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Hernán Crespo

Argentine footballer
The basics
Occupation Association football player Association football manager
Country Argentina
Date of birth Florida
Member of sports team S.S. Lazio, Parma Football Club, Club Atlético River Plate, Chelsea F.C., Football Club Internazionale Milano, A.C. Milan, Genoa Cricket and Football Club, Football Club Internazionale Milano, Football Club Internazionale Milano, Parma Football Club, Argentina national under-23 football team, Argentina national football team, Genoa Cricket and Football Club
The details

Hernán Jorge Crespo (Spanish pronunciation: [erˈnaŋ ˈxorxe ˈkɾespo]; born 5 July 1975) is a retired Argentine footballer, current coach and the marquee player for the Kolkata 5s Futsal team in the Premier Futsal league. A prolific striker, he has scored over 300 goals in a career spanning 19 years. At international level, Crespo scored 35 goals and is Argentina's third highest goalscorer behind only Gabriel Batistuta and Lionel Messi. He played in three FIFA World Cups: 1998, 2002, 2006. At club level, Crespo was the world's most expensive player when he was bought by Lazio from Parma in 2000 for €56 million (£35.5M). He was top scorer in the 2000–01 Serie A with 26 goals, playing for Lazio.
Crespo's awards include three Serie A scudetti, a Copa Libertadores, a Premier League title and an Olympic Games silver medal. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. Crespo never received a red card during his career.

Club career

River Plate

Crespo made his debut with River Plate during the 1993–94 season, scoring 13 goals in 25 league appearances as River Plate won the Apertura league title. In 1996, he helped River win the Copa Libertadores, scoring twice in the home leg of the final in Buenos Aires.


Crespo left River Plate for Parma on 14 August 1996 after he won the silver medal with Argentina at the 1996 Summer Olympics and finished as the top scorer with six goals. He failed to score in his first six months at the club and was routinely booed, with head coach Carlo Ancelotti coming in for much criticism for keeping faith with the selection of Crespo. His faith, however, vindicated: The young Argentine went on to score 12 times in 27 matches in his first Serie A season and Parma finished runners-up to Juventus. The turning point was the standing applause he received for his brace against Cagliari in March 1997. Parma won the 1998–99 Coppa Italia and he scored the opening goal in Parma's 3–0 UEFA Cup final victory over Marseille. He had scored 80 goals in four seasons.

Record transfer to Lazio

In 2000, Lazio broke the then-world transfer record by paying £35 million (they paid £16 million in cash and transferred Matías Almeyda and Sérgio Conceição) to acquire Crespo, who in turn finished as Serie A's top scorer with 26 goals. Lazio, however, failed to defend its league title in 2001, and the following season, Crespo suffered from some injuries, while new signings Jaap Stam and Gaizka Mendieta failed to live up their reputations, following the departures of playmakers Juan Sebastián Verón and Pavel Nedvěd. Crespo was left without the attacking support he had enjoyed in 2001, but still scored a respectable haul of goals. Lazio's financial problems, however, forced the club to sell several players, and following Alessandro Nesta's transfer to Milan, speculation over Crespo's future intensified.


On 31 August 2002, Crespo, expected to shine again after suffering from injuries, signed with Internazionale as a replacement for the departed Ronaldo for a €26 million fee and Bernardo Corradi. Lazio later re-valued Corradi to €5.5 million. Inter was short of strikers after the highly rated Mohamed Kallon was injured in August and only Álvaro Recoba and Christian Vieri, together with reserves Bernardo Corradi and Nicola Ventola, were available.

Crespo scored seven goals in three appearances, along with 9 goals in 12 Champions League matches, until he was shelved for four months by injury in early 2003.


Crespo was transferred to Premier League club Chelsea on 26 August 2003 for a fee of reported £16.8 million, however also created a controversy in alleged false accounting. Following the transfer, Christian Vieri, Crespo's former strike partner at Inter, claimed that the club are essentially "weakening" by selling players of such caliber. He made his league debut on 30 August 2003 as a substitute for Adrian Mutu in a 2–2 home draw against Blackburn Rovers. On 16 September 2003, Crespo made his European debut, replacing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the 2003–04 Champions League group stage, which ended in a 1–0 away win after a late goal from William Gallas against Sparta Prague. Four days later, he scored his first goals, a double, in a 5–0 away victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Crespo made 31 appearances (including 19 in the league) in all competitions, scoring 12 goals.

