Oleguer in training with Ajax in 2011
|Full name||Oleguer Presas i Renom|
|Date of birth||2 February 1980|
|Place of birth||Sabadell, Spain|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Oleguer signed for Ajax in 2008, where he remained until his retirement. He was also known for his political approach.
In 1997 he joined neighbours UDA Gramenet, also in the region, making his senior debut four years later.
At 21, Oleguer signed with FC Barcelona, spending his debut season with the B side. He would make his first-team debut during a 2002–03 UEFA Champions League match against Galatasaray SK, a 1–0 away triumph. During that season he played for both teams, on occasion being a last-minute addition to the main squad.
On 17 May 2006, Barça beat Arsenal to win the Champions League for the second time in its history. Oleguer was in the starting eleven, but on the day he appeared tense and slow, struggling to neutralize Freddie Ljungberg's runs down the wing and more importantly not being able to stop Sol Campbell scoring the opening goal. In the 71st minute he was substituted in favor of Juliano Belletti, an inspired decision by manager Frank Rijkaard, as the Brazilian went on to score the decider with less than ten minutes to go.
Oleguer signed a contract extension in July 2006, keeping him with the club until 2010. He had the honor of captaining the team for the first time in their initial pre-season game of the 2006–07 campaign, in recognition of his work over the last few seasons. With the arrival of Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram, he found himself coming on from the bench in the first few matches of the season; on 29 November 2006, he was awarded the President Companys award for his efforts in promoting the official recognition of Catalan sports at an international level.
The 2007–08 season started positively in sporting terms as Oleguer became a fixture in Rijkaard's starting eleven. However, he was accused assaulting a policeman during an incident in a bar in Sabadell which occurred in 2003. He also spoke out against the banning of the Catalan national football team by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, when the former played a friendly against the United States in conjunction with FIFA-recognized international matches in that same week.
On 9 February 2008, in a La Liga match against Sevilla FC, Oleguer broke a bone in his left hand. He was operated on but he spent six weeks on the sidelines, and he took almost no part in the club's campaign upon recovering. Barcelona finished third, and his spell with the team ended at 174 games with one goal (all competitions).
On 29 July 2008 Oleguer signed a three-season deal with Dutch club AFC Ajax, which paid €3 million plus 2.25 million in variables, including an option for another year. Manager Marco van Basten said: "I am happy that we have acquired Oleguer. His qualities fit exactly with what Ajax needs. We are all convinced of that. He has a good age, experience at a high level and is a real defender."
On 18 October 2008, Oleguer scored a rare goal, the game's only in a home win over FC Groningen. He had an extended run during his first season due to injuries to teammates, but played mostly as backup to Belgian youngsters Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
- UEFA Champions League: 2005–06
- La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06
- Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006
- UEFA Super Cup: Runner-up 2006
- FIFA Club World Cup: Runner-up 2006
Personal / Political writings
Oleguer is an economics graduate who missed training with Barcelona to complete his finals. On 30 March 2006 he published his first book with recollections on his youth, early career and the league triumph of 2004–05 (and the subsequent street parade through the Avinguda Diagonal in Barcelona). The book, called Camí d'Itaca (The Road to Ithaca), dealt with such varied subjects as childhood anorexia, the antifascist struggle and the previous Spanish government's involvement in both Gulf Wars, also addressing the player's love of tennis.
Though injured just before the end of the 2005–06 season in a Champions League match and forced to miss the league-winning match against Celta de Vigo, Oleguer was able to return to the pitch to play in the next match at the Camp Nou when the trophy was presented to the team. True to form, he celebrated wrapped in the colors of the senyera estelada, the Catalan Independist flag.
Oleguer had sympathies with left wing and Catalan nationalist causes, and was asked by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas to play a charity match in Chiapas, Mexico during the summer of 2005. Later that year, he was invited to take part in a meeting of shortlisted players for the Spanish national squad, an invitation that he accepted only to tell manager Luis Aragonés he did not feel motivated enough to be selected.
On 7 February 2007, in an article written for Basque language newspaper Berria, Oleguer questioned the validity and independence of legal and judicial processes in the Spanish state, using the example of convicted ETA member Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos and his hunger strike to question those processes. His decision to write the article brought veiled criticism at Barcelona, both from coach Rijkaard and President Joan Laporta, as well as earning him disrespectful remarks from fellow professional Salva Ballesta.
As a direct result of the article, Oleguer lost his boot sponsorship with sports firm Kelme, and he subsequently signed for Diadora. He also became the subject of a strong public backlash among some elements in Spain, and was regularly heckled and booed in some of the country's football stadiums due to the article and his pro-Catalan independence stance. When asked about whether he felt that he should not have written the piece, he replied, "The consequences I suffer are nothing compared to what many people go through. What did sadden me, though, was that most people didn't actually read the piece. If people engaged in dialogue with intelligence and still disagreed, then fine, but they didn't."
In 2010, Oleguer appeared at a protest in Amsterdam against the Dutch ban on squatting. His club Ajax had no problems with his presence, because he only participated in the peaceful sections of the protest.
- "Barça comeback denies Arsenal". UEFA.com. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Barça reward reliable Oleguer; UEFA.com, 24 July 2006
- Oleguer injury leaves Barça short; UEFA.com, 10 February 2008
- Oleguer to join Ajax from Barcelona; UEFA.com, 26 July 2008
- Ajax-coach Van Basten: 'Oleguer is een echte verdediger' (Ajax-coach Van Basten: 'Oleguer is a real defender'); SportWeek, 27 July 2008 (Dutch)
- Ajax werkt niet mee aan vertrek Oleguer naar ploeg van Ten Cate; Voetbalzone, 17 June 2011 (Dutch)
- "Oleguer". Soccerway. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Oleguer Presas at ESPN FC
- Includes UEFA Supercup
- "Oleguer Presas confirma que renunció a la selección española" [Oleguer Presas confirms he renounced the Spanish national team] (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Salva Ballesta dice que respeta más a una caca de perro que a Oleguer Presas (Salva Ballesta says he has more respect for dog shit than Oleguer Presas); Pandeblog, 14 February 2007 (Spanish)
- La primera represàlia (The first retaliation); AVUI, 9 February 2007 (Catalan)
- "Ajacied Oleguer duikt op in krakers-protest" [Ajax's Oleguer shows up in squatting protest] (in Dutch). Het Parool. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2014.