La Pausa: What happened to the Hércules team who beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou?

The 11th September is celebrated across Catalonia as a national holiday to commemorate the fall of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession and the subsequent removal of regional autonomy with the abolition of the Catalan constitution. The holiday is an excuse to express Catalan identity, with the streets lined with senyeres and estelades and other symbols.

FC Barcelona remain one of these symbols of Catalan culture despite efforts by the club to take a more neutral political stance in recent years and you will see thousands of  Barça shirts among the crowds celebrating the national holiday. However last time Barcelona played on 11th September they suffered a surprise home loss to newly promoted Hércules.

The team from Valencia had famously done the double over Barcelona during their previous season in La Liga but ultimately ended up being relegated. 14 years later Hércules were back in Spain’s top flight and ended up going down again immediately but not before managing to secure a historic win against Barcelona once more.

In this edition of La Pausa we will take a look at the players that beat Barça at the Camp Nou on 11/09/2010.

Hercules-Celebrates

1. Juan Catalayud

After breaking through with his local team Málaga and stints at Getafe and Racing Santander the Andalusian goalkeeper won promotion with Hércules and remained their first choice goalkeeper in La Liga throughout the 2010-11 season. Remarkably Catalayud was in the hunt for the Zamora trophy after keeping the most clean sheets in the league until January when his team’s form began to slide. After Hércules’ relegation he remained in the league as second choice keeper at Mallorca and then moved to Videoton in Hungary two years later. He won the Hungarian league in his second and final season in Székesfehérvár before a brief sojourn in India and rounding out his career at hometown club Antequera in the fourth tier of Spanish football.

21. David Cortés

The veteran right back signed to add some steel to the Hércules back line after helping Getafe qualify for Europe for the first time in their history. The Extremaduran moved on to Granada after being relegated with Hércules but found it difficult to force his way into the first team ahead of Allan Nyom. He returned to Hércules in the second division in 2013 and helped save the Valencians from relegation to the third tier before moving on to Real Zaragoza and a season in Denmark with Aarhus. After hanging up his boots Cortés reunited with former boss Bernd Schuster as his assistant at Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

23. Noe Pamarot

The French centre-back moved to Hércules after a mixed spell in England where he picked up an FA Cup winners medal with Portsmouth although didn’t make an appearance in the final. Pamarot was an undisputed starter during his first season in La Liga but moved on to newly-promoted Granada after one year. He only made two league appearances for the Andalusians before returning to Hércules in the second division. Pamarot retired at the end of the 2013-14 season after suffering a second relegation with the team from Alicante.

16. Paco Peña

Captain of the team for the win against Barcelona, Peña is a club legend at Hércules, appearing in over 300 league games for the club. He made his professional debut with Jerez after coming through their academy before moving on to Levante where he spent four years and gained promotion to the second division. Peña then moved to Albacete where he spent a further four years, winning promotion to La Liga before being suffering relegation after two seasons. Another promotion and relegation with Murcia followed before finally signing for Hércules in 2009. In nine seasons Peña played in each of the three top divisions of Spanish football with the club and only left at the end of the 2017-18 season, just before celebrating his 40th birthday. After 21 years and over 600 appearances as a professional footballer Peña is still plying his trade for Intercity in the Valencian regional leagues.

5. Abraham Paz

The defender from Cádiz played over 200 matches for his boyhood club before moving to Hércules in 2008. His final match for the gaditanos saw Paz concede the 95th minute penalty that relegated his team to the third tier. Paz spent three seasons in Alicante before moving on to fellow second division teams Cartagena and Sabadell. He moved to Israel under a cloud in 2013 after allegations of match-fixing  surfaced. However, his time in Israel has been a success, appearing in over 100 matches for Bnei Sakhnin interspersed by a loan spell at Maccabi Haifa.

12. Royston Drenthe

The win against Barcelona marked the Dutch winger’s debut for Hércules after moving on loan from Real Madrid. He was brought in to the club with the hope that he would provide the creative spark to keep the team in the league but ended up being suspended  after returning a week late from the winter break. After returning to Real Madrid Drenthe spent another disappointing season on loan at Everton in the Premier League, where he gave a controversial interview accusing Lionel Messi of making racist remarks towards him. Drenthe’s career then took him to Alania in Russia before returning to England with Reading and Sheffield Wednesday before moving on to play in Turkey and the UAE. Drenthe declared that he was fed up with football after being released by Baniyas in 2016 and dedicated himself to a career in music. His musical career followed a similar trajectory to his sporting one and he returned to football in July 2018, signing a one year contract with hometown team Sparta Rotterdam.

14. Abel Aguilar

The Colombian international moved to Alicante from Udinese after spending three years on loan in the Spanish second division, including a year at Hércules in the 2008-09 season. The versatile central midfielder remained with the club after relegation before returning to La Liga on loan with Deportivo La Coruña. Failing to keep the Galicians in the top flight Aguilar then moved on to France, where he spent two productive years with Toulouse before being sidelined with an ankle injury in his third and final season. He returned home to Deportivo Cali from Belenenses in 2016 after eleven years in Europe and signed for FC Dallas in August 2018. Aguilar has made 71 appearances for his country and has appeared in two World Cups, reaching the quarter final in 2014.

