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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old August 26th, 2005, 01:29 Thread Starter
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The Julian De Guzman thread

De Guzman makes history

(CP) - On the northwest tip of Spain, looking out on the Atlantic Ocean, midfielder Julian de Guzman is making Canadian soccer history.

The 24-year-old from Toronto is the first Canadian to play in La Liga, the top flight of Spanish soccer, after moving from Germany's Hannover to Deportivo La Coruna in the off-season. Canadian soccer historian Colin Jose, national team coach Frank Yallop and de Guzman himself can't think of any other Canadians who have played in La Liga, a quality league that is filled to the brim with stars from around the globe.

Now, at Deportivo, there's a little bit of Canada in addition to talent from Argentina, Paraguay, Portugal, Uruguay and Spain.

"It's a great move for him," said Yallop. "I'm look forward to working with Julian, because I think his game will change.

"I think the style of soccer in Spain will suit better (than Germany)."

Listed at 5-7 and - generously - at 165 pounds by the Canadian Soccer Association, de Guzman has a deft touch with the ball. He has style.

So far, de Guzman is enjoying life in Spain in advance of the season-opener Sunday in Mallorca.

After three years in Germany, the weather is a welcome change. And he says the people are positive. There is also plenty of history in the city of 250,000. The Spanish Armada left there in 1588. The city was sacked in 1598 by Sir Francis Drake.

"It's a great city. . . . The culture and the ambience is amazing," de Guzman said.

And the soccer is star-studded. De Guzman could find himself rubbing shoulders with David Beckham one week, Ronaldinho another.

"For me, I think it's the best league in the world. Playing against a lot of the stars and playing among stars as well is a dream come true. And something I never imagined last season until the offer was actually concrete.

"Now that I'm here, I'm going to make the best of it for the four years I signed."

He is willing to take it slowly, learning from the internationals around him and working his way into the team.

De Guzman has already started twice in the Intertoto Cup, including the second leg of the final on Tuesday in Marseille, France. He has also made two appearances as a substitute.

The club obviously thinks highly of him. He was given No. 6, the same number that star Brazilian midfielder Mauro Silva wore before he retired at the end of last season.

Now Deportivo looks to Spanish international Sergio to pull the strings in midfield.

It's a veteran squad with a proud tradition. Finishing eighth was a disappointment last season.

"For Hannover, eighth place in the Bundesliga would be a good thing," de Guzman noted.

In La Coruna, he's found a house about 500 metres from the beach just outside the city.

"The area's really nice, really peaceful and the people are great."

The only downside is Hannover was only a three-hour drive from Rotterdam where his younger brother Jonathan is in the Feyenoord system. Now he faces a couple of flights to say hello.

New Deportivo coach Joaquin Caparros, the former Sevilla boss who succeeded longtime Deportivo coach Javier Irureta, has been trying de Guzman at different positions including right back and right wing.

De Guzman doesn't mind. He'll do what needs to be done.

He is similarly coping with working in Spanish. Thanks to his knowledge of French, he says he can pretty much understand what's going on and reckons he will soon pick up the language.

His soccer travels have done wonders for his ability to communicate.

"The German is pretty good, the French is still there and the English is OK," he said with a laugh.

De Guzman will meet up with his Canadian mates next week in advance of the Sept. 3 friendly against Spain in Santander. He's looking forward to it, and not just because he plays his club football in Spain.

"It's always an honour to play for Canada," he said.

While the Spanish season doesn't start until this weekend, Deportivo has already had a roller-coaster ride in the Intertoto Cup.

The tournament is a second-tier event that offers a backdoor way into the UEFA Cup for three teams. Deportivo made it to the final stage after beating Buducnost of Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia's Slaven and England's Newcastle.

That left Deportivo against Olympique Marseille.

Deportivo, with de Guzman on the bench, won the opening leg 2-0 at home. Things looked positive for the return leg in Marseille. But the rematch went south for the Spaniards in the second half when Marseille poured in four goals.

Each team had a player sent off in the 12th minute. Before it was over, 10 more yellow cards had been shown - including one to de Guzman - and Deportivo was down to nine men after another player was sent off in the 71st minute.

With three minutes left in regulation time, Deportivo was down 3-1 and teetering although still ahead on aggregate thanks to its away goal. With no substitutes available and striker Pedro Munitis injured, Deportivo was effectively down to eight players.

The Spaniards finally cracked. Marseille scored in the 88th and 93rd minutes for a 5-1 win on the day and 5-3 aggregate victory.

De Guzman played every minute.

"It was an unbelievable match," he said.

"Every time I looked at the clock, it seemed to be going a bit slower than it was supposed to be."

The game also meant something to de Guzman because he started his European football at Marseille as a teenager. He spent one season with the under-17 team and two with the reserve side.

