Álvaro Recoba

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Recoba and the second or maternal family name is Rivero.
Álvaro Recoba
Personal information
Full name Álvaro Alexander Recoba Rivero
Date of birth (1976-03-17) 17 March 1976
Place of birth Montevideo, Uruguay
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Forward / Attacking midfielder
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1995 Danubio 34 (11)
1996–1997 Nacional 33 (17)
1997–2008 Internazionale 175 (53)
1999Venezia (loan) 19 (11)
2007–2008Torino (loan) 22 (1)
2008–2010 Panionios 21 (5)
2010–2011 Danubio 31 (11)
2011–2015 Nacional 82 (17)
Total 488 (144)
National team
1995–2007 Uruguay 69 (11)
2016 Uruguay (beach soccer) 3 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of June 14, 2015.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of October 16, 2016

Álvaro Alexander Recoba Rivero (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈalβaɾo alekˈsander reˈkoβa riˈβeɾo]; born 17 March 1976; nickname "El Chino") is a former Uruguayan footballer who last played for Primera División Uruguaya side Club Nacional de Football. He has played also within European football, most notably during eleven years with Inter Milan of the Italian Serie A.

Recoba was equally comfortable playing either as a forward or as an attacking midfielder.[1] He won 69 caps for the Uruguay national team between 1995 and 2007, participating at the 2002 World Cup and two Copa América tournaments.

Club career

Early career

Recoba started his career with Uruguay's Danubio. After several years there in the youth teams, he appeared on the first team at just 17 years old and played seasons 1994 and 1995 where he captured everyone's attention with his marvelous left foot. For the 1996–97 season he was transferred to Club Nacional de Futbol. The following season, he was sold to Internazionale.


Recoba made his debut for Internazionale on the same day as Ronaldo (31 August 1997), against Brescia in San Siro, scoring two goals in the last ten minutes of the match: one, a powerful 30-yard shot that flew past the keeper, the next, a free kick into the top corner after a Cristiano Doni foul. The goals allowed Internazionale to come back and win the match 2–1. In the same season, he scored a lob from only a short distance into the opponent's half.

Loan to Venezia

After two seasons with Internazionale, he was eventually loaned out to relegation-battling Venezia.[2] It was there that he proved he could play at the highest level, as he was involved in the majority of the goals that the Venice side scored during his time there; he scored 11 times and made 9 assists in 19 matches. His efforts helped Venezia escape relegation that season.

Return to Internazionale

Álvaro Recoba number 20 Internazionale shirt

After his tenure at Venezia, which lasted less than one season, Recoba returned to Inter. In January 2001, he renewed his contract with the club until June 30, 2006. But during the same month he faced problems with a fake passport, losing the Italian nationality he received in 1999. He was punished with a one-year ban, which was later reduced to four months on appeal.[3]

Recoba has had other notable performances for Internazionale, an example being the 2004–05 Serie A match against Sampdoria on January 9, 2005 in which he entered the game as a 32nd-minute substitute for Adriano. In the 42nd minute of the second half with Sampdoria leading 2–0, he hit the post. He then fed the ball to Obafemi Martins who scored to bring Internazionale back into the game; this was followed three minutes later by an equaliser from Christian Vieri, and in the last minute of stoppage time, Recoba scored Internazionale's third goal in six minutes to snatch a 3–2 win.[4]

On March 16, 2007 Recoba confirmed to SKY Italia that he wanted to leave the team at the end of the 2006–07 season citing lack of appearances with the first team. Though he did score 1 goal for the team including a goal direct from a corner [5] He was initially linked with Internazionale's scudetto rivals A.S. Roma after he claimed that if the opportunity arose and Inter president Massimo Moratti approved he would join the capital club immediately.[6] On August 31, 2007 he was loaned to fellow Serie A club Torino F.C. where he rejoined Walter Novellino, his previous boss at Venezia.[7] He has played for Italian champions Internazionale in the Italian Serie A for ten seasons from 1997.


