* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Oleguer Presas Renom (born 2 February 1980), known simply as Oleguer, is a Spanish retired footballer. Primarily a central defender, he could also operate as a defensive right back.
During his career he was mostly associated to Barcelona, with which he won two La Liga championships and the 2006 Champions League, appearing in 175 official games.
Oleguer signed for Ajax in 2008, where he remained until his retirement. He was also known for his politics: he supported left-wing causes and Catalan nationalism, which caused some controversy and led to one sponsor dropping him.
Born in Sabadell, Barcelona, Catalonia, Oleguer started his career at modest CD Lepanto, a club from his hometown. In 1997 he joined neighbours UDA Gramenet from CE Sant Gabriel, making his senior debut two years later whilst at the service of the former.
At 21, Oleguer signed with FC Barcelona, spending his debut season with the B-side. He would make his first-team debut during a 2002–03 UEFA Champions League match against Galatasaray SK, a 3–1 home triumph where he came on as a late substitute for Frank de Boer. During that season he played for both teams goalkeeper gloves sale, on occasion being a last-minute addition to the main squad.
On 17 May 2006, Barça beat Arsenal to win the Champions League for the second time in its history. Oleguer was in the starting eleven, but on the day he appeared tense and slow, struggling to neutralize Freddie Ljungberg’s runs down the wing and more importantly not being able to stop Sol Campbell scoring the opening goal. In the 71st minute he was substituted in favour of Juliano Belletti by manager Frank Rijkaard, and the Brazilian went on to score the decider with less than ten minutes to go.
Oleguer signed a contract extension in July 2006, keeping him with the club until 2010. He had the honor of captaining the team for the first time in their initial pre-season game of the 2006–07 campaign, in recognition of his work over the last few seasons. With the arrival of Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram, he found himself coming on from the bench in the first few matches of the season; on 29 November 2006, he was awarded the President Companys award for his efforts in promoting the official recognition of Catalan sports at an international level.
2007–08 started positively in sporting terms, as Oleguer became a fixture in Rijkaard’s starting eleven. However, he was accused of assaulting a policeman during an incident in a bar in Sabadell which occurred in 2003. He also spoke out against the banning of the Catalan national team by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, when the former played a friendly against the United States in conjunction with FIFA-recognized international matches in that same week.
On 9 February 2008, in a La Liga match against Sevilla FC, Oleguer broke a bone in his left hand. He was operated on but he spent six weeks on the sidelines, and he took almost no part in the team’s campaign overall; Barcelona finished third, and his only competitive goal took place on 24 April 2005 when he opened a 4–0 league success at Málaga CF.
On 29 July 2008, Oleguer signed a three-season deal with AFC Ajax, which paid €3 million plus 2.25 million in variables, including an option for another year. Manager Marco van Basten said: “I am happy that we have acquired Oleguer. His qualities fit exactly with what Ajax needs. We are all convinced of that. He has the right age, experience at a high level and is a real defender”.
On 18 October 2008, Oleguer scored a rare goal, the game’s only in a home win over FC Groningen. He had an extended run during his first season due to injuries to teammates, but played mostly as backup to Belgian youngsters Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
After only appearing in seven official games for the Amsterdam team in 2010–11, 31-year-old Oleguer was released by Ajax goalie jerseys soccer.
Oleguer majored in economics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. On 30 March 2006 he published his first book with recollections on his youth, early career and the league triumph of 2004–05 (and the subsequent street parade through the Avinguda Diagonal in Barcelona). The book, called Camí d’Itaca (The Road to Ithaca), dealt with such varied subjects as childhood anorexia, the antifascist struggle and the previous Spanish government’s involvement in both Gulf Wars.
Though injured just before the end of the 2005–06 season in a Champions League match and forced to miss the league-winning match against Celta de Vigo, Oleguer was able to return to the pitch to play in the next match at the Camp Nou when the trophy was presented to the team. True to form, he celebrated wrapped in the colors of the senyera estelada, the Catalan independence flag.
Oleguer had sympathies with left wing and Catalan nationalist causes, and was asked by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation to play a charity match in Chiapas, Mexico, during the summer of 2005. Later that year, he was invited to take part in a meeting of shortlisted players for the Spanish national squad, an invitation that he accepted only to tell manager Luis Aragonés he did not feel motivated enough to be selected.
On 7 February 2007, in an article written for Basque language newspaper Berria, Oleguer questioned the validity and independence of legal and judicial processes in the Spanish state, using the example of convicted ETA member Iñaki de Juana and his hunger strike to question those processes. His decision to write the article brought veiled criticism