Capdevila in action for Catalonia in 2013
|Full name||Joan Capdevila Méndez|
|Date of birth||3 February 1978|
|Place of birth||Tàrrega, Spain |
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Left back|
|2000–2007||Deportivo La Coruña||179||(15)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Over 15 seasons in La Liga, he amassed totals of 410 matches and 36 goals, mainly for Deportivo and Villarreal. In a 21-year senior career, he also played professionally in Portugal, India and Belgium.
Early years / Deportivo
Born in Tàrrega, Lleida, Catalonia, and a product of RCD Espanyol's youth system, Capdevila started playing football as a forward, and he made his debut for its first team during the 1998–99 season in a 2–2 La Liga draw at Athletic Bilbao. He joined Atlético Madrid the following year.
After the Colchoneros' relegation, Capdevila signed with Deportivo de La Coruña in the summer of 2000, and would be a regular fixture in the team as left-back, first competing with Enrique Romero then as the undisputed first-choice. On 16 September 2006, he scored twice as the Galicians overcame Villarreal CF 2–0 at the Riazor Stadium.
For the 2007–08 campaign, Capdevila moved to Villarreal on a three-year deal, and played in all the league games except two for a side that finished runners-up, achieving direct qualification to the UEFA Champions League. He produced similar numbers in his second year, bettering his goal total in the process (five).
In the 2009–10 season, with no real competition for his position, Capdevila continued to figure prominently, only missing one league match – the defender added another five goals, but his team could not qualify for the UEFA Europa League this time after finishing seventh. On 6 December 2009 he scored twice in a 3–2 home win against Getafe CF, precisely the side that prevented the Valencians from reaching that achievement, even though they were later reinstated at the expense of RCD Mallorca.
Midway through 2010–11, Capdevila faced stiff competition from José Catalá, even being relegated to the bench on occasion. He did finish the campaign with more than 40 official appearances, including nine in Villarreal's Europa League semi-final run, where he scored in a 3–2 home win against eventual winners FC Porto (4–7 aggregate loss).
On 21 July 2011, aged 33, Capdevila moved abroad for the first time, joining S.L. Benfica of Portugal on a two-year contract. On 20 August he made his official debut in a 3–1 Primeira Liga victory over C.D. Feirense at the Estádio da Luz, but was not included in the squad for the group stages of the Champions League, which prompted rumours that he would seek to leave in the January transfer window. Manager Jorge Jesus confirmed that another newly signed, Brazilian Emerson, would be first-choice left-back and that the Spaniard would find it difficult to be included in matchday squads.
However, during the final stages of the season, Jesus gave Capdevila a long run as a starter, and he made his Champions League debut for the Lisbon club on 4 April 2012, playing the second leg of the quarter-finals against Chelsea, a 1–2 loss at Stamford Bridge (1–3 on aggregate). He was also the habitual first-choice during the domestic League Cup, which Benfica won for the fourth time in a row, and finished the campaign with 12 competitive matches.
On 27 July 2012, Capdevila agreed on a return to his first professional club Espanyol. He was released alongside Simão Sabrosa on 22 May 2014, after only ten overall appearances in his second season.
On 16 July 2014, Capdevila signed for NorthEast United FC, as their marquee player ahead of the inaugural Indian Super League season. He said: “India is a huge country and it should be a privilege for me to be a small part in popularising this global game here and working with the young talented footballers of North East India”. He started in the franchise's first match, a 1–0 win over the Kerala Blasters at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, being deployed by manager Ricki Herbert as a central defender. On 27 November, in a 3–0 home defeat of league leaders Chennaiyin FC, he was sent off after 72 minutes for a second yellow card, as his team went on to rank in last position.
Capdevila changed countries again on 21 January 2015, joining Belgian Pro League's Lierse SK. In May, he suffered a knee injury in training, ruling him out for six months; he returned to the Iberian Peninsula on 1 June 2016, signing for FC Santa Coloma, champions of Andorra's Primera Divisió.
On 5 July 2017, 39-year-old Capdevila announced his retirement.
Capdevila played for Spain at the 2000 Summer Olympics, winning the silver medal and converting his penalty shootout attempt as his team lost the final to Cameroon. He made his debut for the full side on 16 October 2002 in a 0–0 friendly draw to Paraguay, scoring his first goal in an UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Sweden on 17 November 2007, a 3–0 win; previously, he made the country's final squad for Euro 2004 as an injury replacement for Míchel Salgado, but did not leave the bench.