Recoba scored his first goal for the club in the second match of the season, a 1–1 draw with Palermo, after a good combination between himself and Alessandro Rosina.[8] On December 19, 2007 Recoba gave a top-class performance against A.S. Roma in the Coppa Italia, scoring two excellent goals in Torino's 3–1 win.[9] However, his performances have been disappointing due to injuries and lack of playing time; he has not made the expected impact despite a good start and finished the season out of the starting formation.[10]


He signed for Panionios of the Greek Super League on September 5, 2008, joining former Inter team-mate and close friend Lampros Choutos as well as Uruguay national team player Fabián Estoyanoff. He made his debut in a 2–1 win against Aris on October 18. He proved his quality by assisting both goals for his teammates Maniatis and Gonzaga.[11] In his next match, he inspired Panionios to a 5–2 away win against Ergotelis where he scored two goals. He finished the season with five goals and seven assists, though had several injury problems.

On June 9, 2009 Recoba agreed to remain at Panionios for the following season, thus fulfilling the original duration of his contract despite the fact that Choutos had left the team after having consecutive arguments with his former coach Ewald Lienen.

After being constantly injured and because of his very high wages, Recoba agreed to mutually rescind his contract on December 16, 2009. The club indicated that the meeting was friendly and they were honoured by his association with their club despite his injury-riddled spell.[12][13]

Back to Uruguay

Recoba playing for Nacional

After nine days without a club it was announced on December 24, 2009 that he would sign with Danubio F.C.[14] The former Uruguayan international had already played for Danubio from 1993 to 1995.

He signed for Nacional in July 2011. He appeared in many games coming on from the bench, but still proved to be a key player for the team winning the Torneo Apertura, both assisting and scoring. Most notably, he scored the second goal in the clásico against Peñarol (the game ended 2–1) by taking a penalty kick during stoppage time, thus allowing Nacional to pass Peñarol in the tournament's table, and he also scored the only goal in the last match against Liverpool.

During the Torneo Clausura he was able to start more games, and proved as important as in the Apertura, scoring the third and definitive goal of that tournament's clásico (ending 3–2).

He scored the only goal in the final game of 2011–12 Campeonato Uruguayo against Defensor Sporting Club on June 16, 2012.

During the Uruguayan Clásico on 9 November 2014, Recoba scored a 30-yard free-kick in the 5th minute of stoppage time to win the game for Nacional.[15]

International career

Recoba warming up for Uruguay in 2007

Recoba made his debut for Uruguay on January 18, 1995 in a friendly match against Spain (2–2) in the Estadio Riazor in A Coruña, replacing Enzo Francescoli in the 65th minute.[16] He played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His only goal at the tournament came against Senegal in Uruguay's final group game, but it was not enough as the match finished in a 3–3 draw and eliminated Uruguay in the first round.

In September 2005, he scored the winning goal against Argentina in a World Cup qualifier. This helped Uruguay qualify as South America's fifth-placed team and put them in position to play for the intercontinental playoff against Oceania champions Australia. However, Uruguay lost 4–2 in a penalty shootout after a draw in aggregate score. Recoba who was substituted in the second leg of the playoff by Marcelo Zalayeta after 73 minutes[17] was interviewed for the Australian documentary "November 16" in 2015 and indicated his regret at the decision to replace him saying "I was OK. I had the will to keep going. ... I was disappointed to come off in a game like that."[18]

Despite a lack of appearances for Internazionale, he was again picked for the Uruguay national team. This allowed Recoba to play in most of the Uruguay matches for which he was fit. He scored his 12th international goal in a 2–1 victory on June 2, 2007 in a friendly match against Australia. Recoba also played for Uruguay in Copa América 2007, in which they finished fourth. In total, he earned 69 international caps.

