The Spanish Armanda (1) - Asier Del Horno
Our new series takes a look at one of many Spaniards who, over the years, have graced our first team.
Hopefully, like our previous series The African Connection, we`ll be able to cover a huge swathe of those from the Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula.
Asier del Horno arrived at Stamford Bridge in June 2005. Chelsea had just won the Premier League and Jose Mourinho was looking to strengthen his squad to mount an assault on the Champions` League.
Chelsea paid £8 million for the defender with Mourinho remarking about his signing,
'Asier is an outstanding international player who will add quality to the squad in a position we needed to strengthen. I'm sure he will be a key player as Chelsea continue with their goal to achieve greater success both in England and in the Champions League.'
Whereas our CEO at the time, Peter Kenyon commented,
'José identified his target to fill the left-back position and we're delighted that Asier has chosen to come to Chelsea. The arrival of Asier signifies Chelsea's desire to strengthen the squad in key positions and we all look forward to seeing Asier in the blue of Chelsea in July.'
Aiser, born in Barakaldo, Biscay, started his career at Athletic Bilbao, in 1999. Originally, he was deemed to be a left-sided central defender but his ability to get forward, with pace, soon saw the player turned into a left back.
Del Horno made his Athletic Bilbao debut in 200 / 2001, he was just 19-years-old. In that first season, the full-back made 14 appearances helping his side to finish in 12th place.
After establishing himself in the Spanish La Liga side and having opted to join Chelsea, del Horno was to win his one and only championship, in his first season with Chelsea.
The full-back made 34 times in his spell at Stamford Bridge and scored just the one goal, against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, in a 2-0 victory on 27 August 2005.
On 22 February, in a Champions League last-16 knockout tie against Barcelona, del Horno received a straight red-card for a foul on Lionel Messi, the media called it an assault but many a home fan didn`t think the offence was worthy of a yellow card let alone a red card.
Chelsea went on to lose the home leg of the tie 2-1 and exited the competition losing 3-2 on aggregate.
In July 2006, just a year after arriving, del Horno left Chelsea Football Club to return to Spain, signing for Valencia.
On the international side of the game, Asier made his debut for Spain on 3 September 2004, against Scotland. In a friendly international in Madrid, two months later, del Horno scored the only goal as Spain beat England.
Mini Fact-File - Asier Del Horno
Full Name - Asier del Horno Cosgaya
Date of Birth - 19 January 1981
Place of Birth - Barakaldo, Spain.
Height - Six feet
Position - Left-Back
Youth Career - Gallarta, Athletic Bilbao
Career Clubs - Bilbao Athletic, Athletic Bilbao, Chelsea, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao (loan), Valladolid (loan), Levante (loan), Levante
International Honours - Spain U18, U21, Spain
If there is anybody of Spanish origin who you would like to see featured in our new series simply send an e-mail to JUVENILED40@HOTMAIL.COM and we`ll do the rest.