Artur Boruc

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Artur Boruc
Artur Boruc (2).JPG
Boruc playing for Fiorentina in 2010
Personal information
Full name Artur Boruc[1]
Date of birth (1980-02-20) 20 February 1980 (age 34)
Place of birth Siedlce, Poland
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Southampton
Number 31
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–1999 Pogoń Siedlce 12 (0)
1999–2005 Legia Warszawa 69 (1)
2000 Dolcan Ząbki (loan) 12 (0)
2005 Celtic (loan) 9 (1)
2005–2010 Celtic 153 (0)
2010–2012 Fiorentina 62 (0)
2012– Southampton 49 (0)
National team
2004– Poland 58 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 May 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 June 2014

Artur Boruc /ˈbɒrʊts/ (Polish pronunciation: [ˈartur ˈbɔrut͡s]; born 20 February 1980) is a Polish footballer who currently plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Southampton. He has previously played for Polish clubs Pogoń Siedlce, Dolcan Ząbki and Legia Warsaw, Scottish club Celtic and Italian team Fiorentina.

Boruc began his career in the Polish third division with Pogoń Siedlce. He joined Ekstraklasa team Legia Warsaw in 1999 and, whilst still a reserve, had a spell on loan at Dolcan Ząbki in 2000. Boruc broke through to the Legia Warsaw first team in 2002 and by 2003 had become the club's first choice goalkeeper. Boruc made his international debut against the Republic of Ireland in April 2004 and became a regular in the Polish international squad.

In the summer of 2005, Boruc joined Scottish Premier League side Celtic. In his five years in Glasgow, Boruc made 221 appearances for the club,[2] winning the Scottish Premier League three times, the Scottish Cup once and the Scottish League Cup twice. Boruc frequently found himself at the centre of controversy in his time at Celtic and was on various occasions fined by the club and the Scottish Football Association and was even issued with a formal caution by Strathclyde Police. Celtic fans nicknamed Boruc, 'The Holy Goalie'.

Boruc moved to Italy in 2010 to join Fiorentina, spending two years at the Serie A club before returning to Britain in 2012 to sign for English Premiership side Southampton.

Boruc has played in the finals of two major international competitions for his country, and won praise for his performances. After a spell out of favour, he has since regained his starting place in the Poland side.

Club career[edit]

Pogoń Siedlce[edit]

Born in Siedlce, Boruc began his career in 1998 at Pogoń Siedlce, in his hometown.[3]

Legia Warsaw[edit]

Artur Boruc in his Legia playing days

The next season Boruc joined Legia Warsaw, initially playing for the reserve team, as well as being loaned out in 2000 for half a season to Dolcan Ząbki.[4]

On 8 March 2002, Boruc played his first league match for Legia when he came on as a substitute during a 2–2 draw against Pogoń Szczecin. This unexpected debut was due to an injury sustained by Bulgarian goalkeeper, Radostin Stanev, during the game.[5][6] Boruc played in Legia's next four league matches and kept clean sheets against Wisła Kraków[7] and Odra Wodzisław,[8] although Stanev regained his place in the side upon his return from injury for the remaining league and cup fixtures. Legia went on to win the Ekstraklasa title that season for the first time in seven years.

In the second half of the following season, 2002–03, Boruc established himself as the club's first choice goalkeeper where he played in 11 of the club's last 15 league fixtures.[9] Legia lost only 1 of these 11 matches and Boruc kept 5 clean sheets,[9] although Legia only managed to finish fourth.

