Novo warming-up for Rangers in 2009
|Full name||Ignacio Javier Gómez Novo|
|Date of birth||26 March 1979|
|Place of birth||Ferrol, Galicia, Spain|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of October 16, 2015.
Ignacio Javier "Nacho" Gómez Novo (Spanish pronunciation: [iɣˈnaθjo xaˈβjer ˈnat͡ʃo ˈɣomeθ ˈnoβo]; born 26 March 1979) is a Spanish footballer, who currently plays for Carolina RailHawks in the North American Soccer League.
He formerly played for Huesca in Spain then moved to Scotland with Raith Rovers and Dundee. In July 2004, he moved to Rangers for £450,000. During his first season at the club he scored 25 goals and won a league and League Cup double. He had to wait four years before lifting the league championship again in the 2008–09 season, where he also scored the winning goal in the 2009 Scottish Cup Final which won him his second double with the Ibrox club.
Novo joined Raith Rovers from SD Huesca in July 2001. He made a scoring debut against Airdrieonians on 4 August, and netted the winner during a Challenge Cup match against Alloa Athletic three days later. Novo saw himself sent off in only his third match for Raith, whilst playing against Partick Thistle.
Despite this setback he went on to score consistently in the Scottish First Division, netting doubles against St Mirren and twice against Falkirk. Novo accumulated a total of 22 goals in 38 appearances during his first season in Scotland.
His goal scoring record attracted the attention of then Scottish Premier League club Dundee who signed him for £100,000 in July 2002. He made his Scottish Premier League debut on 3 August 2002 in a 1–1 draw with Hearts. Novo scored his first and second goals for the club against Dunfermline Athletic on 17 August but was sent-off in the dying moments of the match for raising his foot at Pars defender Scott Wilson. He went on to score a further seven goals to end the season with a tally of nine.
His second season saw Novo return to form, scoring four goals in the UEFA Cup, including one against then Serie A outfit Perugia, helped him to an end of season tally of 25. This form attracted the interest of several clubs including Celtic and Rangers. Celtic had a £500,000 bid accepted but failed to agree terms the player, stating Novo didn't have the "necessary level of commitment" during signing talks.
Novo signed for Rangers on 6 July 2004 for a reported fee of £450,000. He was allocated the number 10 shirt that had been vacated by Michael Mols. In his first season at the club he scored 25 goals, including the goal against Hibernian that won Rangers the league title. He made his debut for Rangers in a Scottish Premier League match away to Aberdeen on 7 August 2004. His first goal came in his second appearance, netting in Rangers' 2–1 loss to Russian side CSKA Moscow on 10 August.
Following his first goal Novo failed to score in his next eight appearances and he was dropped from the starting eleven. He came on as a 66th-minute substitute in a league match against his former employers Dundee. Novo netted two goals in as many minutes which helped Rangers to a 2–0 victory, after that he was a regular in the Rangers side.
At the start of the season Novo broke his fifth metatarsal, which ruled him out for several months. Upon his return from injury he failed to score in the twenty matches he played the rest of that season, being deployed more as a winger than a striker due to the form of Kris Boyd. His three goals had come against Celtic, Falkirk and Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta.
With the departure of Alex McLeish and the arrival of Frenchman Paul Le Guen, Novo looked set to leave Rangers. However, a proposed transfer to English First Division club Coventry City fell through on transfer deadline day. Novo initially found his appearances sporadic, featuring in the first game of the season then waiting seven weeks for his second but after a mixture of poor results, injuries and his good performances for the reserves Novo returned to the first team. His first goal of that season, and in over a year, was during a 3–2 UEFA Cup win over Livorno on 19 October 2006. The following match, Novo came off the bench to score a late winner against St. Mirren in a 3–2 win. He then started the next game, Motherwell held Rangers to a 1–1 draw with Novo named Man of the Match. His rejuvenated form continued with goals against Heart of Midlothian, Maccabi Haifa and AJ Auxerre. Novo continued to be a regular when Le Guen was replaced with Walter Smith.
