Alejandro Pozuelo

Alejandro Pozuelo Melero (born 20 September 1991) is a Spanish footballer who plays for Canadian club Toronto FC as an attacking midfielder.

Alejandro Pozuelo
Pozuelo 2020.jpg
Pozuelo with Toronto FC in 2020
Personal information
Full name Alejandro Pozuelo Melero[1]
Date of birth (1991-09-20) 20 September 1991 (age 30)[2]
Place of birth Seville, Spain[2]
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[2]
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Toronto FC
Number 10
Youth career
Betis
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010–2012 Betis B 44 (16)
2011–2013 Betis 29 (3)
2013–2014 Swansea City 22 (0)
2014–2015 Rayo Vallecano 11 (0)
2015–2019 Genk 106 (17)
2019– Toronto FC 66 (22)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 27 August 2021

Developed in the Betis system, he amassed La Liga totals of 40 matches and three goals for that club and Rayo Vallecano. In 2014 he signed with Genk from Swansea City, going on to spend several seasons in the Belgian First Division A with the former team. In 2019, he joined Major League Soccer side Toronto FC.

Club careerEdit

BetisEdit

Born in Seville, Andalusia, Pozuelo spent his youth career at his local club Real Betis. He made his senior debut with the B team, spending two seasons in Segunda División B.[3][4][5]

Pozuelo made his official debut with the main squad on 2 October 2011, playing the second half of a 0–1 La Liga home loss against Levante UD.[6] On 18 December he scored his first league goal for the Verdiblancos, as well as being sent off in the 2–0 win at Atlético Madrid.[7]

Pozuelo was promoted to Betis' first team for the 2012–13 campaign.[8] He appeared in a total of 13 games in all competitions, netting his only goal in a 5–3 away victory over Athletic Bilbao.[9]

In total, Pozuelo made 33 appearances during his tenure, scoring three goals across all competitions.[5]

Swansea CityEdit

 
Pozuelo with Swansea in 2013

On 2 July 2013, Pozuelo joined Swansea City on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee, signing alongside teammate José Cañas and becoming the seventh Spaniard in the squad.[10] He scored on his debut for the club, rounding off the scoring in a 4–0 home defeat of Malmö FF in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.[11] He netted his second in the same competition and also at the Liberty Stadium on 22 August 2013 in a 5–1 play-off round win against Romania's FC Petrolul Ploiești.[12]

During his spell in Wales, Pozuelo played 36 matches across all competitions, scoring twice and adding six assists.[5][13]

Rayo VallecanoEdit

Pozuelo returned to his country's top division on 24 July 2014, joining Rayo Vallecano for an undisclosed fee.[14] His first competitive appearance took place on 14 September, as he came on as a 61st-minute substitute in a 2–3 home loss to Elche CF.[15]

Pozuelo took part in 13 official games during his only season, registering one goal in the Copa del Rey against Valencia CF.[5][16]

GenkEdit

On 31 August 2015, Pozuelo moved abroad again, signing a two-year deal at Belgian First Division A team K.R.C. Genk.[17] He scored six goals in 2016–17, helping to a final eighth position in the regular season. He later became their captain,[18][19] and collected a total of 175 appearances across all competitions over five seasons, with 25 goals and 60 decisive passes.[5]

In February 2019, Toronto FC planned to trigger Pozuelo's €8 million release clause, however, a disagreement ensued with Genk questioning the validity of the release clause and refusing to allow the player to move. Following a lengthy transfer discussion, the two sides reached a compromise for the player to finish out the main portion of the season with the latter and join the former on 18 March.[20] When he left, his team were sitting in first place in the domestic league.[5][21]

Toronto FCEdit

 
Pozuelo playing for Toronto FC against LA Galaxy

On 4 March 2019, Pozuelo signed with Major League Soccer side Toronto FC as a designated player,[22] as a replacement for the recently departed Sebastian Giovinco and compatriot Víctor Vázquez in the creative midfield role,[23] also inheriting the number ten shirt which had previously been worn by the Italian.[24] He made his debut late in the same month in a 4–0 home win over New York City FC, assisting the opening goal of the match by teammate Jozy Altidore and later scoring two himself – one from the penalty spot Panenka-style and one chipped over the goalkeeper.[25] He finished as the team's top scorer in the regular season with twelve goals while also adding twelve assists,[26] and was named to the MLS Best XI.[27]

