Goal.com's countdown to the greatest player of 2008 continues with Pichichi winner and Euro 2008 champ Daniel Güiza. The striker swapped Spain for Turkey, revealing that he did not feel wanted enough in his homeland after a summer that saw him win a European Championship with Spain...
49 - Javier Zanetti - Internazionale, Serie A - Score: 1104
48 - Daniel Güiza - Mallorca, La Liga & Fenerbahçe, Süper Lig - Score: 1086
Daniel Güiza's rise to fame in his homeland, together with his effective cameo appearances at the summer's European Championship, had not gone unnoticed by clubs elsewhere on the continent. Sevilla and Barcelona were allegedly sniffing around Real Mallorca's former hitman, and if press reports were to be believed then the aforementioned clubs had to contend with AS Roma, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, and also Arsenal - who had to offer Togolese targetman Emmanuel Adebayor a mega money new deal after the 30-goal striker realised he had attracted attention elsewhere.
Fenerbahçe though were the only club to fully cement their interest, and Güiza now plays in the well-worn colours of the Kadıköy in Istanbul.
Guiza has been fairly anonymous in his rookie season in the Champions League this term having only scored the one goal in a 3-1 away loss to FC Porto. The Spaniard suffered the effects of his compatriot Luis Aragones' caution and was often the fulchrum of a blunted attack in front of a reluctant five-man midfield.
"The Turkish league is a lot harder. The pitches are not as good as in Spain because the grass is longer and drier and other players can kick you more without a foul being given," he is recently quoted to have said.
He is not short on confidence though and gave himself instant credibility in Turkey as he scored the winning goal in one of the most highly anticipated games in the Süper Lig calender: the Istanbul derby at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium. Guiza was fed an overhead through ball where he charged through and audaciously lobbed Rüştü Reçber.
Where Güiza gets the nod for inclusion in Goal.com's Greatest Player of 2008 though is his form for Mallorca, and his efforts in a Spanish shirt.
By the end of the 2007-08 season the Barralets had recorded an impressive goal haul in La Liga. Only Real Madrid (84), Barcelona (76) and Sevilla (75), had netted more times, and Guiza's 27 goals - not one from the penalty spot - went a long way in bolstering that grand tally, and it is also a tidy sum that saw him win the Marca awarded Pichichi trophy.
It truly was a notably campaign for the ex-Getafe striker and he was worthy of his inclusion in Luis Aragones' Euro 2008 Spain side. Fans of Mallorca were so upset at news that their new found striking sensation was to leave the club that 'Not For Sale Signs' begun to be paraded here, there, and everywhere:
"Güiza not for sale, he’s the key to our future, the voice of the fans and a part of the club’s history."
His goals for Spain proved handy too. Even though the eventual winners had already qualified from the group stage, Güiza's late strike against Greece ensured that the Spanish went through to the knock out stages with maximum points. A missed penalty against the Italians in the quarter final was not enough to shatter the 28-year old's confidence, as he went on to net the second goal in Spain's emphatic 3-0 victory over Russia in the semis.
Euro 2008 winner - Spain (June/ July)
La Liga Pichichi winner (May)
Goal.com Best Forward La Liga (June)
Uefa's La Liga Team Of The Year (June)
Most expensive foreign player to be transferred to Süper Lig (July)
Alan Dawson, Goal.com