The signings of strikers in the summer of 2007 led to increased competition for attacking positions and most of Novo's appearances in the early months of the season were as a substitute. On 20 October, he started the first Old Firm derby match of the season and scored twice in a 3–0 victory for Rangers over Celtic. On 2 December 2007 it was reported that Rangers were willing to offer Novo a one-year extension to his current contract, which was to expire in July 2008. However, Novo said that he would leave the club if he was not offered a longer contract. He was later offered a two-year contract extension until the summer of 2010, and signed the deal on 21 December 2007.
On 1 May 2008, he scored the winning penalty in the semi final shoot-out against Fiorentina which put Rangers through to the 2008 UEFA Cup Final. During the 2007–08 season Novo was sent off twice, both in league games before cup finals, meaning that he missed both the 2008 League Cup final and the 2008 Scottish Cup final through suspension. The 2008–09 season saw Novo used almost exclusively as a substitute. He came off the bench in the 2009 Scottish Cup Final to score the winning goal after only being on the field for 28 seconds.
During what turned out to be his final season with Rangers, he won both the league and Scottish League Cup, scoring nine times, but was mainly used as a substitute, starting just 14 league games. Novo decided not to sign a new contract as he was not getting enough starting opportunities.
Sporting de Gijón
In May 2010, Novo moved to La Liga side Sporting de Gijón, on a two-year deal. After a difficult first season in Spain, Novo was offered to clubs in the summer of 2011 with a return to Scotland being mooted. Aberdeen boss Craig Brown said that he had turned down the chance to sign Novo, but this was later denied by the players agent.
Sporting de Gijón boss and Spanish legend, Javier Clemente, branded Novo "a coward", and of "showing no commitment to the club in their time of need", and tore up Novo's contract. Clemente then states he “Went into the dressing room and told the rest of the players that if we had any other cowards they could also leave.”
Legia Warsaw & Huesca
On 16 February 2012, Novo signed a 6-month contract with Legia Warsaw. He made his debut on 26 February against Śląsk Wrocław and was substituted in the 59th minute with his side leading 3-0, Legia eventually winning 4-0. Novo made 11 League and 3 Cup appearances for Legia, scoring once for Legia in a 2-1 win over Arka Gdynia in the semi-final of the Polish Cup.
In July 2012 Novo returned to Spain to rejoin Second division side Huesca with whom he spent a successful 2-year spell between 1999 and 2001. Novo's second spell at the club was less successful than his first, scoring only 6 league goals. In November 2012, Novo was sent off after scoring in a 2-1 win over Guadalajara for gestures made towards the crowd. Novo protested his innocence, stating that the 'gestures' were in fact a 'dedication' towards his late mother. Huesca ended being relegated at the end of the season, and Novo became a free agent.
Novo signed a short-term contract with last seasons Scottish Championship runners-up Greenock Morton in October 2013, in a deal that was scheduled to run until 12 January 2014. However, after a disappointing return of only one goal, and with Morton at the bottom of the Championship, Novo was released from his contract ahead of schedule on 24 December.
He was released in May 2014, after appearing in only six matches.
Novo has never been selected for the Spanish national team but has played for Galicia – his debut was in a 2008 friendly. For the first time he played for the Galician team against Iran, arriving in his homeland just an hour before the match started after playing for Rangers against Celtic earlier in the day. He scored two goals and left to the acclaim of the Galician fans.
On 24 October 2008, it was reported that Novo could be selected by the Scottish national team as he is eligible to acquire a British passport, having lived in Scotland for eight years. This led to much debate amongst the Scottish media as to whether Novo, who was born in Galicia and has no Scottish parents or grandparents, should be selected by Scotland. It eventually became clear, however, that the Home Nations would continue to honour a deal whereby that any player selected by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales would be required to have a blood tie to that country, or have had five years compulsory education within it. This deal would rule out the prospect of Novo playing for Scotland, or the prospect of Manuel Almunia or Mikel Arteta playing for England.
- Scottish Premier League: 2004–05, 2008–09, 2009–10
- Scottish Cup: 2009
- Scottish League Cup: 2004–05, 2009–10
- UEFA Cup Final Runners up : 2007–08
- Rangers Hall of Fame Inductee: 2014
- "Raith's summer ins and outs". BBC Sport. 4 August 2001.
- "East Fife 2–3 Raith Rovers". BBC Sport. 7 August 2001.
- "Dundee sign Novo". BBC Sport. 4 July 2002.
- "Crawford dumps Dundee". BBC Sport. 17 August 2002.
