Alejandro Darío Gómez

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Alejandro Gómez
Papu Gomez 02.jpg
Personal information
Full name Alejandro Darío Gómez
Date of birth (1988-02-15) 15 February 1988 (age 29)
Place of birth Buenos Aires, Argentina
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)[1]
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Atalanta
Number 10
Youth career
2003–2006 Arsenal de Sarandí
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2009 Arsenal de Sarandí 77 (16)
2009–2010 San Lorenzo 48 (8)
2010–2013 Catania 106 (16)
2013–2014 Metalist Kharkiv 23 (3)
2014– Atalanta 81 (18)
National team
2007 Argentina U20 11 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 5 February 2017.

Alejandro Darío Gómez (born 15 February 1988), nicknamed Papu, is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward or as an attacking midfielder for Italian club Atalanta. He is a dynamic player who is renowned for his technical skills, high work-rate and powerful long range goals. Gómez is a dual citizen of Argentina and Italy, having gained Italian citizenship on May 14, 2016, as his wife is an Italian citizen.[2]

Club career[edit]

Arsenal de Sarandí[edit]

Gómez begins his career playing with the youth squad of Argentine side Arsenal de Sarandí, debuting for them in 2003. Two years later, he is officially called up to the first team but does not feature as a regular with them until the 2006 Torneo Apertura where he scores 2 goals in 15 appearances as Arsenal finish in 5th place.

On November 30, 2007, Gómez scores the 2 most important goals up to this point of his career in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana Finals away against favored Club América of Mexico's Liga MX giving Arsenal a valuable 3–2 lead going into the second leg.[3] Arsenal lose the December 5th return leg 2-1 but win their premier championship on the away goals rule.[4]

San Lorenzo[edit]

San Lorenzo de Almagro sign Gómez for a 2 million dollar transfer fee, half of his estimated market value, in time for the 2009 Clausura tournament.[5] His impressive play, including netting 8 times in 48 appearances for Los Santos, attracts the attention of several high-profile scouts. This leads to his transfer in July 2010 to Catania of Italy's Serie A for €3 million.[6]

Calcio Catania[edit]

Catania officially welcome their new 22-year-old signing on July 21, 2010, and he participates in his first match 9 days later in a 1-0 friendly win against Greek side Iraklis. Gómez is immediately inserted into the starting 11 and becomes integral his club's franchise record-breaking renaissance over the next 3 seasons.

El Papu immediately becomes part of his side's starting 11, contributing 4 goals and setting up 5 others in each of his first 2 seasons. His breakout campaign comes in 2012-13 when his play-making and offensive prowess becomes the main catalyst propelling his side to franchise highs for home and overall victories and, for their 5th successive year, points.[7] The Rossazzurri capture 8th position in Serie A, equaling their historic high placing for the first time since 1964–65, but 5 points shy of earning their inaugural appearance in the UEFA Europa League. Calcio Catania come to consider this version of their club the best in their history.[8] Gómez finishes the year with a career high 8 goals, second on the team behind Gonzalo Bergessio, along with 7 assists, tied for both the Club lead and 10th in Serie A, in 36 appearances.[7]

Catania, for reasons that are never clarified, sell Gómez during the summer and replace him with the injury-prone and inconsistent Sebastián Leto, who they acquire on a free transfer from Panathinaikos.[9] Despite having 4 of their top 6 offensive players return, and later 5 of their 6 when Francesco Lodi is reacquired on loan from Genoa in January, Catania decline heavily, falling to 18th position, and are relegated.[7][10]

Metalist Kharkiv[edit]

Rebuffing offers from several big clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Fiorentina, and Inter Milan, Gómez himself requests his transfer to little known Metalist Kharkiv of the Ukrainian Premier League citing the Club's commitment to growth and the opportunity to play in the upcoming UEFA Champions League as his reasons.[11] A 4-year contract, with a €12 million release clause, is signed by him on August 2, 2013, following a €7 million transfer fee.[12] Things do not go well from the beginning.

UEFA uphold Metalist's ban from the Champions League two weeks later because of match fixing in 2008.[13] By the December winter break, failing to settle into his new surroundings due to a combination of the League's lack of visibility and quality, which he believes makes playing in it a waste of time, as well as adverse environmental and linguistic issues in Ukraine itself, which he sees as insurmountable, Gómez wants out of his commitment. He therefore requests a transfer back to Serie A as soon as possible, preferably to Fiorentina and by January 2014, offering to accept a salary reduction to have this accomplished.[14] This request goes unfilled and he ultimately plays in 23 games, scoring 3 goals and setting up 4 others, helping the Hor'ky finish 3rd overall.

