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Marcelo Zalayeta

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Marcelo Zalayeta
Zalayeta playing for Peñarol in 2012
Personal information
Full name Marcelo Danubio Zalayeta
Date of birth (1978-12-05) 5 December 1978 (age 45)
Place of birth Montevideo, Uruguay
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996 Danubio 32 (12)
1997 Peñarol 32 (13)
1997–2007 Juventus 101 (16)
1998–1999Empoli (loan) 17 (2)
1999–2001Sevilla (loan) 50 (10)
2004Perugia (loan) 5 (0)
2007–2010 Napoli 49 (12)
2009–2010Bologna (loan) 29 (4)
2010–2011 Kayserispor 14 (7)
2011–2016 Peñarol 125 (48)
Total 454 (124)
International career
1997–2005 Uruguay[1] 32 (10)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 6 December 2015
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 18 July 2021

Marcelo Danubio Zalayeta ([maɾˈselo salaˈʝeta]; born 5 December 1978) is a Uruguayan former footballer who played as a striker.

Zalayeta began his club career with Danubio before moving to Peñarol for a season in 1997, where he won the Uruguayan Primera División and the Uruguayan Liguilla Cup. Later that year, he was acquired by Italian club Juventus, where he remained for ten seasons, winning three Serie A titles and reaching the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final, although he was sent on several loan spells with Empoli, Spanish side Sevilla and Perugia during his time at the Turin club, due to heavy competition from other strikers in the team's line-up. He moved to Napoli in 2007, where he remained for three more seasons, aside from a loan spell with Bologna during the 2009–10 season. After his time in Italy, he later spent a season with Turkish side Kayserispor, before returning to his home nation to play for Peñarol once again, winning the Uruguayan Primera División for a second time in 2013, before retiring in 2016.

At international level, Zalayeta represented the Uruguay national team on 32 occasions between 1997 and 2005, scoring ten goals. At youth level, he was a member of the team that finished second in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship, and at senior level, he helped Uruguay reach the 1999 Copa América final.

Club career[edit]

Zalayeta started his career with Danubio and then moving to Peñarol in Uruguay in 1997, where he made a name for himself, winning the Uruguayan Primera División and the Uruguayan Liguilla Cup. He moved to Juventus later that year, but although he was considered a promising young player at the time, he was not given much of a chance to prove himself due to heavy competition from several other prominent forwards at the club. However, he scored a decisive goal on his Serie A debut on 14 March 1998, in a 2–2 home draw against Napoli; Juventus would finish the season as league champions.[2] He then spent a season on loan with Empoli, and he also starred in Uruguay's surge for the Copa América in 1999, who lost in the final to Brazil. Two more years away from the club followed, and he played for Spanish side Sevilla until 2001. At last, when it seemed Juve lacked forwards, he was brought back to Italy at the start of the 2001–02 season, but he was loaned out to Perugia in 2004 before returning to Juventus in the same year.[2]

Zalayeta in Juventus' first Serie B game against Rimini in 2006

Although he did not play many matches with Juventus, he performed well when given a chance, winning three Serie A titles (1998, 2002, 2003), two Supercoppa Italiana medals (2002 and 2003), and a Serie B title in 2007, also helping the club to the 2002 Coppa Italia Final. During his time at the club, he was given the nickname "Panteron".[2][3][4][5] He scored two very important extra time winners against Spanish opposition upon his return to Juventus. One came in 2003 in the quarter-finals of UEFA Champions League against Barcelona, the other against Real Madrid in the 2005 round of 16.[2][6] In the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final, Zalayeta was one of the three Juventus players to have their penalty saved by Milan keeper Dida in the shootout after a 0–0 draw, as Milan won the title.[7]

After a decade with Juventus, he moved to Napoli in the summer of 2007.[8] Napoli paid €1.4 million for half of the rights (co-ownership). He played 49 Serie A matches and scored 12 goals in 2 seasons, but at the start of 2009–10 season he became surplus to the team and was not offered a shirt number.[9][1][5] On 21 August 2009, he joined Bologna on loan for the 2009–10 season.[10][5]

On 1 July 2010, Zalayeta returned to Napoli but failed to enter first team. He left for Turkish side Kayserispor on a two-year contract on 25 August.[11][5]

Zalayeta joined his former Uruguayan side Peñarol as a free agent on 17 July 2011; he won the Uruguayan Primera División for a second time in 2013 before retiring in 2016.[1][5]

International career[edit]

Zalayeta was called up for the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia with the Uruguay national under-20 team, scoring four goals throughout the tournament as his team reached the final, and was defeated by Argentina.[12]

With the senior Uruguay national team, he took part at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, in which Uruguay managed a fourth-place finish, and the 1999 Copa América, scoring three goals in five appearances in the latter tournament, as they reached the final of the competition, only to be defeated by Brazil.[12]

Zalayeta represented Uruguay during his country's campaign to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, notably scoring a hat-trick in a 3–2 home win over Colombia on 4 September 2005.[13] He was selected in a 23-man squad for Uruguay's World Cup intercontinental playoff against Australia on 16 November. Zalayeta was one of two penalty kick takers whose shots were saved by Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. Zalayeta's failure to convert culminated in Australia winning the play-off 4–2 on penalties, qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany, and eliminating Uruguay in the process. This was his final appearance for Uruguay. In total, he made 32 appearances for the national team between 1997 and 2005, scoring ten goals.[1][12]

