|Full name||Álvaro Alexander Recoba Rivero|
|Date of birth||17 March 1976|
|Place of birth||Montevideo, Uruguay|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking Midfielder, Forward, Winger|
|1999||→ Venezia (loan)||19||(11)|
|2007–2008||→ Torino (loan)||22||(1)|
|2016||Uruguay (beach soccer)||3||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of June 14, 2015.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of October 16, 2016
Álvaro Alexander Recoba Rivero (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈalβaɾo alekˈsander reˈkoβa riˈβeɾo]; born 17 March 1976; nickname "El Chino") is a Uruguayan former footballer, who last played for Primera División Uruguaya side Nacional, as either a forward or midfielder. Although he began and ended his footballing career in his native country, he also played for several European clubs throughout his career, most notably Italian side Inter Milan, where he spent 11 seasons.
Recoba started his career with Uruguay's Danubio. After several years in the Danubio youth teams, he appeared on the first team at age 17 and played for two full seasons, 1994–95 and 1995–96. At the start of the 1996–97 season, Danubio agreed to transfer Recoba to Nacional. The following season, Nacional agreed to send Recoba to Italy's Serie A club Internazionale.
Recoba made his Inter debut on the same day as Ronaldo, on 31 August 1997, against Brescia at the San Siro. Recoba scoring two goals in the last ten minutes of the match: one, a powerful 30-yard shot that flew past the keeper, the next, a free-kick into the top corner after a Cristiano Doni foul. The goals allowed Inter to come back and win the match 2–1.
Loan to Venezia
Return to Internazionale
After his tenure at Venezia, Recoba returned to Inter. In January 2001, he renewed his contract with the club until 30 June 2006. During the same month, he was accused of carrying a fake passport and lost the Italian nationality he had received in 1999. The Italian football organisation penalised Recoba with a one-year ban, which was later reduced on appeal to four months. Overall, he played for Italian champions Inter in Serie A for ten seasons, from 1997 to 2007.
On 16 March 2007, Recoba confirmed to Sky Italia he wanted to leave the team at the end of the 2006–07 season, citing lack of appearances with the first team. On 31 August 2007, he was loaned to Serie A club Torino, where he rejoined Walter Novellino, his previous boss at Venezia.
Recoba scored his first goal for the club in the second match of the season, a 1–1 draw with Palermo, after a good combination between himself and Alessandro Rosina. On 19 December 2007, Recoba gave a top-class performance against Roma in the Coppa Italia, scoring two excellent goals in Torino's 3–1 win. However, his performances have been disappointing due to injuries and lack of playing time; he did not make the expected impact despite a solid start to the season, and finished the season out of the club's starting 11.
On 5 September 2008, Recoba signed for Greek top division club Panionios, where he joined Greek international and former Inter teammate Lampros Choutos as well as Uruguay national team player Fabián Estoyanoff. He made his debut in a 2–1 win against Aris on 18 October 2008. He proved his quality by assisting both goals for teammates Giannis Maniatis and Anderson Gonzaga. In his next match, Recoba inspired Panionios to a 5–2 away win against Ergotelis, where he scored two goals. He finished the season with five goals and seven assists, despite continuous fitness problems.
On 9 June 2009, Recoba agreed to remain at Panionios for the following season, as per the terms of his original contract. On 6 December 2009, and after being constantly injured, Recoba came to an agreement with the club to mutually rescind his contract on 16 December 2009. Panionios stated the termination was "friendly" and that they "were honoured" by his association with the club despite his injury-riddled spell.
Back to Uruguay
In July 2011, Recoba signed for former club Nacional. He appeared in many matches coming on from the bench, but still helped the team to win the Torneo Apertura. Recoba scored the second goal in the clásico victory 2-1 against Peñarol by taking a penalty kick during stoppage time. The result allowed Nacional to surpass Peñarol in the tournament table. He also scored the only goal in the last gane against Liverpool.
During the Torneo Clausura, he started more matches, scoring the third and definitive goal of that tournament's clásico, which ended ending 3–2 for Nacional.
Recoba made his debut for Uruguay on 18 January 1995 in a friendly match against Spain (2–2) at the Estadio Riazor, A Coruña, replacing Enzo Francescoli in the 65th minute. He played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His only goal at the tournament came against Senegal in Uruguay's final group stage match, but it was not enough as the match finished in a 3–3 draw and eliminated Uruguay in the first round.
In September 2005, Recoba scored the winning goal against Argentina in a 2006 World Cup qualifying match. This helped Uruguay qualify as South America's fifth-placed team and put them in position to play for the intercontinental play-off against Oceania Football Confederation champions Australia. However, Uruguay lost 4–2 in a penalty shootout after a draw in aggregate score. Recoba was substituted off in the second leg of the playoff for Marcelo Zalayeta after 73 minutes. When he was interviewed for the Australian documentary November 16 in 2015, Recoba indicated his displeasure at the decision to replace him, saying, "I was OK. I had the will to keep going. I was disappointed to come off in a game like that."
