Ricardo (footballer, born 1971)
Ricardo playing for Osasuna in 2008
|Full name||Ricardo López Felipe|
|Date of birth||30 December 1971|
|Place of birth||Madrid, Spain|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|1990–1998||Atlético Madrid B||146||(0)|
|1991–1992||→ Ávila (loan)||15||(0)|
|2003–2004||→ Racing Santander (loan)||34||(0)|
|2014–2015||Japan (goalkeeper coach)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Over the course of 15 seasons he played 278 La Liga games, starting his career at Atlético Madrid where he struggled to break through, then representing mostly Valladolid (four seasons) and Osasuna (eight). He also spent two years with Manchester United in the Premier League.
Atlético / Valladolid
Born in Madrid, Ricardo began his professional career at Atlético Madrid, working his way through the reserves and going on to represent the senior squad until 1998. Barred by José Francisco Molina, he only managed one first-team appearance which came during the 1996–97 season, in a 3–2 away win against Real Zaragoza on 2 June 1997.
Subsequently, Ricardo was transferred to Real Valladolid, also in La Liga. He spent four years at the club, becoming first-choice in the 2001–02 campaign (all 38 matches played) while also being selected as a member of the Spanish squad for the 2002 World Cup, though he did not play in the finals.
On 30 August 2002, Ricardo joined English club Manchester United in a three-year deal worth £1.5 million. Signed to provide cover for the injured Fabien Barthez and the inexperienced Roy Carroll, he found first-team opportunities rare, appearing in only four UEFA Champions League matches and just once in the Premier League. He marked his only appearance in the latter competition, against Blackburn Rovers on 19 April 2003, by conceding a penalty with his first touch after he fouled Andy Cole, but saved David Dunn's attempt in an eventual 3–1 win.
On 23 August 2003, Ricardo agreed to a loan transfer to Racing de Santander for 2003–04 season – the deal included an option to make transfer permanent the following June. On his return to Spain, Ricardo was quoted in the Spanish sports daily AS as saying:
"It's not a backward step. When I received the offer I was delighted to have the chance to return to Spain. I missed the Spanish league ... All I feel is gratitude toward Manchester. The club treated me very well. It was a lovely experience which was well worth it."
After helping Racing narrowly avoid top flight relegation, Ricardo returned to Manchester United and proclaimed his ambition to take the number one jersey from Barthez. However, he was never again picked for the first team following the arrival of Tim Howard and Carroll's improvement.
Ricardo was eventually released by the club on a free transfer, at the end of 2004–05. Subsequently, he signed for CA Osasuna on a two-year deal, becoming the Navarrese side's automatic first-choice and making over 100 league appearances in his first three seasons; he also helped them reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in his second year by making 12 appearances, but lost his job midway through 2008–09 to newly signed Roberto.
Ricardo regained his first-choice status in the following top division campaigns, rarely missing a game for Osasuna even though he was approaching his 40s. In 2011–12, however, still under manager José Luis Mendilibar, he was demoted to as low as third-choice.
Ricardo came out of retirement in January 2013 to rejoin Osasuna as an emergency signing, after backup goalkeeper Asier Riesgo suffered a foot injury. At 41, he was the second-oldest player in the history of the Spanish top flight, surpassed only by 48-year-old Harry Lowe for Real Sociedad in 1935.
Recommended by head coach Juan Carlos Garrido, Ricardo joined Belgian team Club Brugge K.V. in June 2013, as a goalkeeping coach. Near the end of October, a player licence was sought out for him as both the second and third goalkeeper were unavailable due to injury.
Ricardo played twice for Spain, his debut coming on 14 November 2001 in a friendly with Mexico. In a testimonial match for Ferenc Puskás the following summer, during a 1–1 draw against Hungary in Budapest, he received his second and final cap; in both cases, he came on as a substitute for Iker Casillas.
- Atlético Madrid
- Manchester United
- "El Atleti muestra su ambición" [Atleti show their ambition] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 3 June 1997. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- Ricardo signs for Man Utd; BBC Sport, 30 August 2002
- Scholes sinks Rovers; BBC Sport, 19 April 2003
- Manchester United goalkeepers between Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar; The Daily Telegraph
- United keeper Ricardo says move to Santander is no step down; Sports Illustrated, 24 August 2003
- Ricardo to aid Osasuna rearguard; UEFA.com, 16 June 2005
- So near but so far for Ricardo; UEFA.com, 4 May 2007
- "Roberto: "Ricardo y yo llevamos bien la rivalidad"" [Roberto: "Ricardo and I have a quite sane rivalry"] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Portero a los 40" [The 40-year-old goalkeeper] (in Spanish). El Sadar. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- Mendilibar sorprende con el descarte en la convocatoria de Ricardo (Mendilibar surprises by not calling Ricardo); Marca, 27 August 2011 (Spanish)
- Mendilibar vuelve a dejar fuera de la lista a Ricardo, Rubén y Raitala (Mendilibar leaves Ricardo, Rubén and Raitala out of squad again); Marca, 29 January 2012 (Spanish)
- Ricardo: "Llego con la ilusión de un chaval que sube del juvenil" (Ricardo: "I arrive with the hunger of a youth team player"); Marca, 3 January 2013 (Spanish)
- "Valerón es el cuarto jugador más veterano en jugar en Primera" [Valerón is the fourth most veteran to play in Primera] (in Spanish). La Provincia. 13 December 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- Ricardo López anuncia su retirada (Ricardo López announces retirement); Marca, 30 May 2013 (Spanish)
- Club Brugge vraagt licentie voor keeperstrainer (41) (Club Brugge requests licence for goalkeeper trainer (41)); Sporza, 18 October 2013 (Dutch)
- La selección aburre (National team is a bore); Mundo Deportivo, 15 November 2001 (Spanish)
- Poca luz para tanto estreno (Too little light for so many premieres); El País, 22 August 2002 (Spanish)