Milan (loan)

After José Mourinho took over as Chelsea manager for the 2004–05 season, Crespo became surplus to Chelsea's plans following the arrival of Didier Drogba and was loaned to Milan, as requested by then manager Carlo Ancelotti. He scored a total of ten league goals, and scored twice in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final in a defeat to Liverpool.

Return to Chelsea

After Chelsea's failed attempts to land a big-name striker during the summer of 2005, Mourinho needed competition for striker Didier Drogba and decided to recall Crespo from Milan, convincing him that he had a future in England. Crespo made his first return appearance in a 2–1 FA Community Shield win over Arsenal. He scored his first league goal of 2005 against newly promoted Wigan Athletic in the 93rd minute of Chelsea's season opener in a 1–0 win, with a left foot curler into the top corner from 25 yards. The 2005–06 league title was Crespo's first league title victory in European football.

Return to Inter

Second spell; loan from 2006 to 2008

Crespo with Inter in 2007.

Though he scored 13 goals in all competitions and won the 2005–06 Premier League, Crespo requested a return to Italy in order to rejoin Milan, but Chelsea refused and announced that Crespo would remain a Chelsea player until the club accepted a suitable offer for him. On 7 August 2006, Crespo joined Inter on a two-year loan. He scored his 125th Serie A goal against Siena on 2 December 2006, and his 200th career goal in Europe on 2 April 2007. On 13 May, Crespo scored a hat-trick to help Inter defeat Lazio 4–3 and win the Scudetto. Two days earlier, he had appeared in training without his customary long hair, which he had grown out for over five years.

In scoring a Champions League goal with Inter, Crespo became the first player to score with five teams in the competition, doing so with each of the sides he had played for since moving from South America to Europe in 1996.

Third spell; permanent deal

Crespo was released from Chelsea on 3 July 2008, following the expiration of his contract, and was signed by Inter on a one-year contract for free. In the 2008–09 season, under José Mourinho, his former manager in Chelsea, Crespo only made 13 Serie A appearances, including two starts. He was excluded from the Champions League squad.


Following the expiration of his contract at Inter, Crespo was quickly snapped up by Genoa, taking Diego Milito's place, who moved in the opposite direction. On 8 June 2009, it was reported that Crespo had a medical check to formalize his transfer. Crespo cited his ambition to make the Argentina 2010 World Cup squad as one of his key reasons for making the move to Genoa. On 13 September, Crespo scored his first goal of the 2009 season against Napoli.

Return to Parma and retirement

In January 2010, Crespo returned to Parma after the club agreed the deal with Atalanta and Genoa. Crespo replaced Nicola Amoruso who left for Atalanta, while Atalanta's Robert Acquafresca moved to Genoa to replace Crespo. The Argentine striker returned after ten years to Parma. Crespo scored just once before the season's end, against Livorno. The striker enjoyed a more successful 2010–11 season, scoring 11 goals. In doing so, he became Parma's top scorer for a fourth time, which remains a post-war club record. Despite mounting speculation of his departure, Crespo signed a one-year contract extension on 30 June 2011. However, a lack of first-team opportunities saw Crespo and Parma mutually agree to terminate his contract on 2 February 2012, although he did vow to return to the city he had fallen in love with. He is the club's all-time record goalscorer with 94 goals in 201 appearances.

Although Crespo was signed to play in Bengal Premier League Soccer in late January 2012, with a salary of £533,000 for the two-month tournament, the competition never got underway. He clarified that his career as a football player had finished in November 2012.

International career

Crespo with Argentina in 2007

Crespo won his first cap for Argentina in a friendly match against Bulgaria in February 1995. He was a member of the Argentina side that finished runners-up in the 1995 King Fahd Cup, the predecessor to the FIFA Confederations Cup.

In 1996, Crespo was a member of the Argentina men's football squad for the Olympic Games. Crespo helped take Argentina to the final with braces against Spain in the quarter-final and Portugal in the semi-final. However, Argentina lost the final to Nigeria, despite Crespo scoring his sixth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot.

Crespo scored his first goal for the Argentina senior team in a 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ecuador and hit a hat-trick against FR Yugoslavia in a pre-World Cup friendly. Crespo was called up to the final roster for the 1998 FIFA World Cup but only made one substitute appearance, as Gabriel Batistuta led the Argentine attack. Crespo missed his kick in the second round penalty shootout with England but Argentina progressed 4–3.

