Euro Whites: Cesar Martin

An unused member of the Spain squad the last time they failed to win the Euros, profile Sam Allardyce's last signing as Wanderers manager

An unused member of the Spain squad the last time they failed to win the European Championships back in 2004, profile a forgotten former Wanderer who was one of Sam Allardyce’s final signings back in 2007.

Spain (1999-2004)
Caps: 12
Goals: 3

European Championships: 1 (Euro 2004)
Best Stage Reached: Group-stages 

Tournament Appearances: 0
Tournament Goals: 0

Having seen Spain’s eight-year reign as European Champions ended by Italy, you have to go back to 2004 for the last time La Roja failed to win the tournament.

Head coach Inaki Saez named a star-studded squad, captained by Real Madrid superstar Raul, for the competition in Portugal, featuring a number of players who would go to enjoy multiple success with the national side such as Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Carlos Puyol, Fernando Torres and Xavi.

Another named amongst their party was Cesar Martin, a centre-back who would go on to became Sam Alladryce’s final signing at Bolton Wanderers in February 2007.

Born in Oviedo in 1977, the defender started his career with his local side Real Oviedo, turning out for the club’s ‘B’ side during the 1994/95 season.

A UEFA European Under-18 Championship winner with Spain in 1995, he broke into the Real Ovideo first team the following season and turned out over 100 times for the club in La Liga before signing for Deportivo La Coruna in a €7 million deal in 1999. 

Handed his international debut in August 1999 shortly after joining the club, Cesar completed the full 90 minutes as Spain clinched a 2-1 friendly victory over Poland.

On the scoresheet in his next two appearances for his country as his made his competitive international debut, the defender headed home as Spain claimed 8-0 and 3-0 victories over Cyprus and Israel in September and October 1999 respectively in Euro 2000 qualification.

A La Liga winner with Deportivo La Coruna in his maiden season with the club, it was not enough to secure his place in Spain’s squad for Euro 2000 as he would have to wait until March 2002 to win both his next call-up and cap.

A Copa Del Rey winner in 2002 as Deportivo La Coruna beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the final, he also helped the club lift Supercopa de Espana in both 2000 and 2002, as well as reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2004 and back-to-back quarter-finals in 2001 and 2002.

However, injuries would hinder Cesar’s time with the club with him never making more than 20 league appearances in a season. That, combined with the emergence of Puyol and Pablo Ibanez, also saw his opportunities limited at international level.

Despite winning a belated fourth Spain cap as a half-time substitute in a friendly clash with the Netherlands in March 2002, the defender missed out on a place in their squad for the 2002 World Cup, with sporadic appearance following in the build-up to Euro 2004.

Recalled for Spain’s opening qualifier against Greece, he came on as a late substitute as La Roja clinched a 2-0 victory in September 2002.

Cesar’s only other qualification appearance the following March as Spain fought out a 2-2 draw with Ukraine, while he would also complete 45 minutes in friendly meetings with both Germany and Ecuador.

Having to make do with a play-off spot after finishing behind Greece in their group, Spain were drawn against Norway as they looked to book their place at Euro 2004.

Sitting out the first leg as the Spanish clinched a 2-1 home victory, the defender played the full 90 minutes as Spain completed the job with a 3-0 away victory in the second leg.

Later involved in friendly clashes with Denmark and Italy, Cesar was included in Spain’s squad for Euro 2004 and would score in their final warm-up friendly in what would also prove to be his final international appearance, coming on at half-time in a 4-0 victory over Andorra.

Drawn in a group alongside Russia, eventual winners Greece and hosts Portugal, the defender watched on from the side-lines as Spain opened with a 1-0 victory over Russia before fighting out a 1-1 draw with Greece.

He was unused again as Spain faced off against Portugal in their final group outing, knowing a draw would be enough to secure their place in the knockout stages, however, it was not to be as a 1-0 defeat saw them suffer a shock early exit.

With his club opportunities increasingly limited following the tournament, Cesar signed for Levante UD in July 2006 having fallen out of favour with new Deportivo La Coruna manager Joaquin Caparros.

However, he was on the move again the following January after making just five appearances during his short stay with the club, cancelling his contract by mutual consent.

Brought to Bolton Wanderers by Sam Allardyce in February 2007, the defender would prove to be his final signing as Whites manager.

He made just one appearance during his time at the Reebok Stadium, coming on as an 89th minute substitute in Allardyce’s last game in charge of Bolton as the Trotters came from behind to draw 2-2 away at Chelsea, before being released by Sammy Lee at the end of the season. 

Returning to Spain, Cesar finished his career with spells at Segunda sides Hercules and Castellon before hanging up his boots in 2010, while he returned to his first club Oviedo last summer as Director of Institutional Relations.

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