FERNANDO MARTÍNEZ PERALES ‘NANDO’

Date of Birth: 21 May, 1967
Nationality: Spain (international from 1988 until 1993)
Period at Deportivo: 1992 - 1997/1998 (winter)
Transfer: Free Transfer (1992, Valencia)
Clubs: Arteixo, Compostela, Sevilla (1997-2000), Deportivo (1992-1997), Valencia (1987-1992), Sabadell, Mestalla, Levante
Sold: (1997/1998, to Sevilla)
Height: 172 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Position: Defender/Midfielder (left)

NANDO covered the left defensive spot of the team being named Superdepor mid-nineties, between 1992 and 1997. He has been one of the best defensive signings ever of Deportivo: coming for free but playing none less than 173 Liga matches for them in this period. Nando was part of the team winning the Copa del Rey in 1995, the first trophy ever of Deportivo.

The Valencia-born player was 20-years old when he made his debut for Valencia. Before doing so he had been playing in the region, with Levante, Mestalla and Sabadell. Back then he was a left midfielder, orientated at going into attack whenever possible. It earned him his first Liga match on 9 September, 1987 during a 3-3 draw at Celta de Vigo. His coach back than was legendary Alfredo di Stefano.

Short Nando, but gifted with a formidable match spirit, earned several entrances those weeks before becoming an important player at the club when 1988 started. He played a total of twenty-nine matches in his first season, and in January scored his first goal in the Primera División. With the score 2-0 in the advantage of Mallorca, Nando decreased this lead after seventy minutes before Fernando (player at the club from 1983 until 1998) and Madjer (who scored the famous winner for Porto in the 1987 European Cup final) earned them a 2-3 win.

Between 1988 and 1991 it was Nando who ruled the left side at Valencia and played eighty-seven matches in these three seasons. In his second season he produced he winner against Málaga, but Nando received nine yellow cards that campaign. Nevertheless, it earned him a call-up for the Spanish squad and aged just twenty-one he played during the 1-2 loss against Yugoslavia in September, 1988.

Nando was not extremely gifted with technical qualities, but his rushes at the left wing frightened opponents. In 1990 it earned Valencia a second place in the Liga with Valencia, and Nando produced four goals that season (and received only three yellow cards). But the best years at the club were now behind him when the next campaign started. Nando had lost his status, played only twenty-five matches (most of them as a substitute) while Valencia only finished seventh. When in 1991 the club signed Brazilian midfielder Leonardo, his changes almost completely disappeared. Dutch coach Guus Hiddink hadn’t much confidence in Nando, and he started just eleven Liga matches that season (and reached a total of twenty-two appearances).

1992 was the year when he was permitted to leave, and not by coincidence the year when Superdepor was formed. Nando was allowed to leave Valencia for free, and Lendoiro convinced him to sign at Deportivo until 1999. It proved to be a wise decision, because 25-year old Nando (with one cap behind his name) quickly conquered a starting position. Together with Liańo, Djukic, Ribera, Albístegui/Voro and López-Rekarte he would form the best Spanish defence of the mid-nineties.

Nando made his Liga debut for the Galicians on 6 September, 1992 together with Mauro Silva and Bebeto. It concerned a 2-0 home win against Celta de Vigo, and two weeks later he scored a vital winner against Osasuna (2-1). He only missed three Liga matches that season, scored Deportivo’s last goal of the campaign (against Rayo Vallecano) but received none less than eighth yellow cards. This had much to do with Nando being more a midfielder than a defender, and especially one with verbal comments towards the referee when he didn’t like certain things. Deportivo finished third that season, Liańo (and the Deportivo defence) won a Zamora trophy and Nando earned a second match with Spain (in January, 1993 against Mexico).

The best ever season of Nando, and probably of Deportivo too, was the one of 1993/1994 when the team lost the title on the final day of the season. Nando now missed just two Liga matches, both through suspension as he received eleven yellow cards that season. But he made up for it by producing four goals, of which three in the space of four days in April, 1994. These included a vital winner against Atlético de Madrid in Riazor. Nando was present when the team lost the title in the final Liga minute against his former team: Valencia. In fact, it was Nando who earned the penalty kick Djukic would miss later.

In the season 1994/1995 the men of Arsenio Iglesias continued what they had been doing before: they finished second in the Liga and had a formidable defence. Nando played thirty-one matches that season, missing some through injuries and suspensions. The player received nine yellow cards that season, and only ex-Valencia player Voro did ‘better’ with ten cards. But both men had proved the wrong of their former club in letting them go, as Deportivo conquered Spain those years. Nando was present when the team won their first ever trophy that season: the Copa del Rey against… Valencia. A Supercopa was added several weeks later.

But with the arrival of John Toshack at the club, the role of Nando changed. For he first time he had difficulties staying in the team, and only started eighteen out of fourty-two Liga matches in the season 1995/1996. He had a total of twenty-four appearances, but didn’t score a goal while Deportivo only finished ninth in the table. On petition of Toshack a new left defender was signed in the summer of 1996, being the French captain of their Olympic Team: Jérôme Bonnissel. Although the French defender started the season 1996/1997, he didn’t convince and Nando took over again. Despite a handful of yellow cards and two sending-offs (against Barcelona and Atlético), he missed just four matches that season when Deportivo finished third.

In the summer of 1997 the player could already take a satisfying look back to his career. From 1987 on (at Valencia and Deportivo) he had played at least twenty-two matches in every season, an average of more than thirty per season. He had produced fifteen goals in them, achieved three second places (1990, 1994 and 1995) and three third places (1989, 1993 and 1997). In 1992 he had finished fourth with Valencia, and since then he had played two matches for the Spanish national team.

But during the season 1997/1998 the legend of Nando at Deportivo would come to its end. This had much to do with the team playing their worst season since achieving promotion in 1991, and something not repeated since. Nando was sacrificed after three Liga matches (and receiving two yellow cards), and replaced by Bonnissel who finally took over his place in the team. His final Liga match at Deportivo was on 30 November, 1997 when he played the full ninety matches of the 2-2 home draw against Atlético.

During the winter months of the season he was sold to Sevilla, together with his colleague Alfredo. Sevilla played in the Segunda División that season, but with Nando in their team achieved promotion one season later. And so in 1999 the player (aged thirty-two) started his twelfth season in the Primera División, reaching a total of thirty matches that campaign (but missing some through suspensions). But Sevilla didn’t survive at the highest level, in the year when Deportivo clinched their first ever title. After Sevilla he moved back to Galicia to play at Compostela, and currently performs at Arteixo.
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