Zoltán Gera (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈzoltaːn ˈɡɛrɒ]; born 22 April 1979) is a former Hungarian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He played for Fulham, Pécsi Mecsek and Harkány SE, as well as enjoying two spells at Ferencváros and West Bromwich Albion.
Gera playing for Hungary at Euro 2016
|Full name||Zoltán Gera|
|Date of birth||22 April 1979|
|Place of birth||Pécs, Hungary|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2004–2008||West Bromwich Albion||135||(21)|
|2011–2014||West Bromwich Albion||30||(4)|
|2018–2019||Hungary (assistant manager)|
|2018–2019||Ferencváros (assistant manager)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Gera is known for his overhead-kick goals and his cartwheel to back-flip celebration, which he demonstrated in Fulham's Europa League quarter-final win against Juventus in 2010. He was named Hungarian Player of the Year in 2002, 2004 and 2005. For his efforts in the 2009–10 season and his goals in the Europa League, Gera was named Fulham's Player of the Season.
Gera made his international debut for Hungary in 2002 against Switzerland, with his nation losing 2–1. In 2009, Gera briefly retired from the national team following a dispute with then-manager Erwin Koeman. When Koeman was replaced by Sándor Egervári in 2010, Gera returned to Hungary's international squad which he later represented at the 2016 UEFA European Championship. He announced his final retirement from football on 28 June 2018.
Gera was signed by Pécsi Mecsek in 1997. During his three-year spell with the club, he made 87 appearances and scored 16 times. On 1 July 2000, Gera moved to major Hungarian side Ferencváros on a free transfer.
During his four-year spell at Ferencváros, Gera played 115 league games and scored 32 goals. He won the Hungarian league title in 2001 and 2004, the Magyar Kupa in 2003 and 2004, and the Szuperkupa in 2004. He also received his first international call up while with the club.
West Bromwich AlbionEdit
On 30 July 2004, Gera moved to English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion for a fee of GB£1.5 million. He signed a three-year contract with Albion, with a further one-year option in the club's favour. He made his Premier League debut on 14 August 2004, replacing Andy Johnson in the 87th minute against Blackburn Rovers. The match ended in a 1–1 draw. Gera's first appearance in the starting lineup came on 25 August 2004 against Tottenham Hotspur. He scored his first league goal early in the third minute; that match also ended in a 1–1 draw.
The club struggled against relegation for most of the season, and Gera was portrayed by the media as an integral part of this struggle. Towards the end of the season, however, Gera's influence grew. He produced stirring performances, including a match-winning header against Everton on 3 April 2005. The club's form quickly improved, securing its continued Premier League status on the last day of the season. Gera scored six league goals in this his first season and was the only player at the club to appear in all 38 league matches. He was nominated in the end-of-season "dream team" by soccernet.com. During the 2005–06 season, Gera struggled with injuries and underwent a hernia operation in November 2005. At the end of the season, West Brom were relegated and Gera committed himself to the club. His performance in the club's 4–2 win against Charlton Athletic on 15 December 2007, scoring twice and setting up a third goal, earned him a place in the Championship Team of the Week. Gera helped Albion gain promotion in the 2007–08 season; on 9 June 2008, he decided to turn down a new contract offer from West Brom, choosing instead to join Fulham in the Premier League on a free transfer. The three-year contract was completed on 11 June 2008.
Gera made his Fulham debut in a 2–1 defeat to Hull City on the opening day of the 2008–09 Premier League. Minutes after coming off the bench, he scored Fulham's second goal in a 2–0 win against league leaders Manchester United. During the 2009–10 Premier League season, Gera scored his first goal of the season against West Ham United in a 2–2 draw. On 28 December 2009, Gera scored his second goal of the season at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, when he hooked the ball over Petr Čech from 12 yards after four minutes. Despite this early goal, Fulham lost the game 2–1. Gera went on to score two goals in a man of the match performance against Juventus, Fulham winning 4–1. He scored the goal which sent Fulham to its first ever European final in a 2–1 victory against Hamburger SV; while Fulham lost the final 2–1, Gera did provide the sole goal's assist. Having scored ten goals in all competitions, Gera was voted the fans' player of the season for Fulham's 2009–10 season.
