Juan Pablo Ángel, a name to send goosebumps shooting up the arms of any Villa fan. The Colombian maestro signed for Aston Villa in 2001, for a club record fee of £9,500,000. The forward would have had no idea how much of an impact he would make to young and old Villa fans alike, and how he was about to sign his signature into Villa history.
Joining as one of South America’s fabled goal machines, hopes were high for the forward initially, but at first he just didn’t live up to the hype. He made his home debut in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur just eight days after he signed for the club, but struggled with form for a number of months before fully settling in to B6, after family issues dogged his initial time at Villa.
In his second season, he repaid the faith that the chairman had placed in him by splashing a club record fee, scoring 16 goals in 34 games. The Colombian was exactly what the side needed, and was a breath of fresh air in the Premier League. His technique and ability at holding the ball up, as well as the South American flair that he added to the side was something that the fans loved. It didn’t take long for the fans to be singing his name.
Current Villa captain John Terry would perhaps not have fond memories of Ángel, who scored an awe-striking goal against the former Chelsea captain. There are fond memories for fans though. The Colombian whizz proved himself to the Villa faithful, and they fell head over heels for him. In six years, he appeared 205 times for the club, scoring 62 goals. For younger fans, he was the Benteke of his time, but better to watch.
Not only was he a talented forward, but he was in love with the club. Every goal, every assist, every pass played from his feet, they were for Aston Villa, and more importantly they were for the fans. For a South American moving to the toughest league in the world, he made his mark and many former players will only speak highly of him.
Nowadays, Angel is 41 years old and retired from football after spending the rest of his career in North and South America. He was the second Villa player to surpass 20 goals in one season during the Premier League era, only then equalled by Christian Benteke. His talent was something to be admired, and he is a player that should be looked up to by the younger Villans as someone to admire.
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