24. Tiago Gomes

Gomes signed for Hércules a year after a move to Málaga failed to materialise, helping the club to promotion with six goals from midfield. The Portuguese stayed with the team after their relegation back to the second tier but failed to replicate the good form of his first season and subsequently moved on to Blackpool in England. The most successful period of Gomes’ career came after a move to APOEL, where Gomes competed in the Champions League and Europa League for the Cypriot giants. Gomes’ contract wasn’t renewed after completing a second double in two seasons and he moved on to Northern Cypriot refugee clubs Nea Salamina and Doxa. Gomes is currently without a club after being released by Melaka United in Malaysia.

17. David Trezeguet

By far the biggest name in the Hércules team, the World Cup winning striker signed for his wife’s hometown club after spending a decade at Juventus where he scored 171 goals on his way to winning two Serie A titles. Trezeguet scored 12 goals in La Liga and ended the season as the team’s top scorer but moved on to the UAE after relegation. His time with Baniyas was plagued by injury and both parties agreed to terminate his contract after only a matter of months. Trezeguet returned to Argentina and aided River Plate in gaining promotion to the Argentine Primera División in 2012 before playing for Newell’s Old Boys and finally rounding out his career in India with Pune City. Despite not enjoying the most successful of times with Hércules fans can always boast that they have seen an all-time great play for their team.

20. Nelson Valdez

Valdez became Hércules’ most expensive signing after moving from Borussia Dortmund for €3.5million. The Paraguayan forward was the hero against Barcelona, scoring both goals in the historic win but unfortunately he could only add six more goals to his tally for the remainder of the season and moved on to Rubin Kazan after suffering relegation. He returned to La Liga on loan with Valencia in 2012-13 before embarking on a nomadic career, playing in the UAE, Greece, Germany and the USA. Valdez returned to Paraguayan football in 2017, signing for his boyhood club Cerro Porteño. Valdez never replicated the early form he showed at Werder Bremen in the rest of his career but 77 international caps and a Copa América runners up medal are proof of his quality as a footballer and a remarkable achievement for someone who famously had to endure homelessness just to get a chance to play as teenager.

Manager – Esteban

Esteban never managed replicate his successful playing career as a manager and was sacked by Hércules towards the end of the season as they slipped towards relegation. The win against Barcelona, with whom he had spent ten years as a player, was bar far the crowning achievement of Esteban’s managerial career, which died out after leaving the Valencians. His only silverware as a manager came with Xerez, where he won the Spanish second division in 2009; however, he left the club before getting the chance to lead them in La Liga. Second place with Hércules led to a second promotion in two years but the title of Esteban’s autobiography, Ganador, wasn’t the case in La Liga.

Substitutes

10. Tote (74′)

Tote was released at the end of the 2010-11 season after suffering a serious knee injury and retired at age 33 after failing to find another club. The Madrid native began his career with Real Madrid’s reserves and formed part of the La Liga winning squads of 2001 and 2003 but only made 5 league appearances for the whites. A loan to Benfica was unsuccessful but Tote proved himself as a La Liga player with Valladolid in 2001-02. The forward was plagued by injuries after joining Betis and moved down to the second division, returning to Valladolid. Moving to Hércules in 2006 enabled Tote to play the best and most consistent football of his career, amassing 179 league appearances he was one of the heroes of the 2010 second division winning team.

11. Sendoa (61′)

A late bloomer, Sendoa only made his professional debut aged 25 playing for Eibar. Sendoa spent his early career moving between teams in the Basque regional leagues before signing for Hércules’ local rivals Alicante in 2002. He enjoyed a successful time in the third division making 150 appearances across four years, moving across the city in 2006. His good form in Hércules’ promotion season led to Sendoa becoming the oldest ever La Liga debutant, aged 35, in the opening game of the 2010-11 season against Athletic Club. After leaving Hércules Sendoa returned to the Basque Country with Alavés before finally retiring in 2013.

15. Kiko Femenía (64′)

The Alicante native made his first appearance for his hometown team against Cádiz as a 17 year old in the match in which future teammate Abraham Paz conceded the penalty which secured relegation for the Andalusians. Kiko struggled to cope with first team football at such a young age, suffering from a panic attack in his La Liga debut. After catching the eye in his first La Liga season Kiko moved to Barcelona and was assigned to the reserves but moved to Real Madrid after claiming to have been emotionally ruined by the Catalan club. After a brief stint at Alcorcón he found his feet at Alavés and earned promotion to La Liga in 2016. Playing as a wing back in his return to La Liga, Kiko played a huge role in his team reaching the Copa del Rey final and moved to Watford in England on a free transfer in 2017. Still only 27 years old, the youngest member of the Hércules squad still has a large chunk of his career ahead of him.

In the eight seasons since Hércules’ historic win in Barcelona the team from Alicante haven’t enjoyed any success whatsoever. After finishing 19th and being relegated, the club managed to survive for three seasons in the second division but a disasterous 2013-14 season saw them relegated to the third tier. In 2016 the club had the opportunity to repeat their victory after drawing Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Despite drawing 1-1 at home the club suffered a humiliating 7-0 defeat at the Camp Nou. Finishing 10th in 2017-18 Hércules had to suffer the indignity of watching arch rivals Elche secure promotion to the second division and must be hoping that their fortunes reverse in the near future.

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