By season 2003–04, Boruc was very much a first-pick for Legia and played in all 26 of their league fixtures.[10] In June 2004, Boruc scored his only goal for the club, converting a penalty kick in a home game against Widzew Łódź (final score: 6–0)[11][12] and then celebrated by waving the corner flag. Legia finished second in the league and qualified for the following season's UEFA Cup.[13] Boruc also made his first appearance for Poland in April 2004, playing in a scoreless draw against the Republic of Ireland.[14][15]

Season 2004–05 saw Boruc very much remain Legia's key player and a favourite of the fans, again playing in all of the club's league fixtures.[10] Boruc's performances for Legia saw the club extend his contract up to 2012.[16] In March 2005, Boruc was made captain of the side.[17] However it was another disappointing league campaign for Legia as they came a distant third behind Wisła Kraków who finished as Champions for the third year in a row. Legia's UEFA Cup run was also relatively brief, disposing of FC Tbilisi 7–0 on aggregate[18] in a relatively easy qualifying tie before going out 1–4 on aggregate in the first-round proper to Austria Vienna.[19] Despite the lack of silverware though, Boruc's form was by the summer of 2005 attracting attention from abroad.[20]

Celtic[edit]

On 20 July 2005, Boruc signed with Celtic from the Polish club Legia Warsaw. The deal was initially a year's loan, with an option to make it permanent.[21] The move was later made permanent, with Boruc penning a three-and-a-half-year contract with Celtic on 17 October until 2009.[22] On 5 January 2008, it was reported that Boruc had signed a new contract with Celtic keeping him at the club until 2011.[23]

Boruc made his debut for Celtic on 2 August 2005 when he replaced David Marshall for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier tie against Slovakian side Artmedia Bratislava.[24] Celtic won 4–0, but having lost the first leg 5–0 still went out on aggregate.[24] Boruc quickly established himself as first-choice keeper at Celtic, displaying a combination of outstanding shot-stopping, immense self-belief and, at times, outright arrogance.[25][26] Indeed, gestures allegedly made by Boruc towards Rangers fans at Ibrox on 12 February 2006 later resulted in the player being cautioned by the Police.[27] In his first season he made 40 appearances and kept 17 clean sheets.[28] Boruc also added to his winner's medals collection as Celtic won the Scottish Premier League[29] and the Scottish League Cup (beating Dunfermline Athletic 3–0).[30]

Boruc playing for Celtic in 2009

Boruc continued his fine form for Celtic the following season. On 21 November 2006, in a UEFA Champions League match against Manchester United at Celtic Park, Boruc helped Celtic through to the knockout stage of the competition by saving Louis Saha's 89th-minute penalty.[31] Indeed, Boruc succeeded in keeping a clean sheet in each of Celtic's three home Champions League group stages games (Copenhagen 1–0,[32] Benfica 3–0[33] and Manchester United 1–0). He was named player of the month for December 2006 in the Scottish Premier League,[34] a very uncommon event for a goalkeeper. His form was also recognised with a nomination for the Scottish PFA Players' Player of the Year award for 2007.[35] The season culminated in more silverware for Boruc as Celtic retained their Scottish Premier League title[36] and defeated Dunfermline 1–0 on 26 May 2007 to win the Scottish Cup.[37]

The start of the 2007–08 season saw Celtic drawn against Russian side Spartak Moscow in the third qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League. The tie ended in a penalty shootout, with Boruc saving twice to ensure Celtic's passage to the group stages.[38] The season also saw Celtic complete a hat-trick of consecutive Scottish Premier League titles.[39]

Boruc was fined an estimated £50,000 by Celtic in August 2008 for breaching the club's drinking policy after a pre-season friendly in the Netherlands against Feyenoord.[40]

Boruc endured a decline of form in the first half of season 2008–09 as he committed several goalkeeping errors, in particular against Rangers in a 2–4 defeat at Parkhead on 31 August 2008 where he was badly at fault for Rangers fourth goal,[41] and against Hibernian at Easter Road on 7 December 2008 where John Rankin scored against him from 45 yards,[42] a goal Rankin later referred to as a 'squiggler'.[43] Despite this run of relatively poor performances, Boruc was one of 55 players (including five goalkeepers) shortlisted on 20 October 2008 for the FIFPro World XI Player Awards.[44] Discipline also became an issue again, with Boruc fined £500 by the Scottish Football Association for gestures he made towards Rangers fans during the Old Firm game in August.[45]