On 23 October 2019, Pozuelo scored twice in a 2–1 win over New York City FC in the playoffs' Eastern Conference semi-finals, including a 90th minute Panenka-style penalty kick which was his third of the campaign in that fashion.[28][29] On 10 November, he set up Altidore's injury-time goal in a 3–1 away defeat to Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS Cup Final.[30]

Pozuelo started every match during the 2020 campaign, scoring nine goals and recording ten assists (the joint most in the league) as he led his side to the second best record in the regular season. He was named to the Best XI for a second consecutive year,[31] and on 7 December was awarded the Landon Donovan MVP Award for the league's best player.[32]

Style of playEdit

A versatile and creative midfielder with good ball skills, technique and an eye for goal, Pozuelo usually plays in a playmaking role as an attacking midfielder, although he is also capable of playing as a central midfielder. Although naturally right-footed, he is capable of playing off of either foot, and is known for his vision and ability to provide assists for teammates. Toronto FC president Bill Manning described him as "a guy who can pull the strings, someone who can manage the game, make the special plays that make goals", while the club's manager Greg Vanney described him as "an attacking player first and foremost. We want to use him in that role. He’ll play close to [Altidore] and we’ll use him a lot in setting up our attacks. He's outstanding at understanding how to move around, manipulate numbers on the field, play between lines. [He has] the vision for the final pass and the ability to spring some of our guys as runners. But it’s also his ability to finish plays off in different ways. For us it’s the engine through that final phase of our attack.”[20][23][33][34][35][36][37][38][39]

Pozuelo has also been used as a false-nine on occasion.[40]

Career statisticsEdit

As of match played 27 August 2021[23][41][42]
Club Season League Playoffs Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Real Betis B 2010–11 Segunda División B 30 5 30 5
2011–12 14 11 14 11
Total 44 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 44 16
Real Betis 2011–12 La Liga 18 2 2 0 20 2
2012–13 11 1 2 0 13 1
Total 29 3 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 33 3
Swansea City 2013–14 Premier League 22 0 3 0 11[a] 2 36 2
Total 22 0 0 0 3 0 11 2 0 0 36 2
Rayo Vallecano 2014–15 La Liga 11 0 2 1 13 1
Total 11 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 13 1
Genk 2015–16 Belgian Pro League 21 1 12[b] 3 5 0 38 4
2016–17 29 6 4[b] 1 5 0 15[a] 1 53 8
2017–18 28 5 11[b] 0 5 1 44 6
2018–19 28 5 0 0 1 0 13[a] 2 42 7
Total 106 17 27 4 16 1 28 3 0 0 177 25
Toronto FC 2019 Major League Soccer 30 12 4[c] 2 2 0 36 14
2020 23[d] 9 1[c] 0 0 0 1[e] 0 25 9
2021 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 1
Total 66 22 5 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 74 24
Career total 278 59 32 6 27 2 39 5 1 0 377 71
  1. ^ a b c Appearance(s) in the UEFA Europa League
  2. ^ a b c Appearance(s) in the Belgian First Division A playoffs
  3. ^ a b Appearance(s) in the MLS Cup Playoffs
  4. ^ Includes three appearances in the MLS is Back Tournament group stage
  5. ^ Appearance in the MLS is Back Tournament knockout stage