After the 2006 World Cup, and despite his lack of appearances in Inter's playing squad, Recoba was again picked for the Uruguay national team. He scored his 12th international goal in a 2–1 victory on 2 June 2007, in a friendly against Australia and he also appeared for Uruguay in the 2007 Copa América, where Uruguay finished fourth. In total, Recoba was capped 69 times with Uruguay.
Recoba played his last match as a professional footballer on 31 March 2016 at age 40, at the Estadio Gran Parque Central in Montevideo. The occasion was an exhibition game, organized by Nacional, between one team of current and former Nacional players, with Hugo de León, Felipe Revelez, "Cacique" Medina, among others, and a team of Amigos del Chino which included international stars Juan Román Riquelme, Christian Vieri, Carlos Valderrama, Juan Sebastián Verón and Iván Zamorano.
A quick, technically gifted and creative offensive midfield playmaker, who was capable both of scoring and creating goals, Recoba's main strengths were his dribbling skills, ball control, pace, his brilliant long passing and crossing ability and his powerful and accurate striking ability with his left-foot from outside the area. He was a set-piece, penalty kick, and corner-kick specialist, renowned for his curling free-kicks, and has scored goals of great quality, examples of which were his two goals on his debut with Inter. Recoba was capable of playing in several offensive positions, and has been used as an attacking midfielder, as a supporting striker, and as a winger. For a period, he was also the highest-paid footballer in the world. Despite his talent, Recoba was often injury-prone throughout his career, and was also criticised for his poor work-rate and inconsistency, which has led pundits and managers to accuse him of not fulfilling his potential.
|Uruguay national team|
- UEFA Cup (1): 1997–98
- Coppa Italia (2): 2004–05, 2005–06
- Supercoppa Italiana (1): 2005
- Serie A (2): 2005–06, 2006–07
- "Uruguay legend Alvaro 'El Chino ' Recoba bids farewell to football" by Sam Kelly, ESPN FC, 1 April 2016
- "El "Chino" hace la diferencia" ("The Chinese makes the difference"), Danubio F.C. website (in Spanish)
- "Fantacalcio: Inter-Brescia, quando Recoba esplose nel giorno di Ronaldo" ("Fantasy Football: Inter vs Brescia, When Recoba exploded at the day of Ronaldo") by Marco Guidi, La Gazzetta dello Sport, 10 October 2014 (in Italian)
- Contessa, Michele (January 13, 1999). "Recoba a Venezia: "Finalmente potro' giocare"". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- "Inter get Recoba back from ban". World Soccer News. October 12, 2001. Retrieved April 11, 2004.
- "Palermo 1 – 1 Torino". Football Italia. Channel 4. September 16, 2007. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- "Coppa: Recoba breaks Roma". Football Italia. Channel 4. December 19, 2007. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- "Novellino defends El Chino". Football Italia. Channel 4. December 3, 2007. Archived from the original on February 4, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- "Alvaro Recoba debuts for Panionios : European Soccer".
- "Uruguayan star Alvaro Recoba quits Greek side Panionios - ESPN FC". ESPNFC.com. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- "www.impre.com". Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- "Álvaro Recoba rolls back years to give Nacional victory over Peñarol". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- http://www.rsssf.com/tablesu/uru-intres1995.html RSSSF
- Australia v Uruguay, 16 November 2005, 11v11 website, 16 November 2005
- "November 16" (Documentary Film). You Tube. 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Chino Leyenda Nacional: Recoba se despide en el GPC" ("Chinese legend of National: Recoba says farewell at the GPC"), Nacional website (in Spanish)
- John Carlin (23 November 2003). "Recoba's riddle". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Don't get discouraged". cnnsi.com. Sports Illustrated. February 20, 2001. Retrieved June 13, 2008.
- Giancarla Ghisi (15 May 2003). "I vip dell' Inter accusano "Tutta colpa di Recoba, peggio di Tangentopoli"" [The Inter VIPs accuse: "Everything is Recoba's fault, worse than Tangentopoli"] (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Nadia Carminati (1 January 2007). "Recoba wants to be a regular". Sky Sports. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Recoba may not retire yet". Football Italia. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Inter. Moratti: "Zanetti come Facchetti. Recoba pigro, era più forte di Ronaldo"" [Inter. Moratti: "Zanetti like Facchetti. Recoba was lazy, but more talented than Ronaldo"] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Fabio Costantino (15 October 2009). "Recoba: "Cercai di portare Barreto all'Inter"" [Recoba: "I tried to bring Barreto to Inter"] (in Italian). F.C. Inter News. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Roberto Gotta (4 October 2002). "Inter the world of paranoia". ESPN FC. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Álvaro Recoba at National-Football-Teams.com
- "Á. Recoba". Soccerway. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
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