Rubén Gracia

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Cani
Rubén Gracia.jpg
Cani training with Villarreal
Personal information
Full name Rubén Gracia Calmache
Date of birth (1981-08-03) 3 August 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth Zaragoza, Spain
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Villarreal
Number 10
Youth career
Stadium Venecia
Zaragoza
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2002 Zaragoza B 32 (6)
2000–2001 Utebo (loan)
2002–2006 Zaragoza 122 (13)
2006– Villarreal 257 (23)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 October 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Gracia and the second or maternal family name is Calmache.

Rubén Gracia Calmache, commonly known as Cani (born 3 August 1981), is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Villarreal CF. Usually a right midfielder, he can also play on the left.

During his career he played almost exclusively with Zaragoza and Villarreal, winning two major titles with the former and appearing in more than 300 official games with the latter.

Club career[edit]

Zaragoza[edit]

Cani was born in Zaragoza. A hometown's Real Zaragoza youth graduate, he was shining in the B-team which was playing in Segunda División B after a loan stint with lowly Utebo FC in Tercera División and, as the main side's fate was already decided in the 2001–02 season (relegation, ranking last) he received his first-team debut, playing 30 minutes in a 1–1 home draw against FC Barcelona.[1]

After helping the Aragonese club regain its top flight status by appearing in 24 games and scoring five goals, his first coming on 23 March 2003 in a 2–0 win at Real Oviedo, Cani went on to become a vital midfield element. In the 2003–04 campaign he helped Zaragoza win the Copa del Rey, in a 3–2 extra time win against Real Madrid – he was also sent off during the match.[2]

Villarreal[edit]

During 2005–06 Cani was one of La Liga's best passers and, at the season's end, signed with Villarreal CF for €11 million.[3] He appeared in 32 games for the 2007–08 runners-up, although he did not score.

In the 2008–09 season, after a shaky start, which included not being called to some matches by coach Manuel Pellegrini in spite of being healthy, Cani finished strongly, scoring five times in the last nine appearances, including the final three: Real Madrid (3–2),[4] Valencia CF (3–1)[5] and RCD Mallorca (3–2),[6] as Villarreal finished fifth; after the Chilean manager's departure to the Merengues, he again appeared in the starting XI regularly.

Cani continued to be an undisputed starter for Villarreal in the 2010–11 campaignRobert Pirès had also left the team. On 9 January 2011 he netted the opener at Real Madrid, with a subtle finish inside the box; already on the bench, he threw a water bottle at opposing manager José Mourinho after the coach celebrated Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick (which put the score at 3–2 for the hosts, eventually 4–2) in front of his team's bench, being immediately sent off.[7] The one-match suspension was later lifted, and he found the net in the next game, a 3–3 home draw against Sevilla FC for the season's domestic cup, and in the following, scoring from more than 50 metres in a 4–2 home win against CA Osasuna,[8] with the Valencian eventually finishing the league in fourth place; he added three goals in the club's semifinal run in the UEFA Europa League, including one in each leg of the last-four clash against F.C. Porto in an eventual 4–7 aggregate loss.[9][10]

Honours[edit]

Zaragoza

References[edit]

External links[edit]