On 28 January 2009, Boruc converted a penalty for Celtic during the penalty shootout in the semi-final match of the League Cup against Dundee United, helping Celtic to an 11–10 win on penalties.[46] Boruc picked up his last silverware at Celtic in the same tournament a couple of months later when Celtic defeated Rangers 2–0 after extra-time in the Scottish League Cup Final.[47]

On 12 December 2009, Boruc made his 200th appearance for Celtic against Motherwell, which Celtic won 3–2.[48] In April 2010, he won the Scottish Premier League save of the season award for a reflex save against Hibernian at Easter Road in August 2009.[49]

On 4 May 2010, Boruc made the last appearance of his Celtic career in a 2–1 victory against Old Firm rivals Rangers,[50] although he had to be substituted in the second half as he was unable to continue playing due to an injury he sustained to his hand in the pre-match warm up. This transpired to be a broken finger and ruled him out of the final league fixture of the season.[51]

Fiorentina[edit]

On 12 July 2010, Celtic agreed to sell Boruc to Serie A club Fiorentina subject to a medical, for an undisclosed fee.[52] The transfer was confirmed three days later.[53][54][55]

He made his Fiorentina debut on 26 October 2010 in the Coppa Italia against Empoli.[56][57] After an injury to Sébastien Frey,[58] he made his Serie A debut in a 1–0 win over Chievo on 7 November 2010.[59] Boruc went on to play in the next 25 Serie A fixtures, before Frey regained his place in the team for the final two league games of the season.

On 18 August 2011, Boruc officially claimed Fiorentina's number one jersey after Frey's move to Genoa.[60] For the next year Boruc played in all but two of Fiorentina's Serie A fixtures, but despite this he was criticised for some of his performances and apparent lack of fitness.[61][62] After 2 seasons in Italy, Boruc was released by Fiorentina in July 2012.[63]

Southampton[edit]

On 22 September 2012, Boruc joined Premier League club Southampton, on a one-year deal.[64][65] He made his debut on 20 October in a 4–1 defeat away to West Ham United at Upton Park.[66]

On 28 October 2012, he was allegedly involved in an incident following Tottenham Hotspur's second goal, when he responded to the jeers coming from behind him by sarcastically applauding the home fans, before throwing a water bottle in their direction.[67][68] The incident resulted in Boruc being dropped from the side.[69]

Despite that early controversy in his Southampton career, Boruc regained his place in the first team and played in all the club's league matches from 1 January 2013 to the end of the season. On 9 March 2013 in a league match against Norwich City at Carrow Road, Boruc saved a penalty in the 90th minute from Grant Holt. The game finished 0–0, with Southampton winning a point in their bid to avoid relegation.[70] Boruc's form since returning to the Southampton first team resulted in manager Mauricio Pochettino expressing a desire for Boruc to be signed up on a longer-term deal at Southampton.[71] On 18 April 2013 this wish was realised when Boruc signed a new 2-year contract for the club.[72] Southampton's 1–1 draw with Sunderland on 12 May 2013 ensured their Premier League status for the following season.,[73] and they eventually finished in 14th place at the end of season.[74]

Now firmly established as first-choice goalkeeper at Southampton, Boruc helped his team make an excellent start to season 2013-14. The club's 2-0 win over Fulham on 26 October 2013 saw the team move onto 18 points and into third place in the Premiership, their best ever start to a top-flight season.[75][76]

On 2 November 2013, in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City, Boruc conceded a goal by opposing goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after just 13 seconds.[77] On 23 November, Boruc tried to dribble past Arsenal's Olivier Giroud in his own area only to be robbed by the French striker who flicked a shot into an empty net for Arsenal's opening goal in their 2-0 win.[78] A week later, he suffered a broken hand trying to keep out a Demba Ba goal in a 3–1 defeat against Chelsea, which kept him out for six weeks.[79] Boruc returned from injury on 11 January 2014[80] and kept a clean sheet in Southampton's 1-0 win over West Brom, impressing with a last minute save from Shane Long to deny the Birmingham club an equaliser and a share of the points.[81][82]