"Being able to play there in the stadium was actually a dream come true," he said.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old August 26th, 2005, 01:41
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Congrats De Guzman. Good to hear.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old September 2nd, 2005, 05:19 Thread Starter
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Will it be club, or country?
Playing for Canada was problem for de Guzman with former team
By KEITH BRADFORD -- Edmonton Sun

They didn't actually tell him to turn his back on Canada.

But Julian de Guzman got the message.

"They never really told me outright. But you could feel it. You could see it on their faces," said the 24-year-old Ontario native from Santander, Spain, where he's preparing for Canada's weekend friendly against the Spanish national team.

"I had situations with (former club) Marseilles where I left for the national team, came back and ended up on the bench for the longest time. That was the first time I realized ... it would have been better to stay."

De Guzman, who started his pro career with Marseilles in 1999 and spent three years in Germany before joining Spain's Deportivo La Coruna this summer, is one of many Canadians who has been forced to choose between club and country.

He missed this summer's Gold Cup because it clashed with the start of pre-season at his new club -- where he was eager to make a good impression.

But he wasn't the only absentee. Tomasz Radzinski and Paul Stalteri also decided to stay with their teams in England.

And with most of coach Frank Yallop's squad dotted throughout Europe, the picture isn't much brighter for Saturday's game against Spain.


Kenny Stamatopoulos is expected to start just his second game for Canada against one of Europe's most feared strike forces. First-choice 'keeper Greg Sutton and former No. 1 Lars Hirschfeld both stayed with their clubs.

"I want guys who are totally committed, but I totally understand where they are coming from," said Yallop of the club vs. country problem.

"It's maybe not so bad at the moment ... but it's always an issue. The players get a lot of pressure from the clubs."

De Guzman said that as a proud Canadian, he finds it frustrating that he has been forced to miss out on joining up with the squad.

And while some fans may criticize certain players for skipping games, de Guzman said his teammates know the score.

"Everybody has the same dilemma," he said. "It's gotten better compared to how it was in the past -- the timing (of games) is way better now for overseas players.

"But (missing games) -- it's pretty sad. It's your country and everything. It's every player's dream to represent your national team, but it's tough."

De Guzman said his current club -- and his former clubs in Germany -- has been supportive of him playing for Canada.

And despite the disappointment surrounding Canada's failure to climb up the FIFA rankings -- they've been in the mid-80s for years -- De Guzman thinks the team has a bright future.

"I always look forward to playing for Canada. I feel the team's getting better and better.

"The next couple of years -- it's going to be something really special."


That might not extend to Saturday's result against Raul and friends, but De Guzman isn't ruling out the possibility of a close game.

"Our chances are going to be slim, but I'm going to give it all I've got. Even a tie would be something big for us."

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Much will depend on the weather, but organizers are expecting crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 for Sunday's women's international between Canada and Germany at Commonwealth. See Sun Sports for full pre- and post-game coverage.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old October 26th, 2005, 22:55
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De Guzman

Scored today against Real Madrid and apparently played really well.

Really proud of him!

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old October 27th, 2005, 06:02 Thread Starter
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Canadian gets Real

Canadian gets Real

Deportivo la Coruna's Julian de Guzman of Canada, left, celebrates his goal with Diego Tristan after scoring against Real Madrid during a Spanish league soccer match in A Coruna, Spain Wednesday Oct. 26, 2005. Deportivo won the game 3-1. (AP Photo/Lalo R. Villar)

MADRID, Spain (AP) - Canadian Julian De Guzman of Toronto scored the deciding goal to help Deportivo de La Coruna defeat Real Madrid, 3-1 in La Liga action Wednesday night.

Defender Juanma Delgado scored Deportivo's first and third goals on headers.

Madrid, which was without four injured players - Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Julio Baptista and Michel Salgado - and suspended Thomas Gravesen, remained without a victory at Deportivo's Riazor Stadium since 1991.

The defeat was Madrid's fourth of the season and second in four days, following a 2-1 loss to Valencia on Sunday.

De Guzman gave Deportivo the lead in the 35th minute when he swept a low shot past goalkeeper Iker Casillas for his first goal since joining the club from Hannover in the off-season.

Deportivo, winless in six games, scored again just before halftime when Juanma headed powerfully home from a cross by former Real forward Pedro Munitis.

David Beckham, who played following Madrid's successful appeal Tuesday against his red card against Valencia, was replaced by Javier Balboa in the 53rd minute.

Munitis' corner provided Juanma with his second goal in the 84th minute, while captain Raul Gonzalez scored Madrid's consolation goal with a long shot two minutes later.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old October 28th, 2005, 20:47
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Its unfortunate that sports media outlets in Canada are not making a bigger fuss over this, because it is quite a large step for Canadian soccer players.

