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Fernando Gago
Fernando Gago (Roda de premsa).jpg
Gago with Real Madrid in 2010
Personal information
Full name Fernando Rubén Gago
Date of birth (1986-04-10) 10 April 1986 (age 38)
Place of birth Ciudadela, Argentina
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current club Guadalajara (Manager)
Youth career
1991–2004 Boca Juniors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2006 Boca Juniors 61 (1)
2007–2012 Real Madrid 92 (1)
2011–2012 Roma (loan) 30 (1)
2012–2013 Valencia 13 (0)
2013 → Vélez Sársfield (loan) 3 (0)
2013–2019 Boca Juniors 85 (5)
2019–2020 Vélez Sarsfield 14 (0)
Total 298 (8)
National team
2003 Argentina U17 5 (0)
2005 Argentina U20 15 (0)
2008 Argentina U23 9 (0)
2007–2017 Argentina 61 (0)
Teams managed
2021 Aldosivi
2021–2023 Racing Club
2024– Guadalajara
Men's Football
Representing  Argentina
FIFA World Cup
Runner-up 2014 Brazil
Copa América
Runner-up 2015 Chile
Runner-up 2007 Venezuela
Summer Olympics
Gold 2008 Beijing Team Competition
FIFA U-17 World Cup
Bronze 2003 Finland
FIFA World Youth Championship
Winner 2005 Netherlands U-20 Team
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Fernando Rubén Gago (Spanish pronunciation: [feɾˈnando ˈɣaɣo]; born 10 April 1986) is an Argentine football manager and former player. He is the current head coach of Liga MX club Guadalajara.

During his 16-year club career, limited by multiple serious injuries, Gago played as a defensive midfielder and deep-lying playmaker for Boca Juniors, Real Madrid, Roma, Valencia and Vélez Sarsfield.

A full international from 2007 to 2017, Gago represented Argentina at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and at the Copa América in 2007, 2011 and 2015, as well as winning a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. As a manager, he led Aldosivi and Racing Club in the Argentine Primera División, winning two super cup honours with the latter.

Club career

Boca Juniors

Born in Ciudadela, Greater Buenos Aires, Gago came from the youth divisions of Boca Juniors. He had his professional debut with Boca in the 1–0 victory over Quilmes on 5 December 2004, in the Torneo Apertura. On 1 October 2006, he scored the first professional goal of his career and the only one of his initial Boca spell in a 3–2 win over Vélez Sarsfield at La Bombonera.

Real Madrid

On 21 December 2006, Real Madrid confirmed the signing of Gago on a 612-year contract for a fee of €20 million, effective from the turn of the calendar year. His signing came shortly after that of fellow Argentine youngster Gonzalo Higuaín from River Plate, and teenage Brazilian full-back Marcelo.

He made his debut on 7 January 2007 in a 2–0 loss at Deportivo de La Coruña in La Liga, partnering Emerson in defensive midfield at the expense of Mahamadou Diarra and being substituted for forward Ronaldo after 58 minutes; local sports daily Diario AS commented that he barely influenced the game. On 20 May, away to Recreativo de Huelva in the 35th match, he gave away a penalty but in added time assisted Roberto Carlos for the 3–2 winner as Real Madrid maintained their league challenge, eventually winning the league.

Albiol, Gago
Gago (right) playing for Real Madrid in September 2009

In August 2008, Gago injured his left knee ligaments in a friendly against Peñarol, and missed the start of the new season. He returned on 17 September for a UEFA Champions League game against FC BATE Borisov, leaving the game after 36 minutes due to his left femural biceps and being sidelined for another month. On 7 December, he scored his only goal of his 121 Real Madrid games, equalising in a 4–3 loss to Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium; on 31 January 2009 he was given his only red card for the club in a 2–0 win away to Numancia.

Before the 2009–10 season, Gago ceded his number 8 shirt to new signing Kaká to take the number 5 vacated by Fabio Cannavaro's return to Juventus; he had coveted the number as it had been worn by Zinedine Zidane before. Gago did not play any games for three months for Real Madrid around the turn of 2009 to 2010. Under new Madrid manager José Mourinho from 2010, Gago struggled to receive playing time due to both a lengthy injury spell and Mourinho's preference for the tandem of Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira in defensive midfield.

Loan to Roma

On 31 August 2011, Gago moved on loan to Italian Serie A side Roma, with a view to a permanent move, until the end of the 2011–12 season. His number 5 jersey was conferred to the recently signed Nuri Şahin, formerly of Borussia Dortmund. Upon arriving in the Italian capital, he refuted suggestions that he was too similar to his new teammate Daniele De Rossi, by saying that the pair had differences that would work well together.

Gago made his debut on 11 September in a 2–1 home loss to Cagliari, as a substitute for Aleandro Rosi for the last 15 minutes. He scored his only goal for Roma against Lecce on 20 November, a long-range strike in a 2–1 victory; two weeks later he was sent off in a 3–0 defeat at Fiorentina.

