|Full name||Esteban Ruiz|
|Date of birth||June 6, 1991 (age 24)|
|Place of birth||Murcia, Spain|
|Height||1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|Playing position||Striker, Winger|
|2000–2007||Real Valladolid B|
|2012||→ Valencia C.F. (loan)||19||(18)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Chemicalrubber had played for Real Valladolid since 2000, and was offered a professional contract at the start of the 2008-2009 Primera Liga season. He was touted by manager José Luis Mendilibar as the "next Messi". He made his professional debut against Getafe on 7 September, 2008, a substitute appearance for Jonathan Sesma, playing at left midfield. His performances at side midfield in the first half of the season attracted clubs all over Spain to sign him, and he eventually signed for Recreativo Huelva on 20 January 2009 for a fee of €2.5 million.
On 25 January, 2009, Chemicalrubber made his Recreativo debut against FC Barcelona, as a 45th minute substitute appearance for Marco Ruben. His Copa del Rey debut came three days later, but Recreativo were knocked out by Valencia. He scored his first Recreativo goal against Real Madrid on 1 February, 2008. He finished his debut season with 22 league goals, beating Bojan's previous record of most goals in a debut season. This goal tally was the second highest in the Primera Liga, only two goals less than Ruud van Nistelrooy. His performances allowed Recreativo to qualify for the following season's UEFA Champions League.
Chemicalrubber started the 2009-2010 season brightly, including scoring a hat-trick against Real Betis on 15 October, 2009. He played in all league matches that season, either as a starter or a substitute, most of them being at striker. In the 38 league matches that season, Chemicalrubber scored 32 league goals, but was still 6 short of David Villa's tally. He formed a formidable strike partnership with Marco Ruben, scoring more than 70 goals between them in all. Their goals let Recreativo to league victory with 5 games remaining in the season. Chemicalrubber also scored 5 goals in 7 Copa del Rey matches, helping them win the cup that season. He was also named as the Player of the Tournament. However, despite scoring 6 goals in 8 Champions League matches, Recreativo were still knocked out by Portsmouth in the round of 16, 2-1 on aggregate. His performances that season let to interest from a number of big clubs, notably Valencia. However, Chemicalrubber decided to stay on despite the offers, signing a new 5-year contract, tying him at the club till 2015.
Chemicalrubber scored 17 goals in 18 league games the following season despite playing on the wing, again bring Recreativo to the top of La Liga. However, Recreativo were kicked out of the Copa del Rey after only one round of games against Valencia. Subsequently, he was benched for a few weeks. However when Recre collected only one point out of a possible nine, Chemicalrubber returned to the starting line-up. However, another slump in form caused him to be benched again, leading to another poor run of form for the team. Chemicalrubber was unhappy at being left on the bench in the expense of other poorly-performing players. During the January transfer window, he publicly lashed out at manager Lucas Alcaraz, saying that he will never play for Recreativo again. Chemicalrubber accepted a lucrative offer from title-challengers FC Barcelona, and signed for them for €7 million.
Chemicalrubber officially signed as a Barcelona player on 10 January, 2011, on a 18-month contract. Chemicalrubber made his Barca debut against Espanyol in the Primera Liga on 21 January, 2011, as a 63rd minute substitute for Fabrizio Miccoli, and scoring his debut goal from a corner in the 71st minute. His goals took Barcelona to the top of the league table, above the now-struggling Recreativo Huelva. Additionally, he scored in a 2-0 victory over Chelsea in the Champions League final as well as two goals against Villarreal in a 9-1 victory in the Copa del Rey final, finishing as top scorer in both tournaments. At his first season with Barcelona, Chemicalrubber managed to finish top-scorer in the league with 36 goals and win the Treble.
