Luque as an Ajax player in 2007
|Full name||Albert Luque Martos|
|Date of birth||11 March 1978|
|Place of birth||Terrassa, Spain|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Winger / Striker|
|1999–2000||→ Málaga (loan)||23||(3)|
|2002–2005||Deportivo La Coruña||101||(26)|
|2008–2009||→ Málaga (loan)||32||(8)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
His 14-year professional career was mainly associated with Mallorca and Deportivo, and he amassed La Liga totals of 248 games and 61 goals over the course of eleven seasons. He also had brief spells in England with Newcastle United and the Netherlands with Ajax.
Born in Terrassa, Barcelona, Catalonia, Luque was a lifelong supporter of FC Barcelona, and started out in football on trial with them, but was released by the C-team when he was still not aged 20. He was then taken by RCD Mallorca and immediately sent to its B-side, but eventually broke into the main squad after a successful loan spell at Málaga CF.
In 2000–01, Luque scored nine goals for Mallorca, helping the Balearic Islands side qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club's history after finishing third. His extra time goal in the third qualifying round against HNK Hajduk Split carried the team into the first group stage.
Luque was transferred to Deportivo de La Coruña on 29 August 2002, in an eight-year deal worth €15 million (approximately £10 million), for strikers José Flores and Walter Pandiani (on loan). In his first season at Depor, he scored the winning goal against former club Málaga with a bicycle kick, adding another La Liga winners against Racing de Santander and RCD Espanyol; he netted a total of 12 goals during the campaign, mostly from substitute appearances.
2003–04 saw Luque's firm establishment as a Deportivo starter, as he scored the winner against Rosenborg BK in the Champions League qualifying round, the only goal in both legs. He also netted important goals in the knockout stages against Juventus F.C. and A.C. Milan, adding 11 in the domestic front in his final year in Galicia.
On 27 August 2005, Luque was sold to Newcastle United for a fee of £9 million, signing a five-year contract. He made his debut against Manchester United at St James' Park, which included having a goal ruled out for offside. However, in his next game, he suffered a hamstring injury while playing against Fulham; upon his return, he was used in a number of roles, including left midfielder, failing to live up to his large price tag.
On 17 April 2006, Luque scored his first goal for Newcastle in the Tyne–Wear derby, when he broke free from the Sunderland defence and chipped the ball over Kelvin Davis. He commented after the game that he hoped to score before the end of the season, and thanked the team's physio for bringing him back to full fitness after injury; he played no part in the campaign's remaining fixtures, however.
Luque's first competitive home goal came against Lillestrom S.K. at the start of Newcastle's UEFA Intertoto Cup tournament –– he added two against Liverpool's reserves in a 4–1 success in October. After having fallen low in the side's offensive pecking order, a number of injuries awarded him a start against Serie A table-toppers U.S. Città di Palermo on 2 November, in the UEFA Cup, and rewarded manager Glenn Roeder's choice scoring the game's only goal with a header. Since then, however, the player had few significant first-team appearances, by now behind the likes of Matty Pattison, a reserve/first team fringe player; in the January 2007 transfer window he was even linked with a loan move to PSV, but the deal fell through, reportedly due to high wage demands.
On 23 June 2007, new Magpies manager Sam Allardyce revealed that he would be willing to give Luque a proper chance to impress. However, this did not prevent him from awarding Luque's number 7 shirt to new signing Joey Barton, which initially left the Spaniard without a squad number. He was eventually given the number 19 jersey he previously wore at Deportivo, and Titus Bramble at Newcastle.
His transfer from Deportivo to Newcastle is one of those about which the Stevens inquiry report in June 2007 expressed concerns:
"There remains inconsistencies in evidence provided by Graeme Souness – a former manager of the club"
"The inquiry still has unanswered questions relating to possible payments made by agent Francis Martin, who Newcastle officials believed was working for the selling club." At the end of the next month, AFC Ajax agreed a fee to sign Luque.
On 25 August 2007, Ajax confirmed they had signed Luque until 2010. On 30 September, he scored his first two goals for the Amsterdam team, turning the scoresheet in two minutes against VVV-Venlo in an eventual 6–1 home win but coming out injured slightly afterwards.
Luque was fined after a game against Feyenoord in November 2007 for a half-time altercation in the changing rooms with teammate Luis Suárez, which caused manager Adrie Koster to substitute them both before the second half. It was reported in July 2008 that the former had no future at Ajax; technical director Danny Blind told Sportweek: "Ajax has told Luque that he has to leave the club. I told Albert myself that we don't want to go on with him and if I've told it to him, I really don't know who else I should inform."
Return to Málaga
Just before the 1 September transfer deadline of the 2008–09 season, Luque signed a one-year loan deal with Málaga, returning to Andalusia nine years later. On 30 November 2008, he came from the bench to open his scoring account for the club in his second spell, in a 4–2 home win over CA Osasuna, and was a crucial attacking element as the club fought for UEFA Cup qualification until the final days of the campaign.