Compared to his previous seasons at Real Madrid, Gago's one year at Roma was untroubled by injury. After a 7th-placed finish, the Giallorossi were unable to meet Madrid's offer of €7 million to make his deal permanent.

Valencia and Vélez Sarsfield loan

On 19 July 2012, shortly after returning from loan to Real Madrid, Valencia purchased Gago for a reported fee in the region of €3.5 million, on a four-year deal. He debuted on 19 August, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 away draw against his previous club.

In January 2013, Vélez Sársfield signed Gago on a six-month loan without a buying option. He had previously rejected offers from Russia and Turkey. His brief spell at El Fortín was marred by further muscle and knee problems. In his seven games, he managed one goal, concluding a 3–0 home win over Chile's Deportes Iquique in the second stage of the 2013 Copa Libertadores on 20 February.

Return to Boca Juniors

Boca Juniors bought 50% of Gago's playing rights from Valencia for a fee of €1.7 million in July 2013. He signed a three-year deal in the aim of making the Argentina squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On 13 September 2015 in the Superclásico away to River Plate, he left the game after 24 seconds due to a left Achilles tendon injury; he returned to action in late January.

On 24 April 2016, Gago suffered the same injury after 44 minutes at home to River Plate, returning at the end of November. In March 2017, his contract was extended for three more years. He suffered another injury on international duty that October, and did not recover until May 2018.

Boca Juniors reached the 2018 Copa Libertadores Finals against rivals River, and the second leg had to be played at Gago's former club ground in Madrid due to hooliganism. He came on in the 89th minute for captain Pablo Pérez just before the game went to extra time, and suffered another Achilles injury in the 116th minute. Having used all four substitutes and had Wilmar Barrios sent off, Boca fell to a 3–1 loss with nine men.

Return to Vélez Sarsfield

Ahead of the 2019–20 season, Gago was released by Boca and signed a one-year contract with Vélez Sarsfield. His new manager was his former Real Madrid and international teammate, Gabriel Heinze. He made his comeback after nine months on 24 August 2019 in a 3–1 home win over Newell's Old Boys. In November 2020, he announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 34.

International career

Ricardo Quaresma (L), Fernando Gago (R) – Portugal vs. Argentina, 9th February 2011 (1)
Gago challenging for the ball against Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal in a 2011 friendly

Gago was part of the under-20 squad which won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. He made his senior international debut on 7 February 2007 in a 1–0 friendly win away to France. He played in the 2007 Copa América, and was part of the team which won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

Gago was one of over 100 players used by Diego Maradona in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification, but also one of the highest-profile absentees for the final tournament in South Africa. He returned to the squad for the 2011 Copa América.

Gago was named in Argentina's 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He made his World Cup debut in Argentina's 2–1 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Estádio do Maracanã, coming on as a half-time substitute for Hugo Campagnaro. He was named in the starting line-up for the team's second match, a 1–0 win over Iran in Belo Horizonte, and remained a starter until being replaced by Lucas Biglia in the quarter-finals. Gago replaced Enzo Pérez after 86 minutes of the final, which Argentina lost 0–1 to Germany after extra time.

On 5 October 2017, Gago returned to the national team against Peru. In his final international match, he suffered cruciate ligament injuries to his right knee.

Style of play

Gago relished operating in a holding role at Boca Juniors, functioning as a deep-lying playmaker in front of the defence, due to his intelligence and ability to dictate play in midfield with his passing; he has also played in a similar role with the Argentina national team and other clubs. Upon arriving in Europe in 2006, Gago drew comparisons to compatriot and former Real Madrid man Fernando Redondo, due to his ability to build up play and break down the oppositions' attacks, thus enabling him to contribute both offensively and defensively. His Real Madrid profile described Gago as a "very dynamic footballer who predicates his game on ball movement". He is also capable of reaching the opponent's box, possesses a tremendous vision for the game, [he] can cover much ground and knows how to protect the ball.

Managerial career


On 17 January 2021, Gago was appointed manager of Argentine Primera División side Aldosivi. He lost 2–1 at home to Godoy Cruz on his debut on 14 February. He resigned on 27 September after a run of six consecutive defeats left the team in 23rd.

Racing Club

Gago returned to work on 21 October 2021, signing with Racing Club until the end of the following year. Two days later, he lost 2–1 on his debut at Rosario Central.

In June 2022, despite eliminations from the Copa Argentina and Copa Sudamericana, Gago's contract was renewed for another year. The team ended the domestic season as runners-up to Boca, who started the final day one point ahead as the teams drew their respective games; Racing had a penalty that would have won them the title, but River Plate's Franco Armani saved from Jonathan Galván. On 6 November, his team won 2–1 against Boca in the Trofeo de Campeones de la Liga Profesional with an extra-time goal from Carlos Alcaraz; the game had 11 red cards including for his celebration and opposing manager Hugo Ibarra.