International career[edit]

Boruc lining up with Poland in March 2007 for Euro 2008 qualifier

Boruc's debut for Poland came on 28 April 2004 in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland, coming on as second half substitute for Jerzy Dudek, with the match ending in a goalless draw.[14][15] Boruc made his first starting appearance for Poland with his third cap, a friendly on 12 July 2004 in Chicago against the USA.[83] Boruc saved a penalty in the 11th minute from USA striker Brian McBride.[84]

Boruc soon established himself as a regular in the Polish squad and was selected to the 23-men national squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals held in Germany. He had been battling with Tomasz Kuszczak and also Łukasz Fabiański for the starting slot, but was first-choice goalkeeper during the World Cup and played in all three of their games. Boruc was particularly outstanding in the game against Germany,[85] although he was unable to prevent his country losing 1–0.

Boruc remained first choice goalkeeper and was named in Poland's UEFA Euro 2008 squad. He played their first game against Germany and held his place through to the important second game against co-hosts Austria in which the Poles conceded a penalty in the 92nd minute to level the game. In the same match he saved all three shots by the Austrians leading to a final score of 1–1. He was nicknamed "Spaceman" by the Austrian and German press during the tournament.[86] The famous Polish striker from the late 1970s and 1980s, Zbigniew Boniek, criticised Poland's team performance at Euro 2008 but singled out Boruc for praise, describing him as "world class".[87]

Boruc incurred the wrath of manager Leo Beenhakker in August 2008 when he and two team-mates went on a night out after a friendly against Ukraine in defiance of the orders of their manager. As a result, Boruc, Dariusz Dudka and Radoslaw Majewski were all suspended by Beenhakker for the next two internationals.[88] Boruc, however, quickly regained his place in the team and continued to be the regular choice until falling from favour again in October 2010 under Beenhakker's successor as Poland manager, Franz Smuda.[89]

After an absence of over two years, Boruc was recalled to the Polish squad in January 2013[90] and played in their 0–2 defeat against the Republic of Ireland a week later on 6 February 2013.[91] Boruc maintained his place in the international side for their next two competitive games on 22 and 26 March 2013, World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine[92] and San Marino[93] respectively.

To date Boruc has made 57 appearances for his country.[94]

Controversy[edit]

At Celtic, Boruc was at the centre of many controversies. Due to his custom of blessing himself before games, he was known as "The Holy Goalie".[95]

On 25 August 2006, Boruc was cautioned by the Strathclyde Police for a breach of the peace for making gestures in front of Rangers fans before a game earlier that year.[96] According to the Sunday Herald, "police reports highlighted three hand gestures made by 26-year-old Boruc … a V sign at the crowd, another obscene gesture at the crowd and a blessing". The gestures were not caught on video and the caution was issued on the basis of police reports and witness statements.[96] This incident has led to him attaining the nickname "The Holy Goalie".[97]

The Procurator Fiscal said Boruc "was seen by members of the public and police officers to bless himself. Witnesses describe him smiling or laughing at a Rangers section of the crowd and making 'come on' gestures. This action appeared to incense a section of the crowd to react in such a way that police officers and security personnel had to become involved to calm the situation. The police reported that it took 10 minutes to restore normality in the crowd."[98] According to a cross-party working group of the Scottish Parliament, "the sign of the cross in itself is an expression of the Roman Catholic faith; however, using it to alarm, upset or provoke others might be a breach of the peace at common law."[99]

The Roman Catholic Church condemned the legal action, however, expressing regret that "Scotland seems to have made itself one of the few countries in the world where this simple religious gesture is considered an offence."[100] Following extensive press comment, the Crown Office issued a statement on 28 August 2006 stressing that the "very limited" action had been taken against Boruc for gestures made toward Rangers supporters rather than for crossing himself, and that it would not take action against individuals for "acts of religious observance".[101] According to BBC News Online, the caution "brought the issue of sectarianism in Scotland back into sharp focus."[102] The Roman Catholic Church welcomed the Crown Office's clarification of the limited action taken against Boruc, particularly the statement that it "did not in any way refer to the act of blessing himself".[103]

