In celebration of Hernan Crespo turning 46 we’re going to be taking a look back at a career in kits of one the most gifted forwards of his generation.
An icon in his homeland before he even turned nineteen he soon took the path well travelled by young stars of the Argentine league and departed for Italy. He would remain in Serie A for the majority of the next sixteen years. Trophies seemed to follow wherever he went, sixteen in total, as he became most expensive player of all time along the way to scoring over 300 career goals.
RIVER PLATE - 93-96
24 goals in 62 games
2x Argentine apertura
Crespo only spent one year with River after making his debut as an 18 year old. Despite his short stint however he undoubtedly left an icon of the River Fans after playing a pivotal role in helping the side lift the prestigious Copa Libertadores. Crespo scored both goals in the second leg of the final to help River to a 2-1 aggregate win.
PARMA - 96-00 (10-12)
62 goals in 116 games (10 in 46)
Where it all started and ended for Crespo in Italy, Parma. The 98/99 season was a particular highlight as his goals helped propel the side to a UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia double. A decade later he would return to play out the final two years of his career in front of the adoring fans at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.
LAZIO - 00-02
39 goals in 54 appearances
Lazio broke the world transfer record to bring Crespo to Rome and he immediately payed them back with a capocannoniere title for the leagues top scorer in his first season. Financial uncertainty and mismanagement at the club meant, however, that his stay was a brief one.
INTER MILAN - 02-03 (06-09)
7 goals in 18 games (20 in 63)
Serie A x3
Brought in with the unenviable task of replacing Ronaldo, Crespo struggled at Inter during his injury plagued 02/03 season. He still managed some strong performances, particularly in the champions league where he scored nine goals in just twelve appearances. He would return to Inter in the summer of 2006, initially on a two year loan. He was then signed on a permanent basis as he became an integral part of the side that won three scudetto’s on the bounce.
CHELSEA - 03-08
20 goals in 49 games
While he was technically under contract at Chelsea for five seasons, in truth he played just two seasons with the blues. In his first year at the club he managed a decent 12 goals in 29 appearances. The arrival of Mourinho in 2004 saw him sent on loan before he was recalled for the 05/06 season to provide competition for Drogba.
AC MILAN - 04-05
10 goals in 28 games
Crespo‘a initial loan move from Chelsea took him to the San Siro and AC Milan. A strong season with the rossoneri was almost capped off in perfect fashion, Crespo scored two goals in the first half of the 2005 Champions League final but Milan ultimately fell to a resurgent Liverpool.
GENOA - 09-10
5 goals in 16 games
After moving in a swap deal with Diego Milito going the other way, Crespo enjoyed a mixed time in Liguria. He played his final games in European competition in that seasons Europa League but overall the season was a mediocre one, finishing mid table and crashing out of Europe at the group stage.
ARGENTINA - 95-07
35 goals in 64 games
Olympic silver medal
After debuting the year before, Crespo really made his mark on the Argentine national team at the 1996 Olympics. He scored six goals as Argentina progressed to the final before ultimately losing out to Nigeria. The next few years saw him struggling to break into a team spearheaded by the great Batistuta. It was not until 2002, and with Batistuta’s retirement, that he really started to make his mark on his national side. He was the undisputed star man over the next four years and in the end scored a very respectable 35 in 64 total appearances.
Words by Andy Gallagher