On 30 July 2009, after lengthy negotiations, Málaga signed Luque from Ajax on a free transfer. Under new coach Juan Ramón López Muñiz, he played mainly from the bench and scored only once in the first half of the season, being then dropped out for almost one month; after returning to first-team action, he replaced Duda in the 85th minute of a 3–0 win at Racing Santander.
In 2010–11, Luque continued absent from Málaga's lineups, both under Jesualdo Ferreira and his successor Manuel Pellegrini. In December 2010, he was deemed surplus to requirements alongside five other players, being definitely released on 4 January 2011.
Luque represented Spain at the 2000 Summer Olympics, playing twice as the national team won silver in Sydney. After a successful season at Mallorca, still uncapped for the senior team, he was called up to the squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, making his international debut in a 3–2 group stage win against South Africa on 12 June 2002, and also appeared in the round-of-16 success against Republic of Ireland.
Two years later, Luque played at UEFA Euro 2004, being used as a left winger in the 0–1 defeat to hosts Portugal. His last game was on 7 September 2005, in a 2006 World Cup qualifier against Serbia and Montenegro.
|1.||9 October 2004||El Sardinero, Santander, Spain||Belgium||1–0||2–0||2006 World Cup qualification|
|2.||4 June 2005||Mestalla, Valencia, Spain||Lithuania||1–0||1–0||2006 World Cup qualification|
- Spain U23
- "El recogepelotas" [The ballboy] (in Spanish). El País. 18 October 2003. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "El Mallorca abre la puerta grande" [Mallorca opens the big door] (in Spanish). El País. 22 August 2001. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Jugadores de ayer y de hoy: Albert Luque (Players of yesterday and today: Albert Luque); RCDM, 14 December 2010 (Spanish)
- "El delantero del Mallorca Albert Luque ficha por el Deportivo" [Mallorca forward Albert Luque signs for Deportivo] (in Spanish). El País. 30 August 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Luque pone la guinda a un gran partido del Depor" [Luque puts icing on cake to great Depor match] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 15 December 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "El Deportivo araña tres puntos claves para estar arriba" [Deportivo scrapes three vital points to stay up] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2 March 2003. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "El Deportivo acaba la Liga con una gran remontada" [Deportivo finishes League with great comeback] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 21 June 2003. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Luque strike does it for Depor". UEFA.com. 27 August 2003. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Luque decisive for Deportivo". UEFA.com. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Dazzling Depor ditch Milan". UEFA.com. 8 April 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Michael Walker (27 August 2005). "Souness gets Luque and now wants Kuyt". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
- "Sunderland 1–4 Newcastle". BBC Sport. 17 April 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- "Newcastle 1–1 Lillestrom". BBC Sport. 15 July 2006. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- Chowdhury, Saj (2 November 2006). "Palermo 0–1 Newcastle". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- PSV pull out of Luque loan deal; BBC Sport, 13 January 2007
- Luque to get Toon lifeline; The Sun, 23 June 2007
- "What Stevens said about each club". London: The Daily Telegraph. 16 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007.
- "Ajax and Newcastle agree Luque fee". BBC Sport. 25 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
- "Ajax sign Albert Luque Martos". AFC Ajax. 25 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
- "Ajax Amsterdam 6–1 VVV Venlo". ESPN Soccernet. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Ajax fine Suarez and Luque". AFC Ajax. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
- "Luis Suarez's most controversial career moments". CBS News. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Luque en Perez op dood spoor" [Luque and Perez at the end of the rope] (in Dutch). Het Parool. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "Luque op weg naar Spanje" [Luque on his way to Spain] (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Albert Luque ficha por el Málaga (Albert Luque signs with Málaga); Marca, 30 August 2008 (Spanish)
- "Málaga 4–2 Osasuna". ESPN Soccernet. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Luque y Muñiz ya ni se miran" [Luque and Muñiz don't even look at each other anymore] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Luque: ´Con Muñiz estaría más fuera que dentro´" [Luque: ´With Muñiz I would be more out than in´] (in Spanish). La Opinión de Málaga. 17 July 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "El Málaga Club de Fútbol enamora en El Sardinero (0–3)" [Málaga Club de Fútbol piles suitors up at El Sardinero (0–3)] (in Spanish). Málaga CF. 14 February 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Edu Ramos, Galatto, Luque, Iván González, Juanito y Edinho no cuentan para Pellegrini" [Edu Ramos, Galatto, Luque, Iván González, Juanito and Edinho do not count for Pellegrini] (in Spanish). Marca. 25 December 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Málaga Club de Fútbol y Alberto Luque llegan a un acuerdo de rescisión (Málaga Club de Fútbol and Alberto Luque agree on termination); Málaga CF, 4 January 2011 (Spanish)
- "Joaquín: "Era mi oportunidad"" [Joaquín: "It was my chance"] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 12 June 2002. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "Sáez selects Spain squad". UEFA.com. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "Portugal leave Spain in shade to light up Lisbon". UEFA.com. 21 June 2004. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "España no sale del laberinto" [Spain still in a maze] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2016.