During qualification for the 2002 World Cup, Crespo was top scorer for Argentina with nine goals as they topped the South American group. During the finals, Batistuta was again preferred to Crespo as Argentina's starting centre forward. Crespo appeared as a substitute in all three group matches, including the final match against Sweden, which Argentina needed to win in order to qualify for the second round. Though Crespo scored an 88th-minute equaliser, it was not to be enough and Argentina were eliminated.

After the 2002 World Cup, Batistuta retired from international football and Crespo took over as Argentina's number 9. During the 2006 World Cup qualifying stage, Crespo scored seven times, including two goals in Argentina's 3–1 World Cup qualifying win over arch-rivals Brazil in Buenos Aires, which made him Argentina's career scoring leader in World Cup qualifiers.

Crespo scored Argentina's first goal of the 2006 World Cup in their opening match against the Ivory Coast. He also scored in the second group game against Serbia and Montenegro and the second round match against Mexico. However, Argentina's run was ended as they were knocked out by host nation Germany on penalties in the quarter-final.

Crespo's final appearances for Argentina came at 2007 Copa América. He scored twice in Argentina's 4–1 victory over the United States in their Group C opener, tying Diego Maradona's team scoring record. He then overtook Maradona in Argentina's second match, scoring a penalty kick against Colombia. However, he substituted immediately after converting the kick due to injury and missed the remainder of the tournament.

After the Copa América, Crespo did not receive any further call ups to the national team and ended his international career with 35 goals in 64 matches, making him Argentina's third highest goalscorer of all time, behind Gabriel Batistuta and Lionel Messi.

Style of play

Crespo was a fast, tenacious, powerful, and complete striker with good technique and an eye for goal, who excelled in the air. A prolific and opportunistic goal-scorer, he was capable of finishing well both with his feet and with his head, and was known for his ability to score acrobatic goals. He was also effective off the ball due to his work-rate, tactical intelligence, and attacking movement, which he often used to provide depth for his team or create space for his teammates. Due to his goalscoring ability and wide range of skills, he is regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, and as one of Serie A's best ever foreign players. Despite his ability, he faced several injuries throughout his career, which limited his playing time at times.


While commonly known as Hernán, Crespo was christened Hernando Jorge Crespo, after his grandfather of the same name. His most common nickname is "Valdanito", after legendary compatriot striker Jorge Valdano, as he was thought to be his heir due to their similar appearance and eye for goal. He is also called, although less often, "El Polaco" (or "The Pole") because his grandmother was Polish.


Crespo was sponsored by sportswear company Nike and appeared in Nike commercials. In a global Nike advertising campaign in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Crespo starred in a "Secret Tournament" commercial (branded "Scorpion KO") directed by Terry Gilliam, appearing alongside football players such as Thierry Henry, Ronaldo, Francesco Totti, Ronaldinho, Luís Figo, Roberto Carlos and Hidetoshi Nakata, with former player Eric Cantona the tournament "referee".

Coaching career

On 12 November 2012, Crespo announced that he would pursue a career in coaching and would begin work in July 2013 at the earliest.

He served as youth coach for the Primavera team of Parma during the 2014–15 season. After the disbandment of Parma, on 30 June 2015 Crespo was announced new head coach of Serie B club Modena. He was sacked on 26 March 2016.

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1993–94 River Plate Primera División 25 16 3 0 28 16
1994–95 18 4 4 2 22 6
1995–96 21 4 13 10 34 14
1996–97 Parma Serie A 27 12 1 0 28 12
1997–98 25 12 2 0 8 2 35 14
1998–99 30 16 7 6 8 6 45 28
1999–2000 34 22 2 0 5 3 4312 26
2000–01 Lazio 32 26 1 0 6 2 403 28
2001–02 22 13 4 4 7 3 33 20
2002–03 Internazionale 18 7 0 0 12 9 30 16
2003–04 Chelsea Premier League 19 10 0 0 2 0 10 2 31 12
2004–05 Milan Serie A 28 11 1 1 10 6 404 18
2005–06 Chelsea Premier League 30 10 5 1 1 0 5 2 425 13
2006–07 Internazionale Serie A 29 14 4 4 6 1 406 20
2007–08 19 4 5 2 5 1 29 7
2008–09 14 2 3 0 0 0 17 2
2009–10 Genoa 16 5 1 0 4 2 21 7
Parma 13 1 0 0 13 1
2010–11 29 9 2 2 31 11
2011–12 4 0 2 2 6 2
Total 453 198 40 22 3 0 106 51 608 271
1Includes 1 appearance in the 1999–2000 Serie A play-off for 2000–01 UEFA Champions League
2Includes 1 appearance and 1 goal in the 1999 Supercoppa Italiana
3Includes 1 appearance in the 2000 Supercoppa Italiana
4Includes 1 appearance in the 2004 Supercoppa Italiana
5Includes 1 appearance in the 2005 FA Community Shield
6Includes 1 appearance and 1 goal in the 2006 Supercoppa Italiana