- "Heartache for Dundee". BBC Sport. 24 September 2003.
- "Celtic make Novo inquiry". BBC Sport. 15 June 2004.
- "Celtic drop Novo interest". BBC Sport. 15 June 2004.
- "Rangers sign Novo". BBC Sport. 6 July 2004.
- "Hibernian 0–1 Rangers". BBC Sport. 22 May 2005.
- "Aberdeen 0–0 Rangers". BBC Sport. 7 August 2004.
- "CSKA Moscow 2–1 Rangers". BBC Sport. 10 August 2004.
- "Dundee 0–2 Rangers". BBC Sport. 26 September 2004.
- "Novo could be out for two months". BBC Sport. 26 September 2005.
- "No go for Novo move to Coventry". BBC Sport. 31 August 2006.
- "Livorno 2–3 Rangers". BBC Sport. 19 October 2006.
- "St Mirren 2–3 Rangers". BBC Sport. 22 October 2006.
- "Hearts 0–1 Rangers". BBC Sport. 19 November 2006.
- "Rangers 2–0 Maccabi Haifa". BBC Sport. 2 November 2006.
- "Auxerre 2–2 Rangers". BBC Sport. 23 November 2006.
- "Rangers 3–0 Celtic". BBC Sport. 20 October 2007.
- "Rangers to offer Novo new deal". BBC Sport. 2 December 2007.
- "Novo agrees new Rangers contract". BBC Sport. 21 December 2007.
- Gray, Lisa (2 May 2008). "Fiorentina 0 Rangers 0 (aet; Rangers win 4-2 on pens): Novo holds nerve to shoot 10-man Rangers into final". The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Novo misses final after red card". BBC Sport. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Suspended Rangers striker Novo to miss Scottish Cup Final". London Evening Standard. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Rangers 1–0 Falkirk". BBC Sport. 30 May 2009.
- "Rangers forward Nacho Novo ponders next move". BBC Sport. 11 May 2010.
- "Fame Awards For Trio". rangers.co.uk. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "Rangers forward Nacho Novo will join Sporting Gijon". BBC Sport. 21 May 2010.
- "Agent denies Nacho Novo was offered to Aberdeen.". BBC Sport (BBC). 1 July 2011.
- "Nacho Novo is a coward.". UK Sport (Daily Record). 19 February 2012.
- Kutarnia, Adam (17 February 2012). "Nacho Novo introduced by Legia". Poland Soccer Blog. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- Maciej Kusina (26 February 2012). "Śląsk Wrocław 0-4 Legia Warszawa". 90minut.pl. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- Maciej Kusina (11 April 2012). "Legia Warszawa 2-1 Arka Gdynia". 90minut.pl. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Official: Novo rejoins Huesca". Transfersblog.com. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Novo sent off for dedicating goal to late mother". Insidespanishfootball.com. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Kilmarnock keen on Novo". Insidespanishfootball.com. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "Morton sign Novo". Scottish Professional Football League. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- Mitchell, Jonathan (11 October 2013). "Novo is focused on Ton". Greenock Telegraph. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- "Morton 0 Falkirk 2". BBC Sport. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Mitchell, Jonathan (24 December 2013). "Breaking: Morton part company with Nacho Novo". Greenock Telegraph. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- "CONTRACT: Striker pens deal". Carlisle United FC. 11 February 2014.
- "RailHawks sign former UEFA Cup finalist Nacho Novo". Carolina RailHwaks. 11 September 2014. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015.
- RSSSF – Galicia autonomous team matches
- "Scotland open to Novo selection". BBC Sport. 24 October 2008.
- "Deal ends Novo's Scotland hopes". BBC Sport. 24 October 2008.
- "Nacho Novo". Soccerbase. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Novo, Nacho". FitbaStats. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Nacho Novo". Soccerway. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Includes Europe and Scottish Challenge Cup matches
- Sporting Gijón official profile (Spanish)
- Nacho Novo career statistics at Soccerbase
- BDFutbol profile
- Photo and stats at sporting-heroes.net
- Rangers F.C. season 2004–05 | 2005–06 | 2006–07 | 2007–08 | 2008–09 | 2009–10
- Sporting de Gijón season 2011–12
- SD Huesca season 2012–13
- Greenock Morton F.C. season 2013–14