Contreras with Melbourne Victory in 2013
|Full name||Pablo Andrés Contreras Fica|
|Date of birth||11 September 1978|
|Place of birth||Santiago, Chile|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2001||→ Racing Club (loan)||8||(0)|
|2001–2002||→ Osasuna (loan)||31||(1)|
|2002–2003||→ Sporting CP (loan)||30||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Pablo Andrés Contreras Fica (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaβlo konˈtreɾas]; born 11 September 1978) is a Chilean retired footballer who last played for Melbourne Victory and the Chilean national football team as a centre back. He also can operate as a right back. Contreras began his career at Colo-Colo. He earned his first senior honours in 1997, winning the Chilean Primera División title. He also won an Olympic bronze medal with Chile in the Sydney Games. Contreras moved to Europe in 1999, signing with French side Monaco, where he won the Ligue 1 in his first season.
After his spell in France, he was loaned to Argentine Primera División club Racing Club in 2001, and the next season Contreras joined Spain's La Liga side Celta de Vigo in a €4.2 million transfer deal. He was immediately loaned to Osasuna and then to Sporting CP, playing in the UEFA Champions League, before returning after to Celta. He played over 100 matches with the Galician club until the 2006–07 season, after Celta's relegation to the Segunda División, after which he decided to leave the club. He signed a six-month contract with Braga in January 2008 before moving in June of that year to Superleague Greece side PAOK. In the middle of the 2011–12 season, Conteras left the club due to the Greek government debt-crisis and opted to return to Colo-Colo, coached by Ivo Basay at the time.
A Chilean international on 66 occasions, Contreras was part of squad that earned the bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney. In his country, Pablo is nicknamed Espartaco by Chilevisión relator Paulo Flores specifically, referred him as the Spartan hero of his national team during the matches, when Contreras was under the orders of Claudio Borghi in Chile.
Born in Santiago, Contreras made his way through Colo-Colo's youth ranks, alongside fellow stopper David Henríquez, as the club was then managed by former international – also a defender – Pedro Reyes. He made his professional debuts in 1997, helping the club to two first division titles and appearing in 37 first-team matches in the next two seasons.
Afterwards, Contreras made a move to Monaco of France. At the young age of 21, he was an important element in Monaco's league and Supercup victories of 2000. He also appeared for the club in both the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
In January 2001, however, it was discovered that Contreras was using a fake Italian passport in order to gain European Union status. A Paris court fined the player €30,000, and he received a two-year ban.
Contreras did not join Celta immediately, being loaned to fellow La Liga side Osasuna. Immediately cast into the Navarrese's starting XI, he made 31 league appearances, but the club could only finish 17th, narrowly avoiding relegation.
For the following season, another loan ensued, now to Portugal with giants Sporting CP, where he once again started throughout the season, with the Lions winning no silverware at all; they were also eliminated in the Champions League qualifying rounds by Internazionale.
In the summer of 2003, 25-year old Contreras finally moved to Celta. He appeared rarely in his debut season, as the Galicians were participating for the first time ever in the Champions League. He appeared in seven games as Celta eventually lost in the round of 16 to Arsenal, but also saw his team relegate to Segunda División, after a 19th-place finish in the league. Contreras became first-choice for Celta in the following seasons but, after another relegation, in 2006–07, was deemed surplus to requirements by the coaching staff (Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov was one of four during the unsuccessful campaign in division two), and left the club in January 2008, after being released from his contract.
In June 2008, Contreras agreed to a two-year link with Greek club PAOK, citing his trust in former Celta teammate Zisis Vryzas – and the club's chairman Theodoros Zagorakis – as the main factors for his move, refusing also the opportunity of return to Colo-Colo, because the club offered him a very high salary. He made his official debut for the team on 30 August in a 2–0 away win over OFI Crete and his first goal came in an important 1–0 home victory in the derby against Aris. On 24 December, was reported that Contreras would join Italian Serie A club Reggina during New Year's Eve, though the move never materialized. On 21 February, he scored his second official goal for PAOK against another traditional derby of the club, Iraklis, that PAOK won thanks to him. He was promoted to team captain in his second season, alongside Sérgio Conceição, who retired shortly after.
In late January 2011, shortly before a match against Aris, he was informed of the loss of his father, but opted to leave for his country only after the game. On 2 January 2012, Contreras mutually terminated his contract with PAOK.