On 6 February 2008, Capdevila scored the winner in Spain's 1–0 win over France in a friendly in Málaga. He was subsequently called up to the squad for Euro 2008, where he featured in all the games save one for the eventual champions. During the tournament he established himself as first-choice, his clearance in the dying seconds against Sweden being a crucial part of David Villa's late winner to make the score 2–1; together with right-back Sergio Ramos and central defenders Carles Puyol and Carlos Marchena, he helped keep clean sheets during all three matches of the knock-out stages.
During the first game of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup on 14 June 2009, Capdevila set up Fernando Torres's third goal of his hat-trick, and also assisted for Cesc Fàbregas's second international goal as Spain thrashed New Zealand 5–0 – in fact, all five goals were created from the left wing, with him playing a crucial part in the Spanish attack. In the second game against Iraq, three days later, he assisted Villa's on his 55th-minute goal (the match's only), which allowed for a run to the semi-finals of the competition. Eventually he, Puyol, Villa and Torres were named in the team of the tournament, as the national side finished third. During the group stages of the competition, he provided the most assists (three) and made the joint second–highest number of solo runs (ten).
On 20 May 2010, after appearing in all the matches during the qualifying stages, contributing with one goal in Spain's 4–0 home win against Armenia, Capdevila was selected by manager Vicente del Bosque to the squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he played all the games and minutes for the eventual champions, being the only member of the starting line-up for the final who was not a Real Madrid or FC Barcelona player, considering Villa had been signed by the latter days before the tournament. He was among the top ten players of the competition in terms of distance covered, having run 71.79 km.
Style of play
An offensive–minded left-sided full-back or wing-back, Capdevila was known for his speed and passing ability, which enabled him to get forward, make overlapping runs, provide width to his team and link-up with the attack. Regarded as one of the best left-backs in the world in his prime, although he was not as flashy as other players in his position, he was also known for his leadership and consistency as well as his defensive ability, although he was stronger in the offensive aspect of his game.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Espanyol B||1997–98||Segunda División B||45||4||—||—||—||—||45||4|
|Atlético Madrid||1999–2000||La Liga||31||2||4||0||—||5||1||—||40||3|
|NorthEast United||2014||Indian Super League||12||0||—||—||—||—||12||0|
|Lierse||2014–15||Belgian Pro League||4||0||0||0||—||—||—||4||0|
|Santa Coloma||2016–17||Primera Divisió||2||2||0||0||—||2||0||—||4||2|
|Santa Coloma total||2||2||0||0||—||4||0||—||6||2|
|1.||17 November 2007||Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain||Sweden||1–0||3–0||Euro 2008 qualifying|
|2.||6 February 2008||La Rosaleda, Málaga, Spain||France||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|3.||31 May 2008||Nuevo Colombino, Huelva, Spain||Peru||2–1||2–1||Friendly|
|4.||10 September 2008||Carlos Belmonte, Albacete, Spain||Armenia||1–0||4–0||2010 World Cup qualification|
- FIFA World Cup: 2010
- UEFA European Championship: 2008
- FIFA Confederations Cup third place: 2009
- "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2010. p. 29. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "Joan CAPDEVILA Méndez" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
- "Los goles de Capdevila garantizan las victorias del Villarreal" [Capdevila goals equal Villarreal wins] (in Spanish). El Economista. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Martín, Luis (17 October 2009). "Capdevila: "Soy un jugador de segunda fila"" [Capdevila: "I'm a second-rank footballer"] (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "La maldición del lateral izquierdo del Deportivo" [Deportivo's left-back curse] (in Spanish). Vavel. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
- Capdevila makes Deportivo proud; UEFA, 16 September 2006
- Capdevila veers towards Villarreal; UEFA, 25 June 2007
- Villarreal comeback stuns Getafe; ESPN Soccernet, 6 December 2009
- Falcao record as Porto progress; ESPN Soccernet, 5 May 2011
- "Capdevila opts for pastures new with Benfica". UEFA. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- Mateus, Luís (20 August 2011). "Benfica-Feirense, 3–1 (crónica)" [Benfica-Feirense, 3–1 (match report)] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
- "Benfica 3–1 Feirense". Sky Sports. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
- Level crossing; Sky Sports, 8 September 2011
- Juventus target Benfica's Joan Capdevila; Goal, 5 September 2011
