The Little Buddha calls it a day

Ivan De la Pena

Injuries are part and parcel of the game but when you can’t perform at the expected level, it is time to call it a day.
Ivan de la Pena Lopez announced his retirement from football recently. In an emotion laden press conference, he said,

“I would’ve liked to have played more these years but, unfortunately, because of the injuries I haven’t been able to.  I want to thank everyone for all the support I’ve received. My head would like to continue, but my body has said enough.”

De La Pena started his career from the Barcelona youth system and worked his way into the first team. Barcelona’s President of Honor, Johan Cryuff who was then first team coach gave him his first team debut in the 1995/96 season at the age of 19.
The diminutive player was a natural playmaker, he dictated the tempo of games for his team with his skill and accurate passing. He was perceived to be a natural successor to Pep Guardiola in the Barca’s first team but lasted three years at the Camp Nou before falling out with coach Louis Van Gaal and was transferred to Lazio.

Ivan struggled to adapt to life in Rome and the Calcio in his first season at Lazio. He was loaned out to Olympique Marseille the following season and Barcelona the season after.
The Little Buddha moved back to Catalonia in 2002 and pitched his tent with RCD Espanyol where he rediscovered his game. He was the magician behind Raul Tamudo and Luis Garcia when Espanyol won the Copa de la Rey in 2006. A year later, they were runners-up in the UEFA Cup losing on penalties to Sevilla.
The Santander born midfielder played for La Furia Roja. He made his debut for the senior side in a World Cup qualifiers and won five caps playing for his country.

Ivan has struggled lately with injuries as he has played only five times for Los Periquitos in the last two years thus prompting him to call to it a day.

"...Ivan has struggled lately with injuries"

The Spaniard has earned praises from his former coach Johan Cryuff and present day footballer Giuseppe Rossi after he made the announcement.

It’s a sad to see the Little Buddha go.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by harphyz on May 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    He should take up a coaching course.


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