Hierro in 2008
|Full name||Fernando Ruiz Hierro|
|Date of birth||23 March 1968|
|Place of birth||Vélez-Málaga, Spain|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back / Defensive midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Fernando Ruiz Hierro (Spanish pronunciation: [ferˈnando ˈʝero]; born 23 March 1968) is a Spanish retired footballer. He is mostly known for his spells with Real Madrid and Spain, appearing in more than 500 official games with the former and representing the latter on nearly 100 occasions, whilst appearing in four World Cups and two European Championships.
Equally at ease as a central defender or defensive midfielder, he had the ability, at his peak, to combine solid defensive play with a near-unlimited passing range and surprising goalscoring talent, which made him one of the world's most sought-after players. For the Merengues, he won five La Liga and three UEFA Champions League trophies over the course of nearly 15 years. One of the best attacking defensive players of all time, Hierro was a dead ball specialist, especially in free kicks, and is the third top scoring defender in world football.
Early years / Real Madrid
Hierro was born in Vélez-Málaga, Province of Málaga. After beginning his football career at local club Vélez-Málaga he had a very brief youth spell with neighbouring CD Málaga, where he was told he was not good enough for the sport, which prompted a return home. He eventually made his La Liga debuts with Real Valladolid, being bought by Real Madrid in the 1989 summer after two solid seasons.
At Real, Hierro scored seven goals in 37 games in his first season, and eventually had his position on the field advanced by coach Radomir Antić, continuing his good performances with the addition of goals – in three seasons combined he netted an astonishing 44 league goals, 21 alone in 1991–92, a career-best. During years, he often partnered club great Manuel Sanchís in the centre of the defense, being instrumental in the conquest of five leagues and three UEFA Champions League trophies, and being named captain after the latter's retirement.
On 24 March 2002 Hierro scored a hat-trick in a 3–1 home win against Real Zaragoza, although the ultimate leader would be Valencia CF. He was released at the end of the 2002–03 season alongside club manager Vicente del Bosque, under rather unceremonious circumstances; having appeared in 497 top division matches over the course of 16 seasons (105 goals), he then chose a lucrative move to the wealthy but developing Middle East football industry, joining Qatar's Al Rayyan Sports Club.
After just one year Hierro returned to Europe, signing with Premier League side Bolton Wanderers on the advice of his English teammate at Real Madrid Steve McManaman, and teaming up with another former player of that club, Iván Campo.
He scored one league goal for Bolton, which came in a 2–3 loss at Norwich City in December 2004 and, even though hard-pressed by fans and manager Sam Allardyce to stay for a further campaign, he announced his retirement from professional football on 10 May 2005.
In July 2011 Hierro returned to his native region, being appointed Málaga CF's director of football. On 28 May 2012, even though the club finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League for the first time ever, he left his position.
Hierro was capped 89 times for Spain and scored 29 goals, being only surpassed by Raúl González (who also took over his captain armband in June 2002, when he retired), David Villa and Fernando Torres. He made his debut on 20 September 1989 – freshly signed by Madrid – in a 1–0 friendly win with Poland in A Coruña, and appeared for the nation in the 1990 (although only as a squad member), 1994, 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA Euro 1996 (where he missed a penalty as Spain crashed out to hosts England in a shootout) and 2000.
One of Hierro's most important goals came during the 1994 World Cup qualification, as he headed the winning goal against Denmark that allowed ten-men Spain to qualify for the final tournament in the United States. In the finals, he netted on an individual play against Switzerland in the round-of-16, before his team was eliminated by Italy in the quarterfinals.
Although he had already been in charge for a few weeks, Hierro was officially presented as sporting director of the Royal Spanish Football Federation in late September 2007. He remained four years in the position.
- Real Madrid
- UEFA Champions League: 1997–98, 1999–2000, 2001–02
- Intercontinental Cup: 1998, 2002
- UEFA Super Cup: 2002
- La Liga: 1989–90, 1994–95, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2002–03
- Copa del Rey: 1992–93
- Supercopa de España: 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001
- Al Rayyan
- Emir of Qatar Cup: 2003–04
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa de España||Europe||Total|
|1989–90||Real Madrid||Spanish League||37||7||5||0||–||4||0||46||7|
|Qatar||League||Emir of Qatar Cup||League Cup||Asia||Total|
|2003–04||Al Rayyan||Qatar Stars League||19||3||–||–||–||19||3|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Spain national team|
Hierro's older brothers, Antonio and Manuel, were also professional footballers and defenders. The latter amassed 174 first division matches (17 goals) with Málaga, Valladolid (pairing up with Fernando as the side finished eighth in 1987–88), Real Betis and CD Tenerife.
- Real Madrid biography (Spanish)
- "The World's most successful Top Division Goal Scorers of all time among defensive players" by the IFFHS.
- Spain round-up: Hierro hits hat-trick in Madrid victory; UEFA.com, 24 March 2002
- Axe falls on Del Bosque and Hierro; UEFA.com, 24 June 2003
- Bolton ready for Hierro worship; UEFA.com, 12 August 2004
- "Norwich 3–2 Bolton". BBC Sport. 11 December 2004. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- Hierro wise to the benefits of English approach; UEFA.com, 18 November 2008
- Hero Hierro calls it a day; UEFA.com, 10 May 2005
- Málaga CF: Fernando Hierro, la última estrella del jeque (Málaga CF: Fernando Hierro, the sheikh's latest star); Ideal, 7 July 2011 (Spanish)
- Málaga: Hierro anuncia que no es prioridad fichar en enero (Málaga: Hierro announces there are no urgencies to sign in January); Goal.com, 24 November 2011 (Spanish)
- Hierro quits as Malaga general manager; FIFA.com, 28 May 2012
- Week 21 – Il grande stratega; ESPN Soccernet, 10 February 2012
- Hierro será presentado el jueves como director deportivo de la Federación (Hierro to be presented Thursday as sporting director of the Federation); El Mundo, 24 September 2007 (Spanish)
- Triumphant Spain share lesson in humility; UEFA.com, 31 December 2010
- Fernando Ruiz Hierro – Goals in International Matches; at RSSSF
- BDFutbol profile
- National team data (Spanish)
- Fernando Hierro at National-Football-Teams.com
- Fernando Hierro – FIFA competition record
|Real Madrid captain