Playing style

A quick, technically gifted, and creative offensive midfield playmaker, who was capable both of scoring and creating goals, Recoba's main strengths were his dribbling skills, ball control, pace, his brilliant long passing and crossing ability, and his powerful and accurate striking ability with his left-foot from outside the area.[19] He was a set-piece, penalty kick, and corner-kick specialist, renowned for his curling free-kicks, and has scored goals of great quality, examples of which were his two goals on his debut with Inter.[19] Recoba was capable of playing in several offensive positions, and has been used as an attacking midfielder, as a supporting striker, and as a winger. He was also for a period the highest paid football player in the world.[19][20][21] Despite his talent, Recoba was often injury prone throughout his career,[22][23] and was also criticised for his poor work-rate and inconsistency, which has led pundits and managers to accuse him of not fulfilling his potential.[19][24][25][26]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Uruguay League Cup South America Total
1994DanubioPrimera División146146
1996NacionalPrimera División228228
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1997–98Internazionale MilanoSerie A835260195
1998–99VeneziaSerie A191100001911
1999–00Internazionale MilanoSerie A271060003310
2007–08TorinoSerie A2212200243
Greece League Greek Cup Europe Total
2008–09PanioniosSuper League14421-165
Uruguay League Cup South America Total
2009–10DanubioPrimera División135135
2011–12NacionalPrimera División24810258
Country Uruguay 1525017116851
Italy 21665318561330386
Greece 19421-215
Total 3871193397314493142

National team[28]

Uruguay national team




  2. Contessa, Michele (January 13, 1999). "Recoba a Venezia: "Finalmente potro' giocare"". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  3. "Inter get Recoba back from ban". World Soccer News. October 12, 2001. Retrieved April 11, 2004.
  4. "Match centre". F.C. Internazionale Milano. January 9, 2005. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  5. "I Would Move To Roma Immediately – Recoba". Goal.com. May 21, 2007. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009.
  6. "Recoba bids farewell to Inter". Football Italia. Channel 4. March 16, 2007. Archived from the original on March 19, 2007.
  7. "Toro crowds hail Recoba". Football Italia. Channel 4. September 1, 2007. Archived from the original on September 2, 2004. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  8. "Palermo 1 – 1 Torino". Football Italia. Channel 4. September 16, 2007. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  9. "Coppa: Recoba breaks Roma". Football Italia. Channel 4. December 19, 2007. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  10. "Novellino defends El Chino". Football Italia. Channel 4. December 3, 2007. Archived from the original on February 4, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  11. "Alvaro Recoba debutes for Panionios : European Soccer".
  12. "Uruguayan star Alvaro Recoba quits Greek side Panionios - ESPN FC". ESPNFC.com. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  13. Ανακοίνωση
  14. "www.impre.com". Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  15. "Álvaro Recoba rolls back years to give Nacional victory over Peñarol". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  16. http://www.rsssf.com/tablesu/uru-intres1995.html RSSSF
  17. 11x11 http://www.11v11.com/matches/australia-v-uruguay-16-november-2005-273579/. Retrieved 26 January 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. "November 16" (Documentary Film). You Tube. 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  19. 1 2 3 4 John Carlin (23 November 2003). "Recoba's riddle". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  20. "Don't get discouraged". cnnsi.com. Sports Illustrated. February 20, 2001. Retrieved June 13, 2008.
  21. Giancarla Ghisi (15 May 2003). "I vip dell' Inter accusano "Tutta colpa di Recoba, peggio di Tangentopoli"" [The Inter VIPs accuse: "Everything is Recoba's fault, worse than Tangentopoli"] (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  22. Nadia Carminati (1 January 2007). "Recoba wants to be a regular". Sky Sports. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  23. "Recoba may not retire yet". Football Italia. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  24. "Inter. Moratti: "Zanetti come Facchetti. Recoba pigro, era più forte di Ronaldo"" [Inter. Moratti: "Zanetti like Facchetti. Recoba was lazy, but more talented than Ronaldo"] (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  25. Fabio Costantino (15 October 2009). "Recoba: "Cercai di portare Barreto all'Inter"" [Recoba: "I tried to bring Barreto to Inter"] (in Italian). F.C. Inter News. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  26. Roberto Gotta (4 October 2002). "Inter the world of paranoia". ESPN FC. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  27. Álvaro Recoba at National-Football-Teams.com
  28. http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/recoba-intl.html
  29. 1 2 "Á. Recoba". Soccerway. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
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