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Reina, Pepe

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by Kurt Henriksen



Date of Birth - 31/08/82

Nationality - Spanish

Position - Goalkeeper

Squad Number - 25

Cost - £7m

Club Hons (Lpool) - Super Cup 2006, FA Cup 2006

Club Hons (other) -

Intnl Hons - Spanish Caps

Other Clubs - Barcelona, Villarreal


Jose Manuel Reina Páez was born in Madrid on 31th of August 1982, a son of former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Reina Santos. Even though Jose (known as 'Pepe') was born in Madrid, he started his career with rivals FC Barcelona, playing 49 matches for the Catalans before moving to Villareal on loan in 2002. At Villareal he earned a reputation as one of the most promising goalkeepers in Spain, and the move was made permanent in 2004.


The following season Pepe Reina was an integral part of the Villareal side that qualified for the Champions League, where he saved 7 out of 9 penalties in the process. His rapid development was closely monitored by Rafa Benitez, who managed to sign him for Liverpool shortly after the triumph in Istanbul 2005. On the 17th of August the same year, he made his first appearance for Spain.


His first season at Liverpool proved he was much more than potential with an incredible 20 clean sheets in 33 league games. The season ended in triumph for Pepe when Liverpool beat West Ham in the FA Cup Final. It was a day of mixed emotions for the keeper, as he felt he was to blame for two of the Hammers goals, but he also made a miraculous stop in the final minute of extra time before cementing his reputation as a spot kick saving specialist by keeping out three out of West Hams four penalties.


Over the course of the next few years, Reina proved himself to be arguably the best keeper in the Premier League, and one of the best in Europe. Unfortunately for him, international recognition was very difficult to come by as he was up against Real Madrid star Iker Casillas, widely regarded as the best in the business. If Pepe had been born in any other country he'd be first choice for his national side, but he has to play second fiddle to Casillas for Spain.


A strong character with great self belief, Pepe has proved to be a very astute signing by Benitez. He has his best years ahead of him, and he looks set to make the Liverpool goalkeeper jersey his own for many years to come.

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