Juan Camilo Zúñiga

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Juan Zúñiga
Juan Camilo Zúñiga - SSC Neapel (1).jpg
Zúñiga playing for Napoli in 2010
Personal information
Full name Juan Camilo Zúñiga Mosquera
Date of birth (1985-12-14) 14 December 1985 (age 31)
Place of birth Chigorodó, Colombia
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)[1]
Playing position Wing-back
Club information
Current team
Number N/A
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2008 Atlético Nacional 121 (9)
2008–2009 Siena 28 (0)
2009– Napoli 125 (4)
2016 Bologna (loan) 9 (0)
2016–2017 Watford (loan) 17 (1)
National team
2005 Colombia U-20 4 (0)
2005– Colombia 61 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:41, 01 April 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:53, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Juan Camilo Zúñiga Mosquera (American Spanish: [ˈxwaŋ kaˈmilo ˈsuɲiɣa moˈskeɾa], born 14 December 1985) is a Colombian footballer who plays mainly as a wing-back for Italian club Napoli.[2] Prior to joining Napoli in 2009, where he has won two Coppa Italia titles, he also played for Colombian side Atlético Nacional, and Italian club Siena; he was also sent on loan by Napoli to Bologna in 2016. At international level, Zúñiga was part of the Colombian national football team that played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and has also represented his nation in three Copa América tournaments.

Club career[edit]

Atlético Nacional[edit]

Born in Chigorodó, Antioquia, Zúñiga made his professional debut with Colombian giant Atlético Nacional. With Nacional, he gained three titles while being at the club for seven seasons. In total, he made 129 league appearances and scored 9 goals.


Zúñiga left Atlético Nacional in the summer of 2008 and was contracted by Italian side Siena.[3] The transfer fee was €2.32 million.[4] While at Siena, Zúñiga gave impressive performances, which attracted several clubs. In total, he made 28 leagues appearances, failing to score a goal.


On 9 July 2009 Napoli signed the Colombian from Siena on a five-year deal for €8.5 million.[5][6][7] Zúñiga then usually featured on the left-hand side of the 3–5–2 formation, as the left wingback, since Christian Maggio often occupies the right-hand side.

After the arrival of Andrea Dossena in January 2010, he lost his starting place and became a backup wingback on both flanks in the 2010–11 Serie A season.

Zúñiga scored his first Serie A goal for Napoli against Catania on 20 February 2011. His second goal was on 15 May 2011 against Internazionale in the 46th minute. His third, spectacular goal occurred against Genoa on 21 December 2011.

In late August, 2013, Zúñiga suffered an injury. Weeks later, it was confirmed that he would be forced to have knee surgery and be out for a month, likely causing him to miss the rest of the season for 2013.[8]

In April 2014, it was announced after 5 months that Zúñiga had finally recovered from his knee injury and would continue regularly for Napoli.[9]

In the first half of 2015–16 Serie A, he was left out of the squad.

Bologna (loan)[edit]

On 13 January 2016 Zúñiga signed for Bologna on loan until the end of the season.[10]

Watford (loan)[edit]

On 13 July 2016, it was announced that Zúñiga would join Watford on a season-long loan, reuniting with former Napoli team-mates Miguel Britos and Valon Behrami, as well as manager Walter Mazzarri. On 18 September 2016, Zúñiga came on in the 83rd minute for Étienne Capoue and scored against Manchester United in his side's 3–1 win. In what was only his third appearance for Watford in the Premier League,[11][12] he subsequently won a penalty, converted by Troy Deeney, for Watford's third goal.[13][14]

International career[edit]

Zúñiga played for Colombia in the 2005 World Youth Cup before progressing to the senior national team in 2005. He was regarded as being similar to other famous adventurous full-backs such as Cafu and Roberto Carlos by the Italian press during the under-20 World Youth Cup, because of his attacking nature. Zúñiga started most of Colombia 2014 World Cup qualifiers, only missing two games: against Venezuela after being given permission to leave the team for the birth of his son,[15] and against Peru due to injury.

He was called up for the 2014 World Cup and appeared in four of the five matches that Colombia played in the tournament.[16] On 4 July 2014, while Colombia's quarter-final match against hosts Brazil was nearing its end, Zúñiga landed his right knee in Neymar's lower back while challenging for the ball. Neymar was stretchered off and further examinations showed that Neymar suffered a fractured third lumbar vertebra, ruling him out of the rest of the World Cup.[17][18] After the match, which Colombia lost 2–1, Zúñiga insisted that he had not meant to injure Neymar.[18][19] Neymar's teammate Thiago Silva defended Zúñiga, stating that he is not the type of player who would purposely cause an injury to any player.[20] Conversely, Brazilian legend Ronaldo said that he believes the very violent challenge was a foul with the intention to cause harm.[21] The day after the match, it was revealed that Zúñiga had sent a letter of apology to Neymar, saying that he was "deeply sorry and sad" for unintentionally causing the injury.[22] Neymar later accepted the apology.[23][24] Though Zúñiga publicly apologized to Neymar, his Instagram and Twitter accounts were flooded with racial insults and death threats to him and his family by some Brazilian fans.[25][26]

Despite disputed sentiment and false slander, a year later at Copa America 2015 Zúñiga would participate against Brazil in the second group match which an on-pitch brawl broke out following Colombia's 1–0 win over Brazil; Brazilian captain at the time Neymar deliberately kicked the ball at opponent Pablo Armero and attempted to headbutt Colombian matchwinner Jeison Murillo, earning a red card. As a result, Colombian forward Carlos Bacca retaliated by pushing Neymar over, and was himself sent off.[27] CONMEBOL fined Neymar $10,000 and suspended him for four matches, ruling him out for the remainder of the tournament,[28] while Bacca was suspended for two matches.[29] Although Zúñiga was nowhere involved in the incident it draw an exonerating parallel based on the professionalism between both athletes.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results lists Colombia's goal tally first.[30]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 7 September 2012 Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez, Barranquilla, Colombia  Uruguay
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification

Style of play[edit]

A quick, energetic, versatile, and hard-working player, Zúñiga is capable of playing in several positions along the left flank, and has been deployed as an attacking full-back, as a wing-back, and as a winger; he is also capable of playing on the right.[31] Once regarded as a possible heir of Cafu,[32] he is mainly known for his pace, strength, technique, and dribbling skills, as well as his powerful striking ability from outside the area; these attributes make him a dangerous offensive threat, and enable him both to score and create goals for teammates.[33]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 01 April 2017 [34][35]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Atlético Nacional 2002 Categoría Primera A 4 0 4 0
2003 Categoría Primera A 1 0 1 0
2004 Categoría Primera A 23 0 23 0
2005 Categoría Primera A 23 2 23 2
2006 Categoría Primera A 24 1 24 1
2008 Categoría Primera A 32 4 32 4
2008 Categoría Primera A 14 2 14 2
Total 121 9 121 9
Siena 2008–09 Serie A 28 0 0 0 28 0
Napoli 2009–10 Serie A 22 0 2 0 0 0 24 0
2010–11 Serie A 27 2 2 0 8 0 37 2
2011–12 Serie A 31 2 5 0 7 0 43 2
2012–13 Serie A 32 0 1 0 7 0 40 0
2013–14 Serie A 6 0 0 0 2 0 8 0
2014–15 Serie A 7 0 0 0 3 0 10 0
2015–16 Serie A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 125 4 10 0 27 0 162 4
Bologna (loan) 2015–16 Serie A 9 0 0 0 9 0
Watford (loan) 2016–17 Premier League 17 1 0 0 0 0 17 1
Career total 295 14 10 0 0 0 27 0 332 14



Atletico Nacional


  1. ^ http://www.sscnapoli.it/Squadra/Juan-Camilo-Zuniga
  2. ^ "Arsenal Transfer News: Cavani, Zuniga, Gourcuff And Walcott Involved In Latest Speculation". Ibtimes.com. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Zuniga raggiunge il ritiro" (in Italian). AC Siena. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  4. ^ A.C. Siena S.p.A. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2009 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.
  5. ^ "Napoli, ufficializzati Campagnaro e Zuniga" (in Italian). SSC Napoli. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  6. ^ A.C. Siena S.p.A. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2010 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.
  7. ^ S.S.C. Napoli S.p.A. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 30 June 2010 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.
  8. ^ Diego, Juan. "Camilo Zuñiga fue operado de la rodilla". Comutricolor.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  9. ^ http://www.fantagazzetta.com/calcio-italia/napoli-emergenza-terzini-finita-pronti-al-rientro-maggio-e-zuniga-184695
  10. ^ "Zuniga al Bologna" (in Italian). Bologna F.C. 1909. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  11. ^ http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/37067781
  12. ^ http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/36994444
  13. ^ "OFFICIAL: Juan Camilo Zúñiga Joins Watford FC". Watford F.C. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  14. ^ Smyth, Rob. "Watford 3–1 Manchester United: Live". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Defensor Camilo Zuñiga de Colombia estaría ausente para juego con Venezuela" (in Spanish). Univision. 8 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "Profile on the FIFA World Cup official website". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  17. ^ "Neymar Jr Injury Video: Watch Foul on Brazil Super Star Today; Neymar Taken to Hospital, Will Miss Germany Semi Final Match (+Photos)". The Epoch Times. 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  18. ^ a b "Neymar: Injured Brazil forward ruled out of World Cup". BBC Sport. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Zúñiga diz que não tinha a intenção de machucar Neymar" (in Portuguese). Estadão. 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  20. ^ "Thiago Silva defendió a Zuñiga y quiere ganar la Copa por Neymar – Futbol – ESPN: Deportes". Espndeportes.espn.go.com. 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  21. ^ "Brazil legend Ronaldo slams Colombia defender's 'very violent' challenge – Daily Mail Online". dailymail.co.uk. 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  22. ^ "Zuniga apologizes to Neymar for tackle". Associated Press. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "Neymar accepts apology from Juan Zuniga after World Cup clash". Metro. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "Neymar breaks down in tears as he reveals how he came within inches of being paralysed by Juan Zuniga in Brazil's World Cup win over Colombia". DailyMail. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Neymar's Injury Sidelines Effort to End World Cup Racism". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "World Cup 2014: Juan Zuniga gets extra security after Neymar threats". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Copa America: FT: Brazil 0–1 Colombia". BBC. 17 June 2015. 
  28. ^ "Neymar suspended for remainder of Copa America tournament". ESPN. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  29. ^ Macguire, Eoghan (21 June 2015). "Copa America 2015: Neymar banned for remainder of tournament". CNN. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  30. ^ "Camilo Zúñiga International Statistics"., Int.soccerway.com Retrieved on 6 August 2014
  31. ^ Marco Zefelippo (6 September 2015). ""Lo strano caso di Zuniga", da esubero del Napoli a sorpresa del Fantacalcio?" (in Italian). Fanta Magazine. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  32. ^ Francesco Letizia (16 July 2008). "Zuniga a SportItalia: "Mi cercano Siena e Palermo"" (in Italian). Tutto Mercato Web. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  33. ^ "Velocità, dribbling, tiro e assist: Zuniga ritorna titolare" (in Italian). Casa Napoli 24. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  34. ^ "C. ZÚÑIGA". Soccerway. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  35. ^ "Zúñiga, Juan Camilo". National-Football-Teams. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 

External links[edit]