Liverpool FC Player Profile – Jose ‘Pepe’ Reina

Jose Reina is Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper and rated by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world of football. Born in Madrid in 1982, Reina is the son of former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Reina, who also represented his country Spain.

Jose, nick named Pepe, Reina began his football career with the youth academy at FC Barcelona after initially playing in Barcelona’s reserve team he made thirty appearances for the first team in the 2000-2001 season, incidentally making two appearances against Liverpool in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup. The following season he was dropped from the Barcelona first team and secured a loan move to Villarreal in 2002 making his move permanent in 2004, he made over 100 appearances for the club. Reina signed for Liverpool in 2005 by then manager Rafael Benitez, who described him as the best goalkeeper in Spain.

Reina was immediately installed as the first choice goalkeeper at Anfield, making his debut against Welsh side Total Network Solutions in a Champions League qualifying game in July of 2005 and a month later he won his first cap for his national team Spain.

The Spaniard became an immediate favourite with the fans at Liverpool, famed for his accurate distribution of the ball and his fantastic penalty saves, he had saved seven of the nine penalties he faced in his previous season with Villarreal. During his first season at Liverpool he was part of the team that set a club record for eleven consecutive games without conceding a goal.

At the end of his first season with Liverpool, Reina played in the FA Cup Final against West Ham United. An amazing game saw the scores level at 3-3 after extra time and the match was then decided on penalty kicks, the amazing shot stopper then obliged by saving three of West Ham’s penalty kicks to secure a 3-1 shoot out victory for the Reds.

After his first fifty games for the Reds, Reina had not conceded a goal in twenty eight of those matches, setting a new club record which had been previously held by the legendary Ray Clemence. Later that season he was on hand again as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the Champions League semi-final, he followed in his father’s footsteps by appearing in the European Cup Final, unfortunately the Reds lost 2-1 to AC Milan in the final.

Having made over 300 appearances for the first team, Reina signed a new six year contract with Liverpool in 2010 and although he has still to become the first choice as goalkeeper for his national side he has already become a Liverpool legend.

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