Saturday, March 17, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 61: Pepe Reina


Coming in at number 61 in our '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' countdown is current Reds shot-stopper Pepe Reina.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Pepe Reina

Years at Liverpool: 2005 to present
Position: Goalkeeper

Date-of-birth: 31/8/1982
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain

Signed from: Villarreal (July 2005)

Games: 53
Clean Sheets: 29

Honours: FA Cup (2006), Super Cup (2005)

Pepe Reina enjoyed a dream first season between the sticks at Anfield, setting a new club clean-sheet record and saving the vital spot-kick that confirmed FA Cup success against West Ham at the Millennium Stadium in May. Although born in Madrid, Reina started his career with Barcelona, for whom he made his debut when just 18 and played against Liverpool at Anfield in the 2001 UEFA Cup semi-final. With first team opportunities at the Nou Camp limited he joined Villarreal on loan in 2002 before making the switch permanent two years later. While at El Madrigal, Reina made a name for himself by saving seven out of nine penalties and helping Villarreal achieve an unlikely Champions League qualification berth. Reds boss Rafa Benitez was suitably impressed with the form of his compatriot and snapped him up for £6 million during the summer of 2005. Reina immediately replaced Champions League hero Jerzy Dudek as Liverpool's number one choice goalkeeper and didn't look back. His commanding presence inspires confidence all around him, while his exemplary shot-stopping and eye-catching agility makes him a very difficult keeper to beat. A total of 29 clean sheets in his first 53 games for the Reds is a stat that any of the world's greatest goalkeepers would be proud of and his eleven game run without conceding a goal midway through last season bettered that of every previous Anfield custodian. He capped his first season on Merseyside by boasting the most shut-outs in the Premiership and pulled off three stunning saves in the FA Cup Final penalty shoot-out to deny West Ham. It may still be early days in his career at Anfield but if José Manuel Reina Páez – to give him his full title – continues to progress at the rate he has done then expect the Kop to be shaken by him on countless more occasions in the future.

Claim to fame: Saving Anton Ferdinand's decisive spot-kick v West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup Final

Did you know? His father, Miguel Reina Santos was once a goalkeeper with Atletico Madrid

Rafa Benitez on Pepe Reina: "What can you say about a goalkeeper, who in his first season had more clean sheets than Clemence. He is a goalkeeper with a big future. He's quick, has a very good mentality. A very good goalkeeper."

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