Javier Pedro Saviola Fernández
Saviola was a fast and agile forward. Since the fans compared his style to Maradona’s, they called him “El Pibito”. They also thought he looked like a rabbit, so Javier got another nickname, “El Conejo” that means “The Rabbit”.
Javier was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 11, 1981. He played in a local club called Parque Chas before he became a professional footballer.
Club Career of El Conejo
In 1998, he started playing for River Plate, where he got 1999 South American Footballer of the Year award.
1999 South American Footballer of the Year award
Saviola contributed the Apertura 1999 and Clausura 2000 championships victories at very young age. He played for River Plate until 2001 and scored 45 goals in total.
Saviola transferred to Barcelona for £15 million in 2001 and got Spanish citizenship. In his 1st season at Barcelona, he managed to score 17 goals and became the 4th top scorer of La Liga.
The next season he scored 12 goals before his coach loaned him to Monaco in 2004. After scoring 7 goals in 29 matches at Monaco, he was loaned to Sevilla for the next season. That’s where Saviola won his 1st title, as he got UEFA Cup scoring 9 goals until he returned to Barcelona for 2006-2007 season.
49 goals in 123 games for Barcelona
Javier totally scored 49 goals in 123 games for Barcelona, including the hat-trick against Deportivo Alaves in La Copa 2006-2007.
After he finished playing for Barcelona, Saviola signed a 3 year contract with Real Madrid on July 10, 2007. However, he only could score 5 goals in 28 matches, his chances were limited and played as a substitute mostly.
Although he had difficult time in Real Madrid, Javier was quite successful after he transferred to Benfica on June 26, 2009. He firstly led his team to Guadiana Trophy finals scoring two goals against Athletic Bilbao.
2009-2010 UEFA Europa League
During 2009-2010 UEFA Europa League; he scored a brace as Benfica won 5-0 against Everton and also in 2-0 victory over Liverpool in the 2nd game. On October 26, 2009 Saviola scored another brace against C.D. Nacional in the 6-1 win for the Primeira Liga.
He didn’t stop being legendary; Javier helped Benfica’s 4-0 win against Academica de Coimbra, scoring through a chip shot on December 6, 2009.
The only goal of Benfica-FC Porto match came from Javier on December 20.
The goal he scored made Benfica win against Nacional, on January 3, 2010 during the Portuguese League Cup. Six days later, he scored the only goal of the match and led Benfica to the victory against Rio Ave.
Saviola scored a goal against Paços de Ferreira in the 3-1 win on March 7, 2010 and contributed the victory of Benfica for 2009-2010 Primeira Liga.
He transferred to Malaga for 2012-2013 season. Javier made his debut for the club on September 1 , playing for 45 minutes against Real Zaragoza. He helped Malaga win by 3-1 over Levante UD with a goal and an assist on September 15, 2012. Scoring the 2nd goal of the match, he contributed Malaga’s 3-0 victory over FC Zenit during UEFA Champions League 2012-2013.
Saviola started playing for Olympiacos on July 25, 2013 on a two year contract. During Superleague on August 25 he scored his 1st goal in Olympiacos against Atromitos.
Saviola scored 12 goals in Olympiacos, including the brace in 3-1 victory over Anderlecht on December 10.
Italian Serie A
After he played for Olympiacos for a year, he transferred to Verona, a Serie A club. Javier’s 1st appearance was against Genoa, on September 22. He then scored his 1st goal against Perugia for Coppa Italia on December 2.
Returned to River Plate
After scoring the only goal in the victory over Atalanta on January 25, 2015 ; Javier returned to River Plate in the summer. However, he couldn’t reach the success back in 1998 and unfortunately scored 0 goals in 13 matches.
Saviola scored 159 goals during his club career and retired from football after he played for River Plate.
Argentina National Team
Javier played in FIFA U-20 World Cup 2001 and helped Argentina win the tournament, as he was the top scorer. He scored 11 goals in 7 matches and became the record goalscorer in the history of the tournament.
World Cup 2006
Javier got selected for World Cup 2006 squad, after winning the gold medal in 2004 Olympic Games.
During the tournament he scored a goal in the opening game against Ivory Coast. Javier also contributed Argentina’s 6-0 victory over Serbia and Montenegro, making 2 assists.
11 goals in 39 matches for the national team.
Javier Saviola retired from his international football career in 2009 after scoring 11 goals in 39 matches for the national team.