Return to Colo-Colo
On 7 January 2012, it was confirmed that Contreras was returning to Chilean club Colo-Colo, after several rumours of a possible move to Argentina's Colón and also other European and American clubs. On January 19, he made his unofficial debut in an exhibition match against Unión Temuco, where he played very well despite a 2–1 defeat. After the pre-season in Temuco, Contreras played well for his team, now in the Noche Alba against Peruvian side Alianza Lima at the Estadio Monumental. On January 29, Contreras played his first competitive match of the season against Deportes Iquique in a 0–0 home draw, thus being his first competitive match for Colo-Colo since his return. He instantly became an irreplaceable player for coach Ivo Basay, helping the team win important games during his tenure, for example against Cobreloa at Calama and O'Higgins in the capital, thus becoming a mainstay centre back for Basay's team. On April 14, his assist to Rodrigo Millar for the first goal in the derby against Universidad Católica, salvaged a 1–1 draw at the Estadio Monumental for the first match under new head coach Luis Pérez after Basay's departure, who abandoned the club after a 4–2 away loss against Unión Española. After Esteban Paredes moved to Atlante, Pablo became Colo-Colo's captain due to his experience and tenure.
On 16 August 2012, Contreras returned to Greece, signing a contract with Olympiacos. On 27 August, he made his debut with in an away win against Veria. On 27 January, he scored the only goal in a 1–0 away win against Panthrakikos.
On 22 September 2013, it was confirmed Contreras signed for Australian club Melbourne Victory. Contreras made his debut in Round 1 against Melbourne Heart, playing the full 90 minutes. He was, however, suspended after the match for two games due to an off-the-ball incident where he blocked an opponent in the derby match.
In January 2014, Contreras announced on Chilean radio that he would retire at the end of the season. Strong performances near the end of the season, however, prompted speculation that Contreras might play on with the Victory for the 2014–15 season, albeit on reduced wages. Shortly after Melbourne Victory's semi-loss against eventual A-League champions Brisbane Roar, however, he confirmed his retirement.
In 2000, Contreras participated at the 2000 Summer Olympics, where Chile won the bronze medal, and the player was named one of the best defenders in the tournament. He also featured prominently in qualification for the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, with Chile failing to make the final stages on both occasions.
One of the darkest moments in Contreras' career happened during the 2007 Copa América. Alongside Reinaldo Navia, Jorge Valdivia, Rodrigo Tello, Jorge Vargas and Álvaro Ormeño, he was involved in an incident at the team's hotel involving the staff. The employees claimed the team players were celebrating drunk, throwing food, and destroying hotel property after qualifying for the second round of the tournament – Chile lost the next game 6–1 against Brazil.
Afterwards, national coach Nelson Acosta resigned and all the players involved were suspended for 20 games by the ANFP. After serving ten games, Contreras, as well as the other players involved – with the exception of Ormeño – signed a letter admitting their involvement and apologizing for the incident, and the punishment was lifted. After being reinstated, Contreras became an important member under Marcelo Bielsa, as Chile qualified for the World Cup in South Africa, the nation's first in 12 years. Contreras became the second-captain, after goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, when the team was managed by Claudio Borghi.
|30 April 2003||Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago, Chile||Costa Rica||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|15 November 2011||Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago, Chile||Paraguay||1–0||2–0||2014 World Cup qualification|
- Chilean Primera División: 1997 Clausura, 1998
- Sporting CP
- MVP 2008–09
- "French Court bans South American footballers". BBC News. 4 April 2001.
- "Celta land banned Contreras". Uefa.com. 24 August 2012.
- "Braga seal deal for Contreras". Uefa.com. 16 January 2008.
- PAOK con Pablo Contreras presente vence a Ergotelis (PAOK defeats Ergotelis with Pablo Contreras in lineup); Peloteros Chilenos en el Mundo, 20 December 2009 (in Spanish)
- Pablo Contreras se debate entre Colo Colo y oferta desde Grecia (in Spanish)
- Prensa italiana asegura que Pablo Contreras será nuevo jugador de Reggina (in Spanish)
- Πάμπλο Κοντρέρας : Η συνέντευξη; PAOK 24, 18 January 2011 (in Greek)
- Αναχωρεί για Χιλή ο Κοντρέρας, χάνει τον Ολυμπιακό; Contra, 30 January 2011 (in Greek)
- Συμφωνία με Κοντρέρας για τη λύση (in Greek). PAOK 24. 2 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Pablo Contreras ya arribo a Chile para comenzar trabajos con Colo-Colo". Emol.com. Emol. 7 January 2012.
- "Unión Temuco sorprendió a Colo Colo y lo eliminó de cuadrangular amistoso". La Tercera.cl. 19 January 2012.
- "Fútbol: Colo Colo se rehabilita con victoria 2-0 sobre Alianza Lima en la 'Noche Alba 2012'". Terra Chile. 24 January 2012.
- "Colo Colo empató con Iquique en opaco partido". Colo-colo.cl. 29 January 2012.
- "Victory gets its marquee man". Football Federation Australia. 22 September 2013. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013.