secured Gago's loan to replace injured Ariel Cabral for the team's league and Copa Libertadores campaign. However, the midfielder was mostly injured during his time in the club playing only four league games and four Copa Libertadores games (scoring once against Deportes Iquique). Nonetheless, he did manage to win a title during his six-month stay in the club, helping Vélez defeat Newell's Old Boys in the 2012–13 Superfinal.
Gago was part of the under-20 squad which won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and was one of many touted "future stars" in the competition. Though he wasn't named in the squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he received a call-up a year later and played in the 2007 Copa America. Since then, he has been a regular squad member. Under Diego Maradona he was often in the starting line-up but was not included in the squad for the 2010 World Cup.
Also, he won the 2008 Olympics with Argentina.
Fernando Gago is also a literature and art enthusiast. The first thing he did after landing in Spain was visit the Museo del Prado. He earned the nickname El Pintita (roughly meaning "the little one trying to look good") ever since Ramón Maddoni scolded him for playing with his hair. Also, his Boca Juniors teammates would call him so because his youth squad coach would scold him "stop trying to look good and run!"
- (correct as of 25 December 2012)
- Boca Juniors
- Real Madrid
- Vélez Sarsfield
- "Player Profile". Real Madrid CF. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- "Gago gaga for Real move". Sky Sports. 4 October 2006.
- "Barca take check on Boca pair". Sky Sports. 4 October 2006.
- "Es Real". Olé sports newspaper. 20 December 2006.
- "Tactical Formation". Football-Lineups.com. Retrieved 15 January 2007.
- "Deportivo La Coruna 2 0 Madrid, Match Report". Sky Sports. 7 January 2007.
- "Madrid 1 0 Real Zaragoza, Match Report". Sky Sports. 14 January 2007.
- "Fernando Gago's Injury Woes Continue As Real Madrid Confirm Further Lay-off". Goal.com. 9 November 2010.
- "Official: Roma loan Real Madrid's Fernando Gago". Goal.com. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Fernando Gago out of Copa America and out at Real Madrid". Adifferentleague.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Valencia C.F". Valencia C.F. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Valencia agree fee with Real Madrid for Fernando Gago – ESPNFC". Soccernet.espn.go.com. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Real held by Valencia in season opener". ESPN Soccernet. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Madrid C.F. Web Oficial – Madrid C.F. Official Website[dead link]
- "Madrid C.F. Web Oficial – Madrid C.F. Official Web Site". Realmadrid.com. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Real Madrid C.F. – Official Web Site". Realmadrid.com. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Real Madrid C.F. – Official Web Site – Fernando Gago". Realmadrid.com. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Nació Mateo, hijo de Gago y Gisela Dulko".
- Profile at Realmadrid.com
- ESPN Profile
- Gago's profile and statistics at FootballDatabase
- Fan-site Fernando Gago
- Transfermarkt Profile