Argentina national team
Year Apps Goals
1995 1 0
1996 2 0
1997 9 3
1998 3 3
1999 4 1
2000 8 4
2001 6 6
2002 4 2
2003 5 3
2004 4 1
2005 7 6
2006 6 3
2007 5 3
Total 64 35

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 30 April 1997 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Ecuador 2–1 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 8 June 1997 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Peru 2–0 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 20 July 1997 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Venezuela 2–1 Won 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
4 24 February 1998 Mar del Plata, Argentina  Yugoslavia 3–1 Won Friendly
5 24 February 1998 Mar del Plata, Argentina  Yugoslavia 3–1 Won Friendly
6 24 February 1998 Mar del Plata, Argentina  Yugoslavia 3–1 Won Friendly
7 4 September 1999 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Brazil 2–0 Won Friendly
8 26 April 2000 Maracaibo, Venezuela  Venezuela 4–0 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
9 29 June 2000 Bogotá, Colombia  Colombia 3–1 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
10 19 July 2000 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Ecuador 2–0 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
11 3 September 2000 Lima, Peru  Peru 2–1 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
12 28 February 2001 Rome, Italy  Italy 2–1 Won Friendly
13 28 March 2001 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Venezuela 5–0 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
14 28 April 2001 La Paz, Bolivia  Bolivia 3–3 Drew 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
15 28 April 2001 La Paz, Bolivia  Bolivia 3–3 Drew 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
16 3 June 2001 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Colombia 3–0 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
17 15 August 2001 Quito, Ecuador  Ecuador 2–0 Won 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
18 12 June 2002 Rifu, Miyagi, Japan  Sweden 1–1 Drew 2002 FIFA World Cup
19 20 November 2002 Saitama, Japan  Japan 2–0 Won Friendly
20 9 September 2003 Caracas, Venezuela  Venezuela 3–0 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
21 15 November 2003 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Bolivia 3–0 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
22 19 November 2003 Barranquilla, Colombia  Colombia 1–0 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
23 30 March 2004 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Ecuador 2–2 Drawn 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
24 9 February 2005 Düsseldorf, Germany  Germany 2–2 Drew Friendly
25 9 February 2005 Düsseldorf, Germany  Germany 2–2 Drew Friendly
26 30 March 2005 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Colombia 1–0 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
27 8 June 2005 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Brazil 3–1 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
28 8 June 2005 Buenos Aires, Argentina  Brazil 3–1 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
29 12 November 2005 Geneva, Switzerland  England 2–3 Lost Friendly
30 10 June 2006 Hamburg, Germany  Ivory Coast 2–1 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup
31 16 June 2006 Gelsenkirchen, Germany  Serbia and Montenegro 6–0 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup
32 24 June 2006 Leipzig, Germany  Mexico 2–1 Won 2006 FIFA World Cup
33 28 June 2007 Maracaibo, Venezuela  United States 4–1 Won 2007 Copa América
34 28 June 2007 Maracaibo, Venezuela  United States 4–1 Won 2007 Copa América
35 2 July 2007 Maracaibo, Venezuela  Colombia 4–2 Won 2007 Copa América



River Plate
  • Argentine Primera División: 1993 (Apertura), 1994 (Apertura)
  • Copa Libertadores: 1996
  • Coppa Italia: 1998–99
  • UEFA Cup: 1998–99
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 1999
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2000
  • FA Community Shield: 2005
  • Premier League: 2005–06
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2004


  • UEFA Champions League: 2005
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2006, 2008
  • Serie A: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09


  • 1995 Pan American Games: Gold Medalist
  • 1996 Summer Olympics: Silver Medalist


  • Argentine Primera División top scorer: 1994 (with River Plate)
  • 1996 Summer Olympics: Top Scorer
  • 1999 UEFA Cup Final: Man of the Match
  • Coppa Italia Capocannoniere: 1998–99 and 2006–07 with 4 goals in 4 matches
  • Serie A Top Scorer: 2000–01
  • ESM Team of the Year: 2000–01
  • FIFA 100
  • 2006 FIFA World Cup: Silver Boot
  • 2006 FIFA World Cup: All-Star Team
  • FIFPro World XI Nominee: 2005, 2006
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