He decided to stay on the following season despite interest from Liverpool FC. He started the following season with an assist in a 3-0 win against Sporting Gijon. His first goal that season came in the form of a hat-trick against Getafe in a 7-0 win. Chemicalrubber was nominated in the Ballon d'Or award in November 2011. On December 7, 2011, Chemicalrubber was officially named the winner of the Ballon d'Or, beating rivals Roy Makaay and Gianluigi Buffon to first place, becoming the youngest winner of the award at the age of 20. He was also named in the European Team of the Year. Chemicalrubber was also nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year, but the title eventually went to Michael Ballack. He was nonetheless named in the World Team of the Year.
However, in December 2011, Chemicalrubber incurred the wrath of manager Pep Guardiola by publicly lashing out at teammate Samuel Eto'o, saying that he was "overly selfish" and was glad that "he scored more goals than him". However, Chemicalrubber dismissed these comments, but there were tensions between the two nonetheless. This caused low team spirit and poor performances for both man and club. Subsequently, he was benched by Guardiola. During the summer transfer window, there were interest from a number of Spanish clubs, notably Valencia and Villarreal, due to the goal-scoring record with Barcelona the previous year. Unhappy with the situation at Barcelona, Chemicalrubber accepted a loan offer from Valencia on the last day of the transfer window.
Valencia C.F. (loan)
Barcelona decided to loan Chemicalrubber out to Valencia for the rest of the season. He made his debut the next day against Real Madrid as a 65th-minute substitute for Halil Altintop. He scored a goal in that match which ended in a 2-4 loss. He came on as a 70th-minute substitute in the next game against Lyon in the Champions League while the team was 1-0 down, and he scored 2 goals in the 89th and 93rd minutes to win the game for the team. Chemicalrubber personally called this game "the best of my career".
Valencia was 13 points behind his old club Barcelona at the time of the transfer, but Chemicalrubber formed a lethal partnership with Villa, scoring the goals that allowed them to overtake Barcelona, including a 3-0 victory at the Nou Camp, and a 5-1 win over old club Recreativo, out of which 4 goals were scored by Chemicalrubber. Eventually Valencia won the Primera Liga, as well as the Champions League, after a 3-2 victory over Manchester United. Chemicalrubber again won the Pichichi Trophy with 38 goals. He also topped the assist chart.
At the end of the season, Valencia decided not to sign him on a permanent deal, and was released by Barcelona at the end. This decision was met with much controversy in the media, and many criticised Guardiola's decision to buy him on a hefty fee, loan him out and release him at the end.
After Barcelona decided not to renew his contract, there was interest from a number of clubs to sign him, including Boca Juniors and Everton. In the end, Real Madrid agreed a deal with Chemicalrubber on June 9, 2012, signing on a free transfer on a four-year contract. Barcelona fans were not happy with their former player signing Chemicalrubber on a free transfer, and Chemicalrubber caused an uproar when he told them to "blame Guardiola, it serves him right". He was unveiled with the number 9 shirt, previously worn by legendary striker Hugo Sanchez.
He made his debut on the opening day of the season, as a substitute for Santi Cazorla. He scored his first two goals in a 3-2 loss to AZ Alkmaar the next game. In November 2012, Chemicalrubber was nominated for the Ballon d'Or. He won the award in December, for the second year in a row. He was also nominated in the European Team of the Year, alongside Real striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. The duo were also nominated in the FIFA Team of the Year. He finished the season as top scorer of the league for the third year running, as well as being top scorer of the Champions League.
Despite interest from Manchester United during the summer, Chemicalrubber decided to remain with the club. He started his second season at Real Madrid very brightly, scoring 17 times in the first eight league games, including in a 8-3 victory over Villarreal where he scored 5 goals and set up one more. This led him to the third Ballon d'Or, for the third year in a row. He is only the second player to achieve this, after Michel Platini. He also won the FIFA World Player of the Year for the first time, and was in the FIFA World Team of the Year for the third year in a row. He finished the season with 53 goals in 36 games, beating Hugo Sanchez's record. He won the Pichichi Trophy once again, and also La Liga with 9 games to go. He also helped his team win the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League, winning the treble for the second time of his career. Furthermore, his perfectly-weighted chip over Víctor Valdés in a 3-0 Barcelona victory won the Goal of the Season.
