Monday, September 19, 2011

Julio Ricardo Cruz

SHOW - Julio Ricardo Cruz

Julio Ricardo Cruz (born 10 October 1974 in Santiago del Estero) is an Argentine footballer who currently is a free agent.A tall, physical striker at 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in), Cruz started his career with Banfield in 1993. He moved to River Plate in 1996.
In 1997, he moved to Europe, being signed by Feyenoord, and showing a great potential in terms of scoring proficiency. He then moved in 2000 to Bologna.
At Bologna, under the management of Francesco Guidolin, Cruz was mainly used as a lone striker. While he was often derided by fans and the media alike for his lack of goalscoring proficiency, he did prove to be extremely apt at holding the ball up in order to bring the other attackers into the game. In 2001–02, he played an integral part in Bologna's 7th-placed finish in Serie A, and while he only netted ten goals in the league, he earnt back the respect of his critics for his intelligent and passionate football.
In 2003, Cruz left Bologna and signed for Internazionale.

With the Nerazzurri, Cruz rarely played regularly in the first team, finding some playing time usually just when the leading strikers were unavailable, and often being used as a substitute, thus scoring 12 league goals in his first two seasons with Internazionale. He scored his first goal for Internazionale in the 3–0 victory over Arsenal at Highbury Stadium on 17 September 2003 in the Champions League. In a Champions League match against Porto on 1 November 2005, he scored twice in thirty minutes after being sent in to replace striker Adriano, turning a 0-1 into a 2–1 victory.
In the winter of 2005, Cruz was linked with rumours to Roma and other clubs because his contract was running out, but in February 2006, he extended his contract to the summer of 2008. He ended the season as the top scorer for Internazionale with 21 goals, including fifteen league goals, and the second goal in the return match for the final of the 2006 Coppa Italia Final that Inter won 3–1 against Roma. He signed a new contract in September 2007.
On 31 July 2009, Cruz left Internazionale and signed with Lazio on a two-year contract as free agent, but also paid €2.15 million sign-on fees. At the end of 2009–10 season, Lazio mutually terminated the contract, as Cruz was suffering from injury.
Cruz has twenty two caps and four goals for Argentina. He participated in the 2006 World Cup, coming on as a late substitute in the matches against the Netherlands and Germany. He scored the opening penalty in the penalty shoot-outs against Germany, but Argentina lost 4–2 on penalties.

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