Dani Güiza: A living (if "confused") legend returns to Spanish shores

Tim Stannard rejoices as Spain's fun-loving night owl heads home to join the team he said he never would... 

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It's a confession that a voice-trembling La Liga Loca was almost too embarrassed to reveal, considering the football legend who the almost-criminal oversight concerns. The problem was that the blog has not been as up to date on Paraguayan football as it had been in the past, and has been too caught up in the endless trivialities of the Clásico pair. If the blog had been paying due and proper attention, then LLL would have known that Dani Güiza was club-less and heading back to La Liga after a two-year exile in South America with Cerro Porteno.

Dani Guiza, Cerro Porteno

At Cerro Porteño, Guiza's no-look fouls didn't catch on

Oh Dani boy

For newbies to the blog, the name Dani Güiza may just be a flicker of a memory. On the pitch, the 35-year-old striker was one of the great unsung Pichichi winners, scoring 27 goals in 37 matches in 2008 for the mighty Mallorca, with not a single strike being a penalty.

In the same year, the Andalusian was part of Spain’s European Championship-winning squad, the one that transformed the country’s fortunes forever. However, the on-pitch life of Güiza is only one half of a remarkable story; that of a footballer who was one of the few ‘Guti' species left in the game: players who realised that getting paid loads for kicking a ball about was a pretty groovy thing overall.

Dani Guiza, Fenerbahce

Guiza joined Fenerbahce after Euro 2008, and spent three years there

While Güiza was always a forward who intelligently used his abilities to the max during his professional career, away from the game the former Getafe man isn't the smartest cookie in the tin. What’s more, the player was rather fond of a disco dance, training the next day be damned. This perhaps explains why Güiza was presented by third-tier side Cadiz on Saturday behind closed doors. During his spell at rival outfit Xerez back in the day, the player declared himself to be anti-Cadiz for life, a declaration jammed into the locals' memories. Some of them even called for death to the player from outside the ground in protest.

This declaration is just one of many “dumb things” that Güiza has pulled off in his life, as he admitted before the media. But he claimed he had matured and was going to turn the animosity of some fans around upon his return to Andalusia, where the footballer will have to battle the temptations of life after sundown.

A lost soul

During Güiza’s first spell at Getafe, the forward admitted that the night “confused” him. The person who mainly suffered was club president Angel Torres, who complained that he would be woken up in the middle of the night by phone calls from his footballer who'd got lost while ‘exploring’ the nocturnal life of Spain’s capital. These outings eventually forced the club to put Güiza on a diet of pureed food to help with the stomach problems he began to suffer from.

If that wasn’t enough, Güiza also had a bit of an entourage who were popular participants in Spain’s beloved gossip TV shows, including his unconventional mother and his on-off partner, agent and occasional boob-flasher Nuria Bermúdez. To be fair to the FIFA agent, she did help to steady the striker’s ship. “Ever since Dani's been with Nuria, he turns up to training and it doesn't look like he's slept under a bridge,” said his manager at the time, Bernd Schuster.

Although Güiza will be out of the spotlight down in Segunda B, it's only fitting that a footballer who's played such an important role in the rich tapestry of La Liga over the past decade has returned. This is a player who was one of the last ‘humans’ to be the league’s top scorer and was able to grasp the joys to be found away from the pitch. It’s good to be back.

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