Franco in 2009
|Full name||Leonardo Neoren Franco|
|Date of birth||20 May 1977|
|Place of birth||San Nicolás, Argentina|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
After starting out at Independiente in 1995, he went on to spend the vast majority of his career in Spain, playing 328 La Liga matches over 14 seasons in representation of Mallorca, Atlético Madrid and Zaragoza.
Born in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Buenos Aires Province, Franco started his career at Club Atlético Independiente, moving at the age of 20 to Spain with CP Mérida where he did not appear in La Liga, barred by Carlos Navarro Montoya and suffering team relegation. In the following year he joined RCD Mallorca, spending his first season with their reserves and again dropping down a tier, now in Segunda División.
Franco would be however promoted to the Balearic Islands club's first team, going on to establish himself as the starter after replacing compatriot Carlos Roa in the pecking order. In the 2000–01 campaign he appeared in 27 matches as Mallorca finished in a best-ever third position, and helped win the Copa del Rey two years after.
Franco was signed by Atlético Madrid in June 2004, being first-choice from the beginning. Until the end of 2007–08 he saved seven penalties, including two against Sevilla FC on 23 March 2006 (0–1 home loss) and two more at Real Betis on 2 December (1–0 win). Precisely during that season, he was challenged by newly signed Christian Abbiati (loaned by A.C. Milan), but regained his starting status in 2008–09, relegating veteran Grégory Coupet to the bench.
On 1 July 2009, aged 32, after not seeing his contract renewed, Franco left the Vicente Calderón Stadium – as Coupet – and signed with Galatasaray S.K. from Turkey. His first Süper Lig appearance took place on 9 August, in a 3–2 away win against Gaziantepspor.
Franco returned to Spain after only one year, joining Real Zaragoza on a two-year deal. He made his competitive debut on 29 August 2010, keeping a clean sheet at Deportivo de La Coruña in a 0–0 draw.
Franco left Aragon in the summer of 2014, and subsequently moved to San Lorenzo de Almagro. On 24 July 2015, after appearing rarely, he moved to SD Huesca, newly promoted to the Spanish second level.
On 19 August 2016, Franco announced his retirement at the age of 39 and was immediately named director of external relations at his last club. On 29 May 2018, he replaced the departing Rubi as first-team manager in view of their first-ever season in the top flight, being dismissed on 9 October due to poor results.
With the Argentina under-20 team, Franco won the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia. On 6 May 2006, two years after making his debut for the senior side, he was selected by coach José Pekerman – also the manager of the under-20s – to the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
|Independiente||1995–96||Argentine Primera División||1||0||–||–||1||0|
|Mallorca B||1998–99||Segunda División||23||0||–||–||23||0|
|Atlético Madrid||2004–05||La Liga||37||0||7||0||5||0||49||0|
|San Lorenzo||2014||Argentine Primera División||0||0||1||0||–||1||0|
- As of 7 October 2018
|Huesca||3 June 2018||9 October 2018||8||1||2||5||7||18||−11||12.50|
- "Leo Franco ficha por el Mérida" [Leo Franco signs for Mérida]. El País (in Spanish). 1 August 1997. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
- "Eto'o pone Mallorca a brindar" [Eto'o has Mallorca toasting]. El País (in Spanish). 29 June 2003. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- "Leo Franco ficha por el Atlético" [Leo Franco signs for Atlético] (in Spanish). UEFA. 15 June 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
- "Leo Franco mete en Champions al Atlético" [Leo Franco puts Atlético in Champions]. El País (in Spanish). 3 December 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Leo Franco detuvo su séptimo penalti con el Atlético en Liga" [Leo Franco saved his seventh penalty with Atlético in League]. Marca (in Spanish). 11 November 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Coupet: "Mi temporada es un fracaso personal"" [Coupet: "My season is a personal failure"]. Marca (in Spanish). 12 May 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
- "Leo Franco and Gregory Coupet close to Atletico Madrid exits". Goal. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
- "'Galatasaray Leo Franco ile sözleşme imzaladı'" ['Leo Franco signed a contract with Galatasaray']. Hurriyet (in Turkish). 11 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
- "'Galatasaray benim için meydan okuma'" ['Galatasaray is a challenge for me'] (in Turkish). NTV. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
- "El Zaragoza anuncia el fichaje de Leo Franco" [Zaragoza announce signing of Leo Franco]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 17 July 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
- "Deportivo La Coruña 0–0 Real Zaragoza". ESPN Soccernet. 29 August 2010. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "El portero Leo Franco jugará en el San Lorenzo argentino" [Goalkeeper Leo Franco will play in Argentina's San Lorenzo]. Heraldo de Aragón (in Spanish). 23 July 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
- "Leo Franco, nuevo fichaje" [Leo Franco, new signing] (in Spanish). SD Huesca. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "Leo Franco se incorpora a la SD Huesca como Director de Relaciones Externas" [Leo Franco joins SD Huesca as Director of External Relations] (in Spanish). SD Huesca. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
- "Leo Franco, nuevo entrenador de la SD Huesca" [Leo Franco, new manager of SD Huesca] (in Spanish). SD Huesca. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
- Serrano, Cristian (9 October 2018). "Leo Franco destituido como entrenador del Huesca" [Leo Franco dismissed as manager of Huesca]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 October 2018.
- Leo Franco – FIFA competition record
- "Germany 1–1 Argentina". BBC Sport. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- "Leo Franco » Club matches". Worldfootball. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "L. Franco". Soccerway. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- "Leo Franco". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 14 January 2018.