Style of play[edit]

A tall and physically strong forward, with a slender build, Zalayeta usually played as a centre-forward, and was primarily known for his technical skills and touch on the ball, as well as his eye for goal, heading, and ability in the air, which enabled him both to score and assist goals with his head; however, despite being a quick player in his youth, he was also known for his lack of pace as his career progressed. A team player, he was also known for his work-rate, ability to link-up with teammates, and hold up the ball with his back to goal, and was often involved in the build-up of attacking plays; he also possessed good movement, which enabled him to find spaces and get on the end of his teammates passes. Regarded as a promising but undisciplined player in his youth, he later developed into a more mature and reserved player as his career progressed, and was known for his tendency to score decisive goals for his teams, especially after coming off the bench, in particular during his time with Juventus, despite his lack of playing time with the club. He also had a strong personality, and was known for his exuberant goal celebrations with his arms lowered.[2][6][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] He was nicknamed il panterone ("the big panther," in Italian) in the media throughout his career, due to his movements and agility.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Zalayeta is the uncle of footballer Gonzalo Carneiro.[24]

In December 1999, Zalayeta and compatriot Sevilla teammates Nicolás Olivera and Marcelo Otero were charged for assaulting a man. Having struck a plea bargain, they paid €3,600 fines in March 2002 instead of facing a maximum eight-year sentence.[25]







  1. ^ a b c d "Marcelo Danubio Zalayeta". National Football Teams. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bedeschi, Stefano (5 December 2019). "Gli eroi in bianconero: Marcelo ZALAYETA" [The heroes in black and white: Marcelo Zalayeta] (in Italian). Tutto Juve. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Marcelo Danubio Zalayeta, il Panteron dai gol pesanti" (in Italian). Mai Dire Calcio. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Biografia: Marcelo Zalayeta" (in Italian). Mondi. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Zalayeta, Marcelo Danubio" (in Italian). Tutto Calciatori. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Menicucci, Paolo (16 March 2005). "I graffi della pantera" [The scratches of the panther] (in Italian). UEFA. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Grande Dida, coppa al Milan ma la Juve piange se stessa". La Repubblica (in Italian). 28 May 2003. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  8. ^ Channel4.com
  9. ^ "Napoli, ecco i numeri di maglia" (in Italian). SSC Napoli. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  10. ^ "Marcelo Zalayeta in prestito al Bologna e Luigi Vitale al Livorno" (in Italian). SSC Napoli. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  11. ^ "MARCELO DANUBIO ZALAYETA KULÜBÜMÜZDE". Kayserispor (in Turkish). 25 August 2010. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  12. ^ a b c Marcelo ZalayetaFIFA competition record (archived)
  13. ^ Tabeira, Martín (31 October 2006). "Uruguay – International Matches 2001-2005". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Juve-Messina, big-match a sorpresa" [Juve-Messina, surprise big-match]. La Gazzetta di Mantova (in Italian). 16 October 2004. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  15. ^ Caputo, Francesco (21 August 2007). "Marcelo Zalayeta, il profilo del nuovo attaccante azzurro" [Marcelo Zalayeta, the profile of the new azzurro forward] (in Italian). Tutto Napoli. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  16. ^ Azzi, Marco (18 September 2007). "Zalayeta, storia di un predestinato 'Ero un calciatore già nella culla'" [Zalayeta, the story of a predestined player 'I was already a footballer in the cradle']. La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  17. ^ Aricò, Giacomo (16 November 2011). "Zalayeta e Davids, altri tempi (di calciomercato)" [Zalayeta and Davids, other times (of the transfer market)] (in Italian). Tutto Juve. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  18. ^ "CHE COPPIA ZALAYETA – LAVEZZI, MA NON DIMENTICHIAMOCI DELL'ARCIERE" (in Italian). Pianeta Napoli. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  19. ^ "Juve: Del Piero no, Zalayeta sì". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 24 November 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  20. ^ Pelillo, Marcello (16 October 2008). "Napoli, ancora un Lavezzi modello Totti?" (in Italian). Tutto Napoli. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  21. ^ "Marco Liguori: Hamsik e Lavezzi la forza del Napoli" (in Italian). Tutto Napoli. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  22. ^ Pelillo, Marcello (19 September 2007). "Zalayeta al Napoli, i consigli di Capello" (in Italian). Tutto Napoli. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  23. ^ Pelillo, Marcello (25 September 2007). "Napoli-Livorno: La Chiave Tattica" (in Italian). Tutto Napoli. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  24. ^ "¿Quién es el niño? La foto que ilusiona a los hinchas de Peñarol para el mercado de pases" [Who is the boy? The photo that excites Peñarol fans for the transfer market] (in Spanish). 28 June 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2024.
  25. ^ Mellado, Sergio (19 March 2002). "Tres jugadores del Sevilla, condenados por agresión a 3.600 euros de multa" [Three Sevilla players, convicted of assault with 3,600 euro fine]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 February 2022.

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