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When three teams offered a 19-year-old an eight year contract (11th October, 2017)

Just how many players can you name who have the following descrption: He is a striker of great quality, and was a great promise of Spanish football, but his bad luck and some injuries denied him the opportunity to recover - he has never played more than one season in the same team.

This is the story of a player - a technically and physically excellent striker - who made mistakes and suffered injuries very young and never really recovered.

Born in Santa Eulàlia de Ronçana, Barcelona, Iván Peñaranda started his youth career at Granollers. His real formation, however, was in the lower categories of Barcelona, ​​in which he stayed for seven years (1991-98). Playing alongside Xavi Hernández, Gabri and Carles Puyol. He was considered as one of the young players with a huge future within the club.

In the summer of 1998, he angered Barcelona by using "change of residence" as an excuse to sign for Mallorca B (he would move there along with his family), where he would play alongside players like Diego Tristán, José Jesús Perera and Albert Luque. Iván later said that Serra Ferrer (then director of youth football) was extremely angry. "For five months I could not play because Barcelona challenged the signing. But in the end everything went well."

But his problems with Barcelona did not end there. In September 2000, after a tough fight with Real Madrid and Barcelona, AC Milan got his services, matching the eight-year contract that the Spanish clubs offered. However, the decision to play in Italy cost him, because Barcelona considered that the player was theirs and, therefore, it took time for his transfer to Italy to take place. And when it did bad luck ran into him again, as a ligament injury set him back. By the time he recovered in Milan there were many doubts with him and he only played a few minutes in two friendlies with the team. His debut was against modest Luino, a debut he called "brief but intense".

Midway through that 2000-01 season he returned to his country and was loaned to Sporting de Gijón B, in the third level. It was his first loan spell - and Sporting had high hopes. Sporting had the intention of first gaining experience in Mareo and then gradually integrate him with the first team, but eight games and one goal later his performances did not convince and he was out by the end of the season.

Subsequently, Peñaranda began a series of loan spells that sometimes barely lasted a few months. His second was at Granada in the summer 2001 by coach Manuel Ángel Muñiz. However, barely nine days after his arrival, before even signing a deal, he announced that he was unilaterally leaving the club due to "lack of opportunities". During those nine days he had only played one friendly match against Macarena - at 0-0, in the 89th minute, he missed a penalty.

From there he was loaned to Sabadell (February 2002), where - despite not shining in the 12 goalless games he played - drew the attention of owner/manager Dimitri Piterman, who decided to sign him for Palamós thinking that he had in his hands a cash cow. However, with the pair quickly feuding, which led to the player's release within just three weeks, Iván was stuck at Milan - at a club who wanted to unload him at all costs.

In the 2002-03 season, he surprisingly got his first opportunity in elite football - at Santa Clara, in the highest tier of Portuguese football. However, the season came and went, with the Azores side eventually suffering Primeira Liga relegation, and Iván playing one game - 20 minutes actually, in a 0–5 away loss against Vitória de Guimarães. In the summer of 2003 he returned to Spain, playing for division three's CD Toledo.

From then onwards, Peñaranda's career went downhill as he never settled in a team and often changed countries, until his definite release by Milan**. He played in Mexico for C.F. Pachuca (summer 2004), in Bosnia and Herzegovina for FK Slavija (also 2004), back in Spain for Sporting Mahonés (November 2004) and Vall d'Uixó (2005), in Azerbaijan with Neftchi PFK* (summer 2005), back in Spain with Burriana (February 2006) and Calasparra (summer 2006).

If you're counting, Iván Peñaranda Llauradó had 13** different loan spells from AC Milan.

Afterwards, he would play for Spain in the fourth tier, with Ciudad Lorca (signed in 2007), Mataró (October 2008) and Ronda (December 2008), before retiring in 2009 at the age of 28. Now, at 36, Peñaranda works at a cooperative that fosters the social integration of disabled people, is a trainer at the Vallès school of football and has set up a soccer agency so that players do not repeat his mistakes.



*He appeared in the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League preliminary rounds with the club

** Technically 12, if you disregard Granada, where he didn't officially sign a loan deal. In fact, it might be 11, as it is not clear if he was released by Milan in June 2006 and signed permanently for Calasparra, or that it was a loan deal and Milan released him in 2007.

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