HonoursEdit

ClubEdit

Toronto FC

IndividualEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Barclays Premier League squad numbers 2013/14". Premier League. 16 August 2013. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Alejandro Pozuelo". Eurosport. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. ^ Liaño, Jorge (4 September 2011). "Pozuelo lidera la victoria bética en el derbi chico (2–0)" [Pozuelo leads Betis win in mini derby (2–0)] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  4. ^ Torrecillas, Mercedes (28 March 2012). "Pozuelo paga cara una salida de tono en la caseta" [Pozuelo pays outburst with doghouse]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Alejandro Pozuelo". Toronto FC. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  6. ^ "That's Juanlu for you". ESPN Soccernet. 2 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  7. ^ Sanchidrián, Antonio (18 December 2011). "No hay paz para el Atlético" [No peace for Atlético]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  8. ^ López, J. M. (9 July 2012). "Álex Martínez y Pozuelo, con dorsal del primer equipo" [Álex Martínez and Pozuelo, with first team jersey]. Diario de Sevilla (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Betis fire five in eight-goal thriller". ESPN FC. 19 August 2012. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Swansea City sign Alejandro Pozuelo from Real Betis". BBC Sport. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  11. ^ Pope, Bruce (1 August 2013). "Swansea City 4–0 Malmo". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  12. ^ Pope, Bruce (22 August 2013). "Swansea 5–1 Petrolul Ploiesti". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Swansea buy Montero, sell Pozuelo". ESPN. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Pozuelo completes Rayo Vallecano switch". Swansea City A.F.C. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "El Elche sorprende al Rayo a domicilio" [Elche surprise Rayo away]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 15 September 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  16. ^ "El Rayo pone la emoción y el Valencia se lleva el premio" [Rayo bring the emotion and Valencia take the prize] (in Spanish). RTVE. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Pozuelo ficha por el Genk" [Pozuelo signs for Genk]. Marca (in Spanish). 31 August 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. ^ "KRC Genk official-kapitein Alejandro Pozuelo viert vandaag zijn 27ste verjaardag…" [KRC Genk official-captain Alejandro Pozuelo celebrates his 27th birthday today…] (in Dutch). Limburg Tube. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Pozuelo blijft!" [Pozuelo stays!] (in Dutch). K.R.C. Genk. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  20. ^ a b Davidson, Neil (4 March 2019). "Toronto FC newcomer Pozuelo to help fill void left by Vazquez, Giovinco". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  21. ^ "Pozuelo zou Genkse droom kunnen doen uiteenspatten: "Dit kan hen de titel kosten"" [Pozuelo could make Genk's dream burst: "This could cost them the title"] (in Dutch). Voetbal Primeur. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Toronto FC signs Alejandro Pozuelo as Designated Player". Toronto FC. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  23. ^ a b c "Alejandro Pozuelo". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  24. ^ Davidson, Neil (25 March 2019). "Meet Toronto FC's newest player, Alejandro Pozuelo". Toronto Star. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Alejandro Pozuelo tallies three points in masterful Toronto FC debut". Sportsnet. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Toronto FC edge Crew to earn first-round home match". National Post. 6 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  27. ^ a b "2019 MLS Best XI". Major League Soccer. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  28. ^ Butler, Dylan (23 October 2019). "Toronto FC upsets No. 1 NYCFC 2–1 in Eastern Conference semifinals". Pro Soccer USA. Archived from the original on 30 July 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Toronto FC edges New York City FC to advance to Eastern Conference final". Sportsnet. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  30. ^ Armstrong, Laura (10 November 2019). "Toronto FC's dream run ends with loss to Sounders in MLS Cup final". Toronto Star. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  31. ^ a b "2020 MLS Best XI presented by The Home Depot". Major League Soccer. 20 November 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Alejandro Pozuelo named 2020 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player". Major League Soccer. 7 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  33. ^ Shoalts, David (25 March 2019). "TFC hopes Pozuelo lives up to predecessor's recommendation". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  34. ^ Grossi, James (26 March 2019). "In Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC believe they have a younger Victor Vazquez". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  35. ^ Davidson, Neil (4 March 2019). "Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo set to join Toronto FC in mid-March". Toronto Star. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  36. ^ Davidson, Neil (30 March 2019). "Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo shines in his Toronto FC debut". Global News. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  37. ^ Buffery, Steve (29 March 2019). "Pozuelo brilliant in TFC debut as Reds hammer NYC 4–0 to remain undefeated". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  38. ^ Buffery, Steve (22 March 2019). "'The Maestro' Pozuelo touches down in Toronto". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  39. ^ "Vanney seeing improved work rate from Pozuelo on both ends". The Sports Network. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  40. ^ Buffery, Steve (30 October 2019). "Whether Pozuelo or Altidore start, TFC will be hard-pressed to score against Atlanta". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  41. ^ "Pozuelo » Club matches". WorldFootball.net. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  42. ^ "Pozuelo". Soccerway. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  43. ^ "Toronto FC season has been slow boil but team is getting hot at right time". Sportsnet. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  44. ^ "2019 MLS All-Star Roster". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  45. ^ "2019 RPB Player of the Year Vote". Red Patch Boys. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  46. ^ "RPB Toronto FC 'Man of the Year' Award". Red Patch Boys. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  47. ^ "Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo named MLS Player of the Month for September". Major League Soccer. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.

External linksEdit