Gera started the 2010–11 season by scoring a hat-trick after coming off the bench in the 66th minute against Werder Bremen in a 5–1 friendly win, and a brace against Port Vale in the second round of the League Cup. His first league goal of the new campaign, a 30-yard volley which deflected off the post and then off the goalkeeper, came at The Hawthorns against former club West Brom. Despite this, Fulham manager Mark Hughes did not regularly start Gera, despite him being a fan favourite, instead using him sparingly as a substitute. Gera was sent off in Fulham's final match of the 2010–11 Premier League season on 22 May 2011, a 2–2 draw against Arsenal. This was the first red card Fulham had received all season and it nearly cost them a place in the Europa League through UEFA's Fair Play League, but Fulham finished ahead of closest challengers Blackpool by 0.01 points to win the qualifying berth.
On 16 June 2011, Fulham announced that Gera was available on a free transfer as one of three players that were being released by the club Subsequently, Gera looked to rejoin his former club West Brom.
Return to West Bromwich AlbionEdit
On 2 August 2011, West Brom boss Roy Hodgson announced that the club had signed Gera on a two-year deal. On 5 November 2011, he made his second debut for West Brom as a starter in a 3–0 loss to Arsenal. After three first team appearances, Gera was injured in a 3–1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur on 26 November 2011; he was unavailable for the remainder of the season. After nine months out due to his injury, Gera returned to the starting lineup against Liverpool on the first day of the 2012–13 Premier League season, opening the scoring with a volley from 25 yards, leading to a 3–0 win. On 8 January 2013, it was confirmed Gera would be out injured for the rest of the season after he injured a knee in a game against Queens Park Rangers. On 1 July 2013, Gera's contract with West Brom expired, making him a free agent for a short period until he signed a new contract for another year with the club. Gera left West Brom in 2014 after his contract expired.
- As of 2 June 2018
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Pécsi MFC||1997–98||Bajnokság II||25||2||0||0||—||—||—||25||2|
|West Bromwich Albion||2004–05||Premier League||38||6||3||0||1||0||—||—||42||6|
|West Bromwich Albion||2011–12||Premier League||3||0||0||0||0||0||—||—||3||0|
|West Brom Total||169||25||14||3||5||1||—||3||0||191||29|
Gera earned his first international cap for the Hungary national team on 13 February 2002 in a 2–1 defeat to Switzerland. Up to 2009, he had played 63 games for Hungary, scoring 18 goals. Before the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification match on 14 October 2009 against Denmark, Gera was excluded from the match squad by coach Erwin Koeman after he arrived late at a team meeting. Following the incident, Gera announced his retirement from the national team. On 23 July 2010, the newly appointed board of the Hungarian Football Federation terminated the contract of Koeman and appointed Sándor Egervári as the new national team coach. After a personal discussion with Egervári, Gera returned to the national team on 11 August 2010 against England.
On 29 March 2011, Gera scored twice against the Netherlands in the Amsterdam Arena in front of 51,700 spectators in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match. He scored the first goal in the 50th minute and his second goal in the 75th minute. Gera's goals, however, were not enough as Hungary lost 5–3. On 7 September 2012, Hungary started their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5–0 win in Andorra; Gera scored the second goal. On 16 October 2012, Hungary beat Turkey at home 3–1. Gera scored the third Hungarian goal.
On 31 May 2016, Gera was selected as vice-captain for the Hungarian squad for Euro 2016 in France. On 14 June, Gera played in the first group match in a 2–0 victory over Austria at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux in Hungary's first match of the tournament. Four days later, on 18 June, he played in a 1–1 draw against Iceland at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille. On 22 June, he played in the last group match in a 3–3 draw against Portugal at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon, and scored the first goal with a terrific half-volley from 25 yards out with his weaker foot. In so doing, he became the second-oldest goalscorer and the oldest goalscorer from open play at a European Championship, aged 37 years and 62 days; Austria's Ivica Vastić is the oldest scorer, at 38 years and 257 days, when he converted a penalty at Euro 2008. Gera's goal was later voted the "Goal of the Tournament" in a UEFA online fan poll.
- As of 1 April 2017.
|1||16 October 2002||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||San Marino||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
|2||16 October 2002||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||San Marino||2–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
|3||16 October 2002||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||San Marino||3–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
|4||30 April 2003||Puskás Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Luxembourg||1–0||5–1||Friendly|
|5||7 June 2003||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Latvia||3–1||3–1||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
|6||8 September 2004||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Iceland||1–1||3–2||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|7||17 November 2004||Ta' Qali Stadium, Ta' Qali, Malta||Malta||0–1||0–2||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|8||4 June 2005||Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík, Iceland||Iceland||1–1||2–3||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|9||4 June 2005||Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík, Iceland||Iceland||1–2||2–3||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|10||16 August 2006||UPC-Arena, Graz, Austria||Austria||0–1||1–2||Friendly|
|11||2 September 2006||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Norway||1–4||1–4||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|12||6 September 2006||Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bosnia and Herzegovina||0–2||1–3||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|13||28 March 2007||Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Moldova||2–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|14||22 August 2007||Puskás Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Italy||2–1||3–1||Friendly|
|15||8 September 2007||Stadion Sóstói, Székesfehérvár, Hungary||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1–0||1–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|16||6 February 2008||Tsirion Stadium, Limassol, Cyprus||Slovakia||0–1||1–1||Friendly|
|17||19 November 2008||Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland||0–2||0–2||Friendly|
|18||1 April 2009||Puskás Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Malta||2–0||3–0||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|19||8 October 2010||Puskás Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||San Marino||8–0||8–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|20||29 March 2011||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Netherlands||1–2||5–3||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|21||29 March 2011||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Netherlands||3–3||5–3||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|22||7 September 2012||Estadi Comunal, Andorra la Vella, Andorra||Andorra||0–2||0–5||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|23||16 October 2012||Puskás Ferenc Stadion, Budapest, Hungary||Turkey||3–1||3–1||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|24||14 November 2014||Groupama Arena, Budapest, Hungary||Finland||1–0||1–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|25||22 June 2016||Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon, France||Portugal||1–0||3–3||UEFA Euro 2016|
|26||13 November 2016||Groupama Aréna, Budapest, Hungary||Andorra||1–0||4–0||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
Gera married on 19 June 2004; his wife gave birth to a boy named Szabolcs on 15 March 2008. Following the birth, he was given leave by his national team manager Péter Várhidi to miss Hungary's friendly against Slovenia to spend time with his family. In 2005, Gera featured in a television advertisement for Pepsi representing the 2006 World Cup, alongside Thierry Henry, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Nicklas Bendtner, Neil Ruddock and Raúl.
Gera is a member of the Faith Church and was featured in billboard advertisements promoting the organization. He has often defended the Church from its critics and promoted it several times in the media. He credits the Church with saving his life, helping him change his destructive lifestyle which included crime and drug abuse.
- Nemzeti Bajnokság I: 2000–01, 2003–04, 2015–16
- Magyar Kupa: 2002–03, 2003–04, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
- Szuperkupa: 2004, 2015, 2016
West Bromwich Albion
- "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Válogatott: Gera Zoltán lesz az U21-es szövetségi edző – hivatalos". Nemzeti Sport. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
- Attila, Ághassi (28 June 2018). "Gera Zoltán bejelentette: befejezte a futballt".
- "Zoltan Gera – News, Stats and Info About The Soccer Player". Sports Pundit. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Albion bag Gera". BBC Sport. 30 July 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
- "WBA vs Charlton". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
- "Coca-Cola Championship Team of the Week. (17/12/2007)" (PDF). The Football League. 17 December 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Gera decides to join Fulham". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- "Gera joins Fulham from West Brom". BBC Sport. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
- "Gera makes Fulham switch". FIFA. 11 June 2008.
- "West Ham 2–2 Fulham". BBC Sport. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- "Smash and grab from Chelsea in W.London clash". BBC Sport. 28 December 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Gera hails most important goal". FIFA. 29 April 2010.
- "Fairytale Fulham reach final". FIFA. 29 April 2010.
- "Zolly scoops award". Fulham F.C. 28 May 2010. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Fulham 2–2 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 22 May 2011.
- "Fulham gain Europa League spot through Fair Play league". BBC Sport. 26 May 2011.
- "Retained player lists reveal big name players available for free". The Independent. 16 June 2011.
- "West Brom open talks with Zoltan Gera". The Independent. 8 July 2011.
- "Zoltan Gera rejoins West Brom after Fulham exit". BBC Sport.
- Christopher Lepkowski (6 November 2011). "Arsenal 3 West Brom 0: Sunday Mercury Big Match Report and Pictures". Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "West Bromwich Albion's Zoltan Gera out for rest of season". BBC Sport. 30 November 2011.
- "West Brom 3–0 Liverpool". BBC Sport. 18 August 2012.
- "West Brom's Zoltan Gera out for season with knee injury". BBC Sport. 8 January 2013.
- "Zoltan Gera expecting to sign new deal at West Brom". Sky Sports. 3 July 2013.
- Zoltan Gera signs new one-year contract with West Brom. Sky Sports. 14 August 2013.
- "Baggies release five players". West Bromwich Albion F.C. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "Ferencváros crowned Hungarian champions". UEFA. 2 April 2016.
- "Újpest FC 0–1 Ferencvárosi TC". magyarfutball.hu. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Újpest FC 0–1 Ferencvárosi TC". csakfoci.hu. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Újpest FC 0–1 Ferencvárosi TC". Nemzeti Sport. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Gera, Zoltán". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Ferencvaros". Zoltán Gera. 30 November 2005. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2004/2005". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2005/2006". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- Appearances and goals for this season are taken from:
"Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2006/2007". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
"West Brom 3–2 Luton". BBC Sport. 12 January 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Games played by Zoltan Gera in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Ferencvaros". Soccerway. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Gera retires from Hungary Archived 7 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- "Five-goal Hungary brush aside Andorra". FIFA. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Hungary battle back to beat Turkey". UEFA. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- "Turkish hopes dented after Hungary defeat". FIFA. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- "Gera, Dzsudzsak and Kiraly lead Hungary at Euro 2016". Daily Mail. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "UEFA Euro 2016: Austria 0–2 Hungary". UEFA.
- "UEFA Euro 2016: Iceland 1–1 Hungary". UEFA.
- "UEFA Euro 2016: Hungary 3–3 Portugal". UEFA.
- "EURO 2016 group stage number crunching". UEFA. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Gera wins fans' goal of the tournament". UEFA. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "Zoltan Gera goal named Euro 2016's best ahead of Ronaldo, Shaqiri efforts". ESPN FC. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "PHOTO GALLERY: Albion 1 Leicester 4". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 15 March 2008. Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Gera granted baby break by Hungary". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 22 March 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2008.
- "Gera joined the Blue Team!". Careers Management Group. 2005.
- "Gera Zoli, a gyülekezet arca". Népszabadság. 2008.
- "Zoltan Gera: I could be dead now if I had not found religion". 11 May 2010.
- "Player of the year – Hungary".
- "Gera wins fans' Goal of the Tournament". UEFA. 13 July 2016.