Julio Ricardo Cruz

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Julio Cruz
Personal information
Full name Julio Ricardo Cruz
Date of birth (1974-10-10) 10 October 1974 (age 40)
Place of birth Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Banfield
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1996 Banfield 65 (16)
1996–1997 River Plate 29 (17)
1997–2000 Feyenoord 86 (45)
2000–2003 Bologna 88 (27)
2003–2009 Internazionale 125 (49)
2009–2010 Lazio 25 (4)
Total 417 (153)
National team
1997–2008 Argentina 22 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Julio Ricardo Cruz (born 10 October 1974) is an Argentine former footballer. He played for clubs in Argentina, the Netherlands and Italy before retiring in 2010. The longest spell of his career was spent with Inter Milan, with whom he won four consecutive Serie A titles, among other honours.

Cruz earned 22 caps for the Argentina national football team from his debut in 1997, scoring three goals. He played for them at the 1997 Copa America and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

A tall, physical striker at 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in), Cruz started his career with Banfield in 1993. He moved to River Plate in 1996.

Feyenoord[edit]

In 1997, he moved to Europe, being signed by Feyenoord, and showing a great potential in terms of scoring proficiency. He then moved in 2000 to Bologna.

Bologna[edit]

At Bologna, under the management of Francesco Guidolin, Cruz was mainly used as a lone striker. While he was often derided by fans and the media alike for his lack of goalscoring proficiency, he did prove to be extremely apt at holding the ball up in order to bring the other attackers into the game. In 2001–02, he played an integral part in Bologna's 7th-placed finish in Serie A, and while he only netted ten goals in the league, he earnt back the respect of his critics for his intelligent and passionate football.[1]

Internazionale[edit]

In 2003, Cruz left Bologna and signed for Internazionale.[2]

With the Nerazzurri, Cruz rarely played regularly in the first team, finding some playing time usually just when the leading strikers were unavailable, and often being used as a substitute, thus scoring 12 league goals in his first two seasons with Internazionale. He scored his first goal for Internazionale in the 3–0 victory over Arsenal at Highbury Stadium on 17 September 2003 in the Champions League. In a Champions League match against Porto on 1 November 2005, he scored twice in thirty minutes after being sent in to replace striker Adriano, turning a 0–1 into a 2–1 victory.

In the winter of 2005, Cruz was linked with rumours to Roma and other clubs because his contract was running out, but in February 2006, he extended his contract to the summer of 2008.[3] He ended the season as the top scorer for Internazionale with 21 goals, including fifteen league goals, and the second goal in the return match for the final of the 2006 Coppa Italia Final that Inter won 3–1 against Roma. He signed a new contract in September 2007.[4]

Lazio[edit]

On 31 July 2009, Cruz left Inter and signed with Lazio on a two-year contract as free agent, but also paid €2.15 million sign-on fees to Van Dijk B.V.(which later Lazio was fined by FIGC due to third parties ownership and unlicensed agent Dennis Anthonius Johannes Maria Sickman).[5][6] At the end of 2009–10 season, Lazio mutually terminated the contract, as Cruz was suffering from injury. Lazio was his last club.

International career[edit]

Cruz has twenty two caps and four goals for Argentina. He participated in the 2006 World Cup, coming on as a late substitute in the matches against the Netherlands and Germany. He scored the opening penalty in the penalty shoot-outs against Germany, but Argentina lost 4–2 on penalties.


Nickname[edit]

Cruz's nickname, El Jardinero (Spanish for "the gardener"), was given to him at an early age. He was working as a groundskeeper for local team Banfield in 1993 when he was summoned by Oscar López to fill in for a missing player one day for a practice match. Upon noticing his talent, Banfield signed Cruz, and the nickname was born.

He was also nicknamed Poncherello by Inter Channel commentator Roberto Scarpini due to his similar appearance with the character from the 80's TV show CHiPs .

Career statistics[edit]

Club Performance[7][8]
Club Season League Cup Europe[9] Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Banfield 1993–94 5 0 5 0
1994–95 26 6 26 6
1995–96 32 10 32 10
1996–97 1 0 1 0
Total 64 16 64 16
River Plate 1996–97 29 17 29 17
Total 29 17 29 17
Feyenoord 1997–98 27 14 6 3 33 17
1998–99 29 15 2 0 31 15
1999–2000 30 15 8 3 38 18
2000–01 1 0 1 0
Total 86 44 17 6 103 50
Bologna 2000–01 27 7 1 0 28 7
2001–02 33 10 2 2 35
2002–03 28 10 1 0 33 1 35 11
Total 88 27 3 2 7 1 98 30
Internazionale 2003–04 21 7 4 3 1 35 11
2004–05 18 5 6 2 8 2 32 9
2005–06 31 15 8 2 6 4 45 21
2006–07 14 7 4 2 3 22 12
2007–08 28 13 3 4 6 2 38 19
2008–09 17 2 1 0 5 1 23 3
Total 125 49 5 13 30 13 192 75
Lazio 2009–10 25 4 4 0 29 4
Total 25 4 0 0 4 0 29 4
Career Totals 417 153 29 15 62 20 513 189
Updated 23 May 2010

National team statistics[edit]

[10]

Argentina national team
Year Apps Goals
1997 5 0
1998 0 0
1999 2 1
2000 1 0
2001 4 0
2002 1 1
2003 0 0
2004 0 0
2005 2 1
2006 2 0
2007 0 0
2008 5 0
Total 22 3

Honours[edit]

River Plate
1996, 1997
Feyenoord
1999
1999
Internazionale
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
2005, 2006
2005, 2006, 2008
Lazio
2009

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BOLOGNA TEAM OF THE DECADE". 
  2. ^ "JULIO CRUZ JOINS INTER". Internazionale. 30 August 2003. 
  3. ^ "CRUZ EXTENDS INTER STAY UNTIL 2008". Inter. 20 February 2006. 
  4. ^ "Cruz: "Very happy with contract extension"". inter.it. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.figc.it/Assets/contentresources_2/ContenutoGenerico/97.$plit/C_2_ContenutoGenerico_31892_StrilloComunicatoUfficiale_lstAllegati_Allegato_0_upfAllegato.pdf
  6. ^ "relazione semestrale consolidata S.S. Lazio s.p.a. al 31–12–09". SS Lazio (in Italian). 3 March 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010. [dead link].
  7. ^ "Julio Cruz". ESPNsoccernet. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "Julio Ricardo Cruz profile". F.C. Internazionale Milano. Retrieved 16 December 2007. 
  9. ^ Counts for appearances and goals at the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup.
  10. ^ Julio Ricardo Cruz at National-Football-Teams.com

External links[edit]