- 'Benfica's Joan Capdevila would accept Napoli move' – agent; Goal, 7 September 2011
- Joan Capdevila is not our first choice left-back – Benfica's Jorge Jesus; Goal, 9 September 2011
- Shaky Chelsea hold off ten-man Benfica; UEFA, 4 April 2012
- "Benfica bate Gil Vicente e conquista a 4ª Taça da Liga (vídeo)" [Benfica beat Gil Vicente and conquer 4th League Cup (video)] (in Portuguese). Sábado. 15 April 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "Capdevila preparado para um novo impulso na carreira no Espanyol" [Capdevila prepared for new career boost at Espanyol] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Capdevila, quart fitxatge (Capdevila, fourth signing); RCD Espanyol, 27 July 2012 (in Catalan)
- "Capdevila y Simao dejan el Espanyol" [Capdevila and Simao leave Espanyol] (in Spanish). Marca. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Bali, Rahul (16 July 2014). "Capdevila: 'It's a privilege to popularise football in India'". Goal. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Ganguily, Abhishek (13 October 2014). "ISL: NorthEast United ride high on Koke, beat Kerala Blasters 1–0". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "ISL: NorthEast United thrash leaders Chennaiyin FC 3–0". The Times of India. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "Capdevila: 'Als je 36 bent, zitten clubs niet langer op je te wachten'" [Capdevila: 'Since I am 36, clubs just do not sit and wait for you'] (in Dutch). Het Nieuwsblad. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Fin de carrière pour Capdevila (Lierse), blessé six mois?" [End of career for Capdevila (Lierse), injured for six months?] (in French). RTBF. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Joan Capdevila fitxa pel Santa Coloma d'Andorra" [Joan Capdevila signs for Andorra's Santa Coloma] (in Catalan). L'Esportiu. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Joan Capdevila, Villarreal's World Cup winner, retires". Villarreal USA. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
- "Cameroon's "Indomitable Lions" win shootout over Spain to take Olympic gold". Soccer Times. 30 September 2000. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- España gusta, golea y a la EURO (Spain pleases, routs and goes to EURO); UEFA, 18 November 2007 (in Spanish)
- "Goodbye pharoes, hello Faro". UEFA. 12 June 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- Capdevila tumba a Francia (1–0) (Capdevila downs France (1–0)); La Verdad, 7 February 2008 (in Spanish)
- Hanagudu, Ashwin (26 April 2016). "Spain's Euro 2008 winning squad – Where are they now?". Sportskeeda. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- "La Roja lean to the left". FIFA. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Puyol, Capdevila, Villa y Torres, en el once ideal de la web en la FIFA" [Puyol, Capdevila, Villa and Torres, in FIFA's web All-Star IX] (in Spanish). Marca. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- "The group stage's statistical stars". FIFA. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Fletcher, Paul (11 July 2010). "Netherlands 0–1 Spain (aet)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Spector, Jesse (18 December 2010). "Final World Cup leaders". New York Daily News. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Davies, Nick (4 July 2010). "2010 FIFA World Cup: Germany vs. Spain, the battle of the midfields". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Burt, Jason (7 July 2010). "Germany v Spain: player ratings". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Hughes, Rob (8 July 2010). "Puyol, a star on defense, wins it with offense". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Burt, Jason (9 July 2010). "World Cup final: Holland discipline vs Spain's 'tiki-taka' tactics". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Walsh, Kristian (9 July 2010). "World Cup final: how Holland can stop Spain". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Amies, Nick; Hermann, Matt (11 July 2010). "Spain, Netherlands gear up for clash to be world's best". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- James, Stuart (11 July 2010). "World Cup final: Holland v Spain player ratings". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- D'Souza, Callum (14 October 2010). "Ranking the ten best left backs in world football". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- Cox, Michael (21 June 2013). "Star backs are fully involved in Brazil". ESPN. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- "Meet Spain's 2010 World Cup team". Fox Sports. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- "Capdevila: Joan Capdevila Méndez". BDFutbol. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Capdevila". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Joan Capdevila". European Football. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
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