On 17 December 2006, Boruc again crossed himself during his first Old Firm game since the caution, drawing "a roar" from the Rangers fans behind his goal.[104][105] A spokesman for Celtic defended his gesture, stating "the police have said they have no problem with Artur Boruc in this regard and neither does Celtic Football Club."[104]

Boruc courted further controversy in April 2008 when he displayed a T-shirt saying "God bless the Pope" and bearing a picture of the late Pope John Paul II after a game against Rangers[106] and also in May 2007 when he waved a flag proclaiming Celtic the "Champions" following a match against Rangers.[107]

Career honours[edit]

Legia Warszawa
Celtic

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 11 May 2014
Club Season Division League Cup League Cup UEFA Total
Apps Goals C.S. Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Legia Warsaw 2000-01 Ekstraklasa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2001-02[108] 5 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 6 0
2002-03[109] 12 0 6 0 0 0 0 12 0
2003-04[110] 26 1 12 4 0 30 1
2004-05[111] 26 0 10 10 0 4 0 40 0
Total 69 1 30 14 0 1 0 4 0 88 1
Celtic[28] 2005-06[112] SPL 34 0 17 1 0 4 0 1 0 40 0
2006-07[113] 36 0 17 5 0 2 0 8 0 51 0
2007-08[114] 30 0 17 4 0 2 0 9 0 45 0
2008-09[115] 34 0 16 3 0 4 0 6 0 47 0
2009-10[116] 28 0 12 2 0 0 0 8 0 38 0
Total 162 0 79 15 0 12 0 32 0 221 0
Fiorentina 2010-11[117] Serie A 26 0 9 1 0 27 0
2011-12[118] 36 0 14 1 0 37 0
Total 62 0 23 2 0 0 0 0 0 64 0
Southampton[119] 2012-13 Premier League 20 0 5 1 0 0 0 21 0
2013-14 29 0 14 0 0 0 0 29 0
Total 49 0 18 1 0 0 0 0 0 50 0
Career total 342 1 150 32 0 13 0 36 0 423 1

International clean sheets[edit]

As of 6 June 2014
Poland national football team
Year Appearances Clean sheets
2004 4 2
2005 9 4
2006 8 3
2007 10 4
2008 8 1
2009 5 2
2010 2 0
2011 0 0
2012 0 0
2013 10 3
2014 2 1
Total 58 20

Personal life[edit]

Boruc is a Legia Warsaw fan and attends matches in Poland.[120] He makes the L sign, using his thumb and index finger, to show that he is fan of his old club Legia Warszawa (in Warsaw, the L sign means Legia).

On 21 April 2007, he helped a 27-year-old pregnant Polish woman, her sister and brother-in-law, when they were attacked in Glasgow.[121]

Boruc's father died in April 2010; his mother Jadwiga died when he was only 20. He has a brother and three sisters. On 11 June 2008, Boruc's then-wife Katarzyna gave birth to their son, Aleksander ("Aleks"), in Warsaw.[122] Boruc and his wife separated in 2008, amid reports of his relationship with former Polish Idol contestant Sara Mannei.[123]

Fiancée Sara Mannei gave birth to daughter Amelia on 9 August 2010 in Poland. Boruc lives with Sara, Amelia, and Oliwia, his partner's daughter from a previous relationship.[124]

In September 2009, The Scottish Sun newspaper published an apology, for claiming Boruc had had an affair with a young woman, shown in a photograph, who was actually his sister.[125]

In June 2011, the News of the World newspaper admitted it had published a false report on Boruc, and paid him £70,000, believed to be a record for Scottish libel cases, plus legal expenses.[126]

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