In the 2022 Supercopa Internacional, played the following 20 January in Abu Dhabi, Gago's team again beat Boca by the same score via a penalty from Gonzalo Piovi in the seventh minute of added time. Racing fell to the same side in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Copa Libertadores on penalties, and days later were defeated 5–3 at home by Club Atlético Huracán in the last 16 of the Copa Argentina. On 30 September 2023, after losing 2–0 at home to Club Atlético Independiente in the Avellaneda derby and faced with pressure from the fans, he resigned.


On 20 December 2023, Mexican club Guadalajara announced Gago as their new manager.

Personal life

Gago, Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi had all been teammates as children back in Argentina. Together, the three of them won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands.

Gago is a literature and art enthusiast. The first thing he did after landing in Spain was visit the Museo del Prado. He earned the nickname "El Pintita" (roughly meaning "the little one trying to look good" in English) ever since Ramón Maddoni scolded him for playing with his hair. Also, his Boca Juniors teammates would call him so because his youth squad coach would scold him, "Stop trying to look good and run!"

Gago was married to professional tennis player Gisela Dulko with whom he has two sons and a daughter.

In September 2005, Gago's father died of a stroke while Gago was playing for Boca Juniors against Racing Club. In February 2021, his brother died in the same way while Gago was managing Aldosivi against the same club.

Career statistics


Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Boca Juniors 2004–05 Argentine Primera División 7 0 7 0 2 0 16 0
2005–06 34 0 1 0 2 0 37 0
2006–07 20 1 1 0 21 1
Total 61 1 8 0 5 0 74 1
Real Madrid 2006–07 La Liga 13 0 2 0 2 0 17 0
2007–08 31 0 4 0 6 0 1 0 42 0
2008–09 26 1 1 0 6 0 0 0 33 1
2009–10 18 0 2 0 2 0 22 0
2010–11 4 0 3 0 0 0 7 0
Total 92 1 12 0 16 0 1 0 121 1
Roma (loan) 2011–12 Serie A 30 1 2 0 0 0 32 1
Valencia 2012–13 La Liga 13 0 1 0 4 0 18 0
Vélez Sársfield (loan) 2012–13 Argentine Primera División 3 0 0 0 4 1 7 1
Boca Juniors 2013–14 Argentine Primera División 20 0 0 0 0 0 20 0
2014 10 1 0 0 6 0 16 1
2015 14 2 3 1 6 0 23 3
2016 11 0 0 0 6 1 1 0 18 1
2016–17 16 2 0 0 0 0 16 2
2017–18 6 0 6 1 0 0 12 1
2018–19 8 0 1 0 5 0 14 0
Total 85 5 10 2 23 1 1 0 119 8
Vélez Sársfield 2019–20 Argentine Primera División 13 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 16 0
2020–21 1 0 1 0
Total 14 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 17 0
Boca Juniors total 146 6 10 2 31 1 6 0 193 9
Vélez Sársfield total 17 0 0 0 6 1 1 0 24 1
Career total 298 8 25 2 57 2 8 0 388 12


Year Apps Goals
2007 13 0
2008 7 0
2009 7 0
2010 1 0
2011 7 0
2012 8 0
2013 3 0
2014 11 0
2015 3 0
2017 1 0
Total 61 0


Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Aldosivi Argentina 17 January 2021 25 September 2021 &&&&&&&&&&&&&026.&&&&&026 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 &&&&&&&&&&&&&016.&&&&&016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&030.&&&&&030 &&&&&&&&&&&&&045.&&&&&045 −15 &&&&&&&&&&&&&026.92000026.92
Racing Club 21 October 2021 30 September 2023 &&&&&&&&&&&&0109.&&&&&0109 &&&&&&&&&&&&&053.&&&&&053 &&&&&&&&&&&&&030.&&&&&030 &&&&&&&&&&&&&026.&&&&&026 &&&&&&&&&&&&0170.&&&&&0170 &&&&&&&&&&&&0119.&&&&&0119 +51 &&&&&&&&&&&&&048.62000048.62
Total &&&&&&&&&&&&0135.&&&&&0135 &&&&&&&&&&&&&060.&&&&&060 &&&&&&&&&&&&&033.&&&&&033 &&&&&&&&&&&&&042.&&&&&042 &&&&&&&&&&&&0200.&&&&&0200 &&&&&&&&&&&&0164.&&&&&0164 +36 &&&&&&&&&&&&&044.44000044.44



Boca Juniors

Real Madrid

Vélez Sarsfield

Argentina U20

Argentina U23



  • South American Team of the Year: 2005, 2006


Racing Club

  • Trofeo de Campeones de la Liga Profesional: 2022
  • Supercopa Internacional: 2022

See also

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