Gómez refuses to return to Ukraine the following season because of the volatile and violent political climate that emerged during his time there. He states 'It’s an anguished situation, very unstable, as we are all sad and living in a state of panic...I have no intention of coming back...I will stay in Buenos Aires...Until there can be guarantees of safety, I cannot expose my family to these dangers.'[15] Many players, especially foreign ones, also leave the League for this same reason, including 3 of Gomez's teammates and 6 from Champion Shakhtar Donetsk.[16] The League sees its foreign player total reduced from 170 to 60 over the next 2 years.[17]

Atalanta[edit]

Gómez with Atalanta in 2014

Atalanta acquired Gómez on September 1, 2014, signing him to a 3-year deal.[18] Gómez had a decent first season, contributing 3 goals and 2 assists in 24 appearances to a poor, offensively-challenged Nerazzurri squad that struggled and narrowly avoided relegation, finishing fourth from the bottom, 3 points ahead of Serie B-bound Cagliari.

The following season, Papu lead his club in both goals and assists with 7 and 6 respectively as he rekindled the form he had shown in his final season at Catania, and, despite the continued lack of attacking support, steered Atalanta to a respectable finish in 13th place.[19] His performances spurred the interest of several big clubs which pushed the Bergamese side to extend his contract until June 2020 on February 4, 2016.[20]

International career[edit]

In 2007 Gómez was picked to represent the Argentina Under-20 team at the 2007 South American Youth Championship in Paraguay. Later that year he was part of the Argentina squad that won the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

Having only played internationally for Argentina at the youth level, dual citizenship was widely believed to have qualified him for selection to the senior Italian national team, for whom he had expressed interest in playing.[2] FIFA has since ruled him ineligible to switch his football nationality, however, because he did not have a dual passport when he first represented Argentina at that level and does not have Italian lineage, which would have allowed him to override this requirement.[21]

Titles[edit]

Season Club Title
2007 Argentina Argentina Under-20 FIFA U-20 World Cup
2007 Argentina Arsenal de Sarandí Copa Sudamericana
2008 Argentina Arsenal de Sarandí Suruga Bank Championship

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/alejandro-gomez.html
  2. ^ a b Football Italia staff (2016-05-14). "Papu Gomez available for Italy". Football Italia. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  3. ^ Romero, Henry (2007-12-06). "Arsenal stun America in Sudamericana". REUTERS. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  4. ^ Homewood, Brian (2007-12-06). "Soccer-Argentina's Arsenal win Sudamericana to claim first title". REUTERS. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  5. ^ ""Papu" Gómez, el nuevo refuerzo de San Lorenzo". Diario26. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  6. ^ "Inter-Ranocchia: ufficiale Zuculini è del Genoa". La Gazzetta dello Sport. 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  7. ^ a b c Galindo, Peter (2013-11-28). "Catania Club Focus: Rossazzurri not missing Lodi as much as Papu". Forza Italian Football. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  8. ^ "Calcio Catania: La Storia". Calcio Catania. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  9. ^ Galindo, Peter (2014-05-22). "Top 10 Worst Players in Serie A 2013/14". Forza Italian Football. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  10. ^ Football Italia staff (2014-01-03). "Lodi back at Catania". Football Italia. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  11. ^ Tribal Football Staff (2013-08-03). "Alejandro Gomez: I turned down Inter Milan, Fiorentina". Tribal Football. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  12. ^ Ross, Ryan (2013-08-02). "Gomez leaves Catania for Metalist". Forza Italian Football. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  13. ^ BBC (2013-08-16). "Metalist Kharkiv remain banned from Champions League". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  14. ^ Bargellini, Simone (2013-12-13). "Transfer News: Metalist Kharkiv winger Alejandro Gomez keen to join Fiorentina". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  15. ^ Football Italia staff (2014-07-22). "Gomez refuses Ukraine return". Football Italia. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  16. ^ Baxter, Kevin (2014-10-11). "Ongoing conflict in Ukraine wreaks havoc on country's Premier League". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  17. ^ Agence France-Presse (2016-03-16). "Out of Champions League, Dynamo Kiev and Ukraine football must now face harrowing reality". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  18. ^ Football Italia staff (2014-09-01). "Official: Papu Gomez to Atalanta". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  19. ^ Dalmonte, Edo. "Serie A Team of the Season 2015-16". Football Italia. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  20. ^ Colla, Claudio (2016-02-04). "ITALY/ OFFICIAL, Papu Gomez renews for Atalanta". TRANSFERmarketWEB. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  21. ^ Football Italia staff (2016-11-05). "Papu Gomez cannot play for Italy". Football Italia. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 

External links[edit]