|Full name||Iván de la Peña López|
|Date of birth||6 May 1976|
|Place of birth||Santander, Spain|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|1999–2000||→ Marseille (loan)||12||(1)|
|2000–2001||→ Barcelona (loan)||9||(0)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
Iván de la Peña López (Spanish pronunciation: [iˈβan delaˈpeɲa]; born 6 May 1976) is a Spanish former professional footballer who played as a central midfielder. During his career, he earned the nicknames Pequeño Buda ('Little Buddha') and Lo Pelat ('The Shaven One') due to his shaven head and slight frame.
Having started as a youth prodigy at Barcelona, he incidentally closed out his extensive career at neighbouring Espanyol, amassing La Liga totals of 269 games and 19 goals over the course of 12 seasons.
De la Peña was known for his technical skills and accurate passing ability, although his career was affected by several injuries.
Born in Santander, Cantabria, de la Peña was recruited by FC Barcelona as a youth player in 1991 and made his debut for the B-team two years later. He went on to play 37 games for them, and first-team manager Johan Cruyff gave him his official main squad debut on 3 September 1995 as he came on as a substitute – and scored – in a 2–0 away win against Real Valladolid; at 19 he was initially regarded as the natural successor to Pep Guardiola. However, he gradually fell out of favour with Cruyff and found himself dropped, although he achieved a career-best seven league goals in that rookie season.
With the arrival of Bobby Robson in 1996, de la Peña was given a second chance to establish himself in the team. He subsequently developed a partnership with Ronaldo and was a prominent member of the team that won the Copa del Rey/UEFA Cup Winners' Cup/UEFA Supercup treble in 1997. He was also voted the best young player by El País in both 1996 and 1997.
De la Peña fell out of favour at Barça once again after the arrival of another Dutch coach, Louis van Gaal, and he was consequently transferred to S.S. Lazio, along with Fernando Couto. However, he failed to establish himself in Serie A and was loaned to Olympique de Marseille during the 1999–00 season. This move was not successful either and he returned to Barcelona, on loan, for 2000–01; after only appearing nine times (one start, against Racing de Santander) throughout the season, under Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, he returned to Italy, being released in the following summer.
In 2002, de la Peña moved to Barcelona neighbours RCD Espanyol, where he gained the continuity and stability to produce some of the best football in his career. In 2004–05 he helped the Catalans finish fifth in La Liga, enabling them to qualify for the UEFA Cup. In the 2006 domestic cup final, de la Peña masterminded a 4–1 victory against Real Zaragoza, setting up two goals: Raúl Tamudo scored after two minutes when he headed in a rebound following a de la Peña free-kick. The pair combined again to carve open the Zaragoza defence to lay on a goal for Luis García; as a result, Espanyol again for the qualified for the UEFA Cup and eventually reached the competition final, losing to Sevilla FC on penalties.
From 2007 to 2009, after extending his contract, de la Peña was severely hindered with injury problems. However, on 21 February 2009, he managed to net twice in a 2–1 derby win at Barça, with one side ranking first in the league and the other last; Espanyol eventually finished in 10th position.
After the shocking death of new team captain Daniel Jarque, in August 2009, de la Peña was named as his replacement. His physical problems continued to bother him tremendously, to a point which he said that if this became a major issue he would retire, which happened on 22 May 2011 at the age of 35, immediately after a home match against Sevilla.
De la Peña, alongside the likes of Gaizka Mendieta, Fernando Morientes and Raúl, played for the Spanish under-21s at both the 1996 UEFA European Championship and the 1996 Summer Olympics, helping the nation reach the quarter-finals in the latter.
Despite this, he did not make his debut for the senior team until 9 February 2005, at the age of 28 years and 9 months in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against San Marino (Almería, 5–0). He subsequently played for Spain on five occasions during the year, with his last coming against the same opponent.
On 8 June 2011, de la Peña was announced as part of the new coaching staff that would work alongside new manager Luis Enrique – a former teammate at Barcelona – at Serie A club A.S. Roma. It was announced in August that he would be taking a leave of absence for family reasons. Currently he works as a football agent, and his most known client that he represents is young FC Barcelona talent Gavi.
|Barcelona B||1993–94||Segunda División||3||0||–||–||–||3||0|
|Marseille (loan)||1999–2000||Ligue 1||12||1||0||0||0||0||7||0||19||1|
|Barcelona (loan)||2000–01||La Liga||9||0||1||0||0||0||2||0||12||0|
- La Liga: 1997–98
- Copa del Rey: 1996–97, 1997–98
- Supercopa de España: 1996
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1996–97
- UEFA Super Cup: 1997
- "Iván DE LA PEÑA López" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Besa, Ramón (26 December 2003). "'Lo Pelat'" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Espanyol bank on 'Little Buddha'; UEFA, 16 May 2007
- González Fernández, Javier (12 April 2012). "Iván de la Peña, genio maltratado por las lesiones" [Iván de la Peña, genius undone by injuries] (in Spanish). Vavel. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- Spain – Footballer of the Year; at RSSSF
- Atkin, Ronald (16 October 2005). "The lost boys of Barcelona". Ezilon. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- "Lazio: presi De la Pena e Couto. Inter: Torricelli e' vicino" [Lazio: De la Peña and Couto snapped. Inter: Torricelli close] (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. 25 June 1998. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- De la Peña seals Spanish return; UEFA, 29 August 2002
- Astruells, Andrés (13 April 2006). "¡Increíble Espanyol!" [Incredible Espanyol!] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Espanyol confirm De la Peña deal; UEFA, 19 June 2007
- Barcelona humbled while Madrid strike six; UEFA, 21 February 2009
- Torres, M.C.; Navarro, Cristina (19 May 2011). "De la Peña, el último romántico, cuelga las botas" [De la Peña, the last romantic, hangs boots] (in Spanish). Marca. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Italia ya ganó un Europeo a España en el 1996 (Italy have already won European Championships against Spain in 1996) Archived 13 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine; Orgullo Bianconero, 18 June 2013 (in Spanish)
- "De la Peña in line for debut". UEFA. 4 February 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- "España le enseña la manita a San Marino" [Spain show open hand to San Marino] (in Spanish). El País. 9 February 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- "Luis Enrique ha firmato "Farò calcio spettacolo"" [Luis Enrique said "I will produce spectacular football"] (in Italian). La Repubblica. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- Schiavone, David (13 August 2011). "De La Pena leaves Roma for family reasons". Forza Italian Football. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Iván de la Peña at BDFutbol
- "De la Peña". Soccerway. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "Iván de la Peña". European Football. Retrieved 1 September 2017.