Tall and solidly built, Delgado is a natural centre-forward blessed with a powerful shot and an ability to hang in the air that appears to defy gravity. Equally adept with his head and feet and well versed in the art of pulling defences out of shape, he h
Name: DELGADO Agustin
Date of birth: 23 December 1974
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Current Club: LDU Quito (ECU)
Int'l Goals: 29 (as of 5-Jun-2006)
Int'l Caps: 68 (as of 5-Jun-2006)
First Int'l Cap: Peru v. Ecuador (17-Aug-1994)
Detail: When Agustin Javier Delgado Chala – to give him his full name - decides to call time on his playing days, he will finally be able to take stock and reflect with justifiable pride on the massive impact he has had on Ecuadorian football. Yet despite his many achievements, the best could be yet to come for Delgado. After all, Germany 2006 represents a magnificent opportunity to end an illustrious career on the highest of notes.
Born on 23 December 1974 in El Juncal, a village in the Valle del Chota, Delgado learnt his trade on local dirt pitches. Although it was an upbringing that helped him forge his character and improve his game, it also acquainted him with the realities of life outside football. Many years later, when the player set up his own children’s foundation, it was in El Juncal that he chose to locate it.
Tall and solidly built, Delgado is a natural centre-forward blessed with a powerful shot and an ability to hang in the air that appears to defy gravity. Equally adept with his head and feet and well versed in the art of pulling defences out of shape, he has forged a reputation as one of the most feared strikers in South America.
A regular fixture in his country’s youth team, he won his first full cap before he had even played in the Ecuadorian first division with his club El Nacional. That debut, a 2-0 defeat in Lima against Peru on 17 August 1994, marked the beginning of an international career packed with vital goals.
Although Delgado had already served notice of his abilities with two goals in Ecuador’s unsuccessful bid to reach the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he achieved international prominence in the Korea/Japan 2002 qualifying campaign. His nine goals made him the continent’s joint top scorer alongside Argentina’s Hernan Crespo and played a vital part in the Tricolor sealing their place at the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time.
The bustling front man was not finished yet, however, and became the first Ecuadorian to score in a FIFA World Cup when he notched his country’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat by Mexico. Failure to advance to the second round proved a disappointment, but El Tin, as he is known in his homeland, put all that behind him by helping Ecuador clinch a berth at Germany 2006 with another five qualifying goals. One of these, the opener against Colombia on 4 June 2005, confirmed him as Ecuador’s leading international goalscorer.
Delgado made his club debut in El Nacional’s league title-winning side of 1996. One season and 18 goals later, he was snapped up by Guayaquil side Barcelona, where he remained for two years, picking up another championship winner’s medal after returning from a brief loan spell with Mexican outfit Cruz Azul. He returned to Mexico in 1999 to play for Necaxa and formed part of the side that finished third at the FIFA Club World Championship Brazil 2000.
He later became the first Ecuadorian to run out in the English Premiership when he joined Southampton in 2001, although a knee injury restricted him to just 18 appearances for the club. A brief sojourn with Aucas followed before he returned to Mexico to help Pumas lift the league title in 2004. From there it was back home to Barcelona for a single season before signing for LDU Quito, where he is busy preparing for what he sees as the last great challenge of his glittering career, Germany 2006.