Saturday, March 23, 2013

23 March 1968 - Hierro Is Here

On 23 March 1968, former Real Madrid captain and Champions League Best Defender Fernando Hierro was born in Vélez-Málaga.

He joined Real Madrid in 1989 after two seasons with Valladolid and won the league in his first season there. Despite playing at center back and as a defensive midfielder, he was a prolific scorer, with a total of fifteen goals in his first two seasons. Then, in his third season, he recorded a career-high 26 goals across all competitions.

Additional league titles followed in 1995 and 1997. Then, in 1998, he won the first of three Champions League trophies as Real Madrid beat Juventus 1-0 in the final, one of eight clean sheets they kept throughout the tournament. For his part, Hierro was named the tournament's Best Defender--the first time that honor was awarded.

Hierro became the team captain in 2001 and remained with Real Madrid until 2003, winning another two league titles (2001, 2003) and two more Champions League trophies (2000, 2002). His total of 601 appearances place him fifth on Real Madrid's all-time list.

After leaving Madrid, he played one season each for Qatari team Al Rayyan and English team Bolton before retiring in 2005.

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