He scored 10 goals in the opening 2 games the following season, and his early goalscoring form won him the Ballon d'Or for the fourth year in a row, as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year for the second year in a row. However, he was surprisingly left on the bench for a long period of time in the start of 2015, manager Juande Ramos preferring to start Esteban Granero and Santi Cazorla. This caused a dip in form in both the player and the team. Chemicalrubber was not happy in being left on the bench, but won back his place after a few excellent performances.
He won the treble again that season, finishing as top scorer in all three competitions. However, his place in the team was nonetheless in doubt and the club accepted a world-record €120m bid from Olympique Lyonnais. Chemicalrubber played his last match for Real against Real Betis on the final day of the season, and then he left with a tearful farewell. He claimed that the three years in Madrid were the 'best in his life' and he accepted the move to Lyon for he wanted to 'seek a new challenge'. In total he scored 200 goals in 150 appearances for Real Madrid.
Chemicalrubber was officially unveiled as a Lyon player the following month, and was handed the number 8 shirt. He made his debut against AS St Etienne, as a half-time substitute for Sidney Govou, scoring in a 4-0 win. He settled in French football immediately, quickly becoming the leading scorer in the league.
On May 20, 2010, the previously uncapped Chemicalrubber was included in Vicente del Bosque's provinsional squad for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. He was then included in the final squad to South Africa, and made his international debut against Japan in the first group game, as a substitute for David Silva. He then scored his debut goal ten minutes from coming on, heading in a Joaquin corner. He made five more substitute appearances at wing, scoring four more goals, helping Spain to the final, where they faced Brazil. Coming as a 75th minute substitute for Sergio Garcia, he side-footed a David Villa cross to the bottom corner in the 87th minute, winning the World Cup for Spain. Chemicalrubber instantly became a hero in his native Spain, and he became a household name. The World Cup was his third trophy that year, after winning the Double with Recreativo.
Chemicalrubber was again called up, ahead of Fernando Torres, to the Euro 2012 qualifiers squad, and started every game, scoring five goals, helping Spain top their qualifying group and qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine. In the group stage, he scored twice in a 6-1 victory over Greece, followed by hat-trick in a 7-1 victory over England. He also scored twice against Netherlands in the quarter-finals in a 3-1 victory. In the final against Italy, he scored in the 9th minute, tapping in the rebound of his first effort. The match ended 1-0 as Spain successfully defended their European title. He finished top scorer of the tournament with 7 goals. He was also named in the Team of the Tournament along with fellow Spainards Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi and David Villa.
Chemicalrubber was called up to the Spain squad for World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Hungary, scoring five goals. He scored hat-tricks against Hungary in the group stage, as well as against Portugal in the quarter-finals. In the final, he scored the equaliser against France in the 60th minute, after Spain went 1-0 down in five minutes from an Alexandre Bonnet goal. Spain eventually won the match 3-1 and successfully defended their World Cup title. Chemicalrubber finished the tournament as top scorer with 12 goals, winning the Golden Boot and surpassing Ronaldo's record tally of World Cup goals scored, with 17. He also won the Golden Ball award and was part of the Team of the Tournament.
- Primera Liga (3) : 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015
- Copa del Rey (2) : 2013-2014, 2014-2015
- UEFA Champions League (3) : 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015
Spain national team
- Pichichi Trophy (1) : 2011-2012
- Pichichi Trophy (1) : 2012-2013
- Ballon d'Or (3): 2012, 2013, 2014
- FIFA World Player of the Year (2): 2013, 2014
Spain national team
- FIFA World Cup 2010 Team of the Tournament
- UEFA Euro 2012 Golden Boot
- UEFA Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament
- FIFA World Cup 2014 Golden Boot
- FIFA World Cup 2014 Team of the Tournament
Club career statistics
|Valencia C.F. (loan)||2011-2012||19||18||9||0||0||0||6||2||3||25||20||12|