Francesc Arnau

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Francesc Arnau
Francesc Arnau.jpg
Arnau training with Málaga in 2010
Personal information
Full name Francesc Xavier Arnau Grabulosa
Date of birth (1975-05-23) 23 May 1975 (age 42)
Place of birth Les Planes, Spain
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1990–1995 Barcelona
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1999 Barcelona B 119 (0)
1996–2001 Barcelona 24 (0)
2001–2011 Málaga 131 (0)
Total 274 (0)
National team
1996–1998 Spain U21 13 (0)
1997 Spain U23 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Francesc Xavier Arnau Grabulosa (born 23 May 1975) is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

In a 16-year professional career he only played for Barcelona and Málaga, appearing in 126 La Liga games over the course of 12 seasons.

Club career[edit]


Born in Les Planes d'Hostoles, Girona, Catalonia, Arnau was a youth graduate from La Liga powerhouse FC Barcelona. He made his first-team debut in 1996–97, in a 3–3 home draw against Atlético Madrid on 9 November 1996.[1]

During five seasons, Arnau was second-choice to Ruud Hesp and Pepe Reina, while also registered with the B-side.


For the 2001–02 campaign, Arnau moved to Málaga CF for 2.1 million, also playing second-fiddle until the departure of Pedro Contreras to Real Betis in 2003. He would eventually become club captain,[2][3] but lost his job in 2007–08 in the second division, to Iñaki Goitia.[4][5]

Goitia was sold also to Betis in the 2009 summer, but Málaga also acquired Gustavo Munúa and Roberto Santamaría, so Arnau was demoted to as low as third-choice in the 2009–10 season, eventually finishing backup to the Uruguayan but without making one single official appearance.

After Munúa's departure, Arnau played the first game of 2010–11 – a 1–3 home loss against Valencia CF – as Rodrigo Galatto was not yet eligible.[6][7] He continued appearing regularly for the club in the following weeks after the Brazilian performed poorly and another new signing, Rubén, went down with an injury.

On 21 May 2011, Arnau played his last match as a professional, coming on as a substitute for Willy Caballero in the last minutes of a 1–3 home defeat against his first club Barcelona,[8] with Málaga finally retaining its top division status. After retiring at the age of 36, he continued working with his last team as a youth coach, alongside former teammate Salva.[9]

Arnau became Málaga's new director of football on 15 December 2015, in replacement of Armando Husillos.[10]

International career[edit]

Arnau appeared for Spain at the 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, being named the tournament's MVP as the country emerged victorious.[11]





Spain U21


  1. ^ "Un brindis por el fútbol" [A toast to football] (in Spanish). El País. 10 November 1996. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Arnau: "La plantilla apoyará la huelga de futbolistas por solidaridad"" [Arnau: "The squad will be supportive of the footballers' strike out of solidarity"] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Arnau, Gámez, Juanito y Fernando, capitanes" [Arnau, Gámez, Juanito and Fernando, captains] (in Spanish). Málaga CF. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Un error de Arnau hunde un poco más al Málaga" [Arnau mistake sinks Málaga a little more] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 19 March 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "El Málaga es el tercer equipo más goleado de Primera" [Málaga is the team with the third-most goals conceded in Primera] (in Spanish). Viva Fútbol. December 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Galatto, baja ante el Valencia al no haber recibido el transfer" [Galatto, unavailable against Valencia after transfer failed to arrive] (in Spanish). Marca. 28 August 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Valencia shrug off departures; ESPN Soccernet, 28 August 2010
  8. ^ Second XI ease to win; ESPN Soccernet, 21 May 2011
  9. ^ El Málaga cuenta con Arnau y Salva como entrenadores de cantera para La Academia (Málaga counts with Arnau and Salva as youth team coaches for the Academy); La Opinión de Málaga, 23 March 2011 (in Spanish)
  10. ^ "Francesc Arnau, nuevo director deportivo del Málaga" [Francesc Arnau, Málaga's new sporting director] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "1998: Francesc Arnau". 1 June 1998. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Barça de titanes" [Titanic Barça] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 29 June 1997. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Título con súper-susto" [Title with mega-scare] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 29 August 1996. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "1998: Iván Pérez applies finishing touch". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 

External links[edit]