Fernando Morientes Sanchez was born in Cillaros in the region of Caceres in Spain 5th of April 1976. Morientes started to make a name for himself at Albacete in 1993. He played two seasons there and scored 5 goals in 22 matches. His overall performance interested bigger teams and Real Zaragoza bought him. Morientes scored 13 goals in 29 league games in his first season at Zaragoza. The following season, he scored 15 in 37 league games.
Morientes was a Real Madrid player in the 1997/98 season. He won the Champions League and started his remarkable run in Europe’s biggest club competition. He won the Champions league also in 2000 and 2002 and was a finalist with Monaco in 2004, after scoring no less than 9 goals in 12 games en route to the final vs. Porto. He scored in total 19 goals in 60 Champions league games for Los Merengues. Morientes scored 12 league goals in 33 games for Real in his first season. His league goal record for Real is as follows: 19-33 (98-99), 12-29 (99-00), 6-22 (00-01), 18-33 (01-02), 5-18 (02-03), 0-1 (03-04) and 0-12 (only sub in 04-05). A total of 72 goals in 179 games.
Morientes made his international debut on 25th of March 1998 vs. Sweden. He made a dream start, scoring two goals in the first five minutes in a 4-0 victory. It wasn’t the first time he had scored on his debut, he also did for Albacete, Zaragoza, Real Madrid and Spain’s u-18 and u-20 teams. Morientes played two games for Spain in the 1998 World cup, scoring two goals in two games, both in the group phase vs. Bulgaria. The Spanish people were shocked Morientes was omitted from Spain’s team in Euro 2000. Morientes was Spain’s best striker in the 2002 World Cup. He scored two goals vs. Paraguay in the group stages and one vs. Ireland when they met in the last sixteen. Spain got eliminated in a penalty shoot-out in the quarter finals vs. the hosts, South-Korea. Morientes finished with 3 goals in 5 games. He was also in Spain’s squad in Euro 2004, scoring 1 goal against eventual winners Greece. Morientes has scored a total of 22 goals in 37 internationals.
Ronaldo’s arrival in the 2002/2003 season was the beginning of the end for Morientes. He started only two games and came on as sub 16 times. He was loaned out to Monaco the following season, a move Real later regretted as Morientes and Monaco eliminated Real in the Champions league. Morientes scored in both legs of the quarter finals against his employers. Morientes has made a name for himself as a great goalscorer with fantastic aerial ability. Benítez wants the best and who better than the player who was voted Europe’s best forward by UEFA last season.
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