"I am happy the side survived, because this team is the shining jewel in a city that is symbolic of culture, politeness and civility. I hoped with all my heart that Parma would stay in Serie A, for this outfit and all of Italian football.

(Arrigo Sacchi)
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old October 29th, 2005, 18:35
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Good to hear.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old November 3rd, 2005, 15:27
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I thought I would post an interview which is in "Marca" spanish sports newspaper today with De Guzman. Enjoy! Hopefully my Spanish translating is up to par.

How are you feeling so far?
I am very happy, in these last weeks everything has being going well for me, it's been incredible. A goal against Madrid, starting in two consecutive matches ... I couldn't ask for anything more. I've had the luck of doing everything well and it's been an honour to be able to contribute to the strength and success of this club.

Do you find yourself more at home now living in Spain?
Of course, little by little I'm getting used to it and becoming more comfortable, as much with the team as with the city. I love the city and the ocean.

Now your one more player of the team
Yes, yes. I even make jokes with my teammates. The only problem is the language barrier, but I'm close to solving that problem. I have to express my gratitude the way they have welcomed me here.

How are the Spanish classes coming along?
Very good. (Smiles) I've already had a few lessons and everyday I'm becoming more adapted to the life here and the language. But give me some time because it can be hard pronouncing certain words. I can already understand people that talk to me, but it's still hard to communicate back.

How do you see the team after the last few victories?
It looks good. I think it's possible for us to fight for a top spot and even win the Liga. At the same time, the season is very long and we need to take it one step at a time. We are on the right path and I'm confident we will keep growing as a team.

You've won a place in the starting eleven and your coach is happy with your work. I assume you are very happy?
I didn't expect to be a starter so soon. Plus I've started in two games against big teams. I know I have to go step by step. For now, I just have to keep working to keep my place in the starting eleven.

How do you link playing on the wing?
I'm adapting well in that position and I think I can perform still even better.

And what about scoring goals?
I usually don't score goals. But it's obvious that playing on the wing will present more opportunities to score then playing in the center midfield. I'll just keep shooting and hopefully the goals will come.

Which line do you think is the weakest in the team?
I don't think there is stronger line than another. We might not be spectacular in any specific line, but we have quality as a team. That's why it's so difficult to beat us.

Have you asked any of your teammates for advice on how to adapt more quickly?

I learn from my teammates every day and I want to improve every day.

Victor's return could be an inconvienence for you?
My only mission is to work harder, harder and harder. After that the coach will be the one to decide. I've come to help and be usueful to the club.

Viva Real Madrid y Espa˝a!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old November 4th, 2005, 00:12
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Thankyou very much Mendieta.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old February 16th, 2006, 23:30
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Article from the Globe and Mail today:
By Peter Mallett

Julian de Guzman, a mainstay of Canada's national soccer team, was the target of racist taunts against black players by Spanish fans.

De Guzman, 24, a midfielder on the Spanish first division club Deportivo La Coruna, was the object of the abuse from Real Betis fans when his team visited Manuel Ruiz de Lopera Stadium in Seville last Sunday. The fans directed chants and monkey noises at him while he was warming up and during the game.

"I know these incidents occur in some places but they have to be stopped now," de Guzman, of Toronto, said in a statement. "We live in a racially mixed world and there is no room for such behaviour in football. I'm saddened by it, but it's over now. It's the first time that has happened to me in Spain, it happened to me in Germany, but it wasn't so loud."

De Guzman's mother was born in Jamaica and his father in the Philippines. He is the first Canadian to play in Spain's elite league after he transferred from the German Bundesliga club Hanover 96 in June.

De Guzman's brother Jonathan, 18, plays for Feyenoord Rotterdam in the Dutch soccer league.

Julian de Guzman is enjoying the best season of his career. He scored the winning goal in a 3-1 win over Real Madrid on Oct. 26. In a 3-3 tie this season against Barcelona, he was given the task of marking world player of the year Ronaldinho.

De Guzman's father, Julian Sr., said yesterday he was shocked by the accounts from Seville, but told his son to keep his composure.

"Don't lower yourself, I told him, if you react to them, then they got you," de Guzman Sr. told his son in a telephone conversation yesterday. "Let the officials monitor these things and don't ever retaliate."

The taunts increased when de Guzman tackled Real Betis captain Juanito during the second half of the match, which Deportivo won 1-0.

"The actions of those fans are unacceptable," de Guzman Sr. told the Globe and Mail. "The more people who are aware of it, hopefully these small number of idiots will be scrutinized for their actions. I know UEFA is trying to nip these incidents in the bud and punish any fans, coaches or players who make comments like this."
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old May 13th, 2008, 22:00
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 17:07
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Julian has been elected Player of the Year by Deportivo La Coruña fans.

See news item dated May 24, 2008.
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