Oleguer training with Ajax in 2011
|Full name||Oleguer Presas Renom|
|Date of birth||2 February 1980|
|Place of birth||Sabadell, Spain|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Oleguer signed for Ajax in 2008, where he remained until his retirement. He was also known for his politics: he supported left-wing causes and Catalan nationalism, which caused some controversy and led to one sponsor dropping him.
Born in Sabadell, Barcelona, Catalonia, Oleguer started his career at modest CD Lepanto, a club from his hometown. In 1997, he joined neighbours UDA Gramenet from CE Sant Gabriel, making his senior debut two years later whilst at the service of the former.
At 21, Oleguer signed with FC Barcelona, spending his debut season with the B-side. He would make his first-team debut during a 2002–03 UEFA Champions League match against Galatasaray SK, a 3–1 home triumph where he came on as a late substitute for Frank de Boer. During that season he played for both teams, on occasion being a last-minute addition to the main squad.
On 17 May 2006, Barça beat Arsenal to win the Champions League for the second time in its history. Oleguer was in the starting eleven, but on the day he appeared tense and slow, struggling to neutralize Freddie Ljungberg's runs down the wing and more importantly not being able to stop Sol Campbell scoring the opening goal. In the 71st minute he was substituted in favour of Juliano Belletti by manager Frank Rijkaard, and the Brazilian went on to score the decider with less than ten minutes to go.
Oleguer signed a contract extension in July 2006, keeping him with the club until 2010. He had the honor of captaining the team for the first time in their initial pre-season game of the 2006–07 campaign, in recognition of his work over the last few seasons. With the arrival of Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram, he found himself coming on from the bench in the first few matches of the season; on 29 November 2006, he was awarded the President Companys award for his efforts in promoting the official recognition of Catalan sports at an international level.
2007–08 started positively in sporting terms, as Oleguer became a fixture in Rijkaard's starting eleven. However, he was accused of assaulting a policeman during an incident in a bar in Sabadell which occurred in 2003. He also spoke out against the banning of the Catalan national team by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, when the former was scheduled to play a friendly against the United States in conjunction with FIFA-recognized international matches in that same week.
On 9 February 2008, in a La Liga match against Sevilla FC, Oleguer broke a bone in his left hand. He was operated on but he spent six weeks on the sidelines, and he took almost no part in the team's campaign overall; Barcelona finished third, and his only competitive goal took place on 24 April 2005 when he opened a 4–0 league success at Málaga CF.
On 29 July 2008, Oleguer signed a three-season deal with AFC Ajax, which paid €3 million plus 2.25 million in variables, including an option for another year. Manager Marco van Basten said: "I am happy that we have acquired Oleguer. His qualities fit exactly with what Ajax needs. We are all convinced of that. He has the right age, experience at a high level and is a real defender".
On 18 October 2008, Oleguer scored a rare goal, the game's only in a home win over FC Groningen. He had an extended run during his first season due to injuries to teammates, but played mostly as backup to Belgian youngsters Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
Personal life and political writings
Oleguer majored in economics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. On 30 March 2006 he published his first book with recollections on his youth, early career and the league triumph of 2004–05 (and the subsequent street parade through the Avinguda Diagonal in Barcelona). The book, called Camí d'Itaca (The Road to Ithaca), dealt with such varied subjects as childhood anorexia, the antifascist struggle and the previous Spanish government's involvement in both Gulf Wars.
Though injured just before the end of the 2005–06 season in a Champions League match and forced to miss the league-winning match against Celta de Vigo, Oleguer was able to return to the pitch to play in the next match at the Camp Nou when the trophy was presented to the team. True to form, he celebrated wrapped in the colors of the senyera estelada, the Catalan independence flag.
Oleguer had sympathies with left wing and Catalan nationalist causes, and was asked by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation to play a charity match in Chiapas, Mexico, during the summer of 2005. Later that year, he was invited to take part in a meeting of shortlisted players for the Spanish national squad, an invitation that he accepted only to tell manager Luis Aragonés he did not feel motivated enough to be selected.
On 7 February 2007, in an article written for Basque language newspaper Berria, Oleguer questioned the validity and independence of legal and judicial processes in the Spanish state, using the example of convicted ETA member Iñaki de Juana and his hunger strike to question those processes. His decision to write the article brought veiled criticism at Barcelona, both from coach Rijkaard and President Joan Laporta, as well as earning him disrespectful remarks from fellow professional Salva Ballesta.
As a direct result of the article, Oleguer lost his boot sponsorship with sports firm Kelme, and he subsequently signed for Diadora. He also became the subject of a strong public backlash among some elements in Spain, and was regularly heckled and booed in some of the country's football stadiums due to the article and his pro-Catalan independence stance. When asked about whether he felt that he should not have written the piece, he replied, "The consequences I suffer are nothing compared to what many people go through. What did sadden me, though, was that most people didn't actually read the piece. If people engaged in dialogue with intelligence and still disagreed, then fine, but they didn't".
In 2010, Oleguer appeared at a protest in Amsterdam against the Dutch ban on squatting. His club Ajax had no problems with his presence, because he only participated in the peaceful sections of the protest.
- La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06
- Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006
- UEFA Champions League: 2005–06
- UEFA Super Cup: Runner-up 2006
- FIFA Club World Cup: Runner-up 2006
- "El cercano adiós del futbolista antisistema" [The near goodbye of the antisystem footballer]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 22 July 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer Presas tancarà la llista de la CUP per Barcelona" [Oleguer Presas will close CUP's list for Barcelona]. Ara (in Catalan). 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer Presas da el salto a la política" [Oleguer Presas makes transition into politics]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 15 November 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Qué fue de… Oleguer Presas: el debate soberanista catalán saltó al terreno de juego" [What happened to… Oleguer Presas: the Catalan sovereignty debate took the pitch]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 24 April 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Pleno del Barça en Europa" [Barça go six for six in Europe]. El País (in Spanish). 14 November 2002. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "El Barça cuenta con Oleguer como recambio de Andersson" [Barça count on Oleguer as Andersson replacement]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 30 December 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Barça comeback denies Arsenal". UEFA. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Barça reward reliable Oleguer". UEFA. 24 July 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "Oleguer apuesta por "la paciencia y la ambición de ganar"" [Oleguer bets on "patience and ambition to win"]. Marca (in Spanish). 19 July 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer recibe un premio por su defensa de las selecciones catalanas" [Oleguer receives award for his defense of Catalan national teams]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 29 November 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Piden dos años de cárcel para el ex futbolista del Barça Oleguer Presas por herir a un policía" [Two years requested for ex-Barça player Oleguer Presas for injuring a police officer]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 26 September 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- "Carod no se rinde y propone que el Cataluña-EEUU se dispute en Perpiñán" [Carod does not surrender and proposes that Catalonia-US take place in Perpignan] (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer injury leaves Barça short". UEFA. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "Oleguer reconoce que se planteará dejar el Barça si no juega más" [Oleguer admits he will think about leaving Barça if he does not play more]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 6 February 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "El Barça resuelve cómodamente en La Rosaleda" [Barça get job done at La Rosaleda easily]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 24 April 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer to join Ajax from Barcelona". UEFA. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "Ajax-coach Van Basten: 'Oleguer is een echte verdediger'" [Ajax-coach Van Basten: 'Oleguer is a real defender']. Sport Week (in Dutch). 27 July 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- "Ajax wint met 1–0 van koploper Groningen" [Ajax win 1–0 against leader Groningen]. Het Parool (in Dutch). 18 October 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Alderweireld, een geweldig talent" [Alderweireld, a great talent] (in Dutch). Voetbalzone. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer, el tipo más rentable del Ajax" [Oleguer, Ajax's most profittable guy]. Marca (in Spanish). 14 September 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Ajax werkt niet mee aan vertrek Oleguer naar ploeg van Ten Cate" [Ajax are not cooperating with Oleguer's leaving for a Ten Cate team] (in Dutch). Voetbalzone. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Oleguer presenta su primer libro en un centro 'okupa'" [Oleguer presents his first book in 'squatting' center]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 30 March 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "El subcomandant Marcos convoca a l'Oleguer!" [Subcomandante Marcos selects Oleguer!] (in Spanish). Racó Català. 2 August 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Oleguer Presas confirma que renunció a la selección española" [Oleguer Presas confirms he renounced the Spanish national team]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 19 November 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "El futbolista del Barça Oleguer cuestiona la independencia judicial por el 'caso De Juana'" [Barça footballer Oleguer questions judicial independence in 'De Juana affair']. El Mundo (in Spanish). 7 February 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Salva Ballesta dice que respeta más a una caca de perro que a Oleguer Presas" [Salva Ballesta says he has more respect for dog crap than Oleguer Presas] (in Spanish). Pandeblog. 14 February 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- ""Me gustaría conocer a Tejero"" ["I would like to meet Tejero"]. El País (in Spanish). 14 March 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "La primera represàlia" [The first retaliation]. Avui (in Catalan). 9 February 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
- "Diadora ficha al barcelonista Oleguer Presas" [Diadora signs Barcelona man Oleguer Presas] (in Spanish). CMD. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Thuram ve xenofobia en los abucheos a Oleguer" [Thuram sees xenophobia in boos to Oleguer]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 20 April 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Ajacied Oleguer duikt op in krakers-protest" [Ajax's Oleguer shows up in squatting protest]. Het Parool (in Dutch). 4 October 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Oleguer". Soccerway. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Oleguer Presas at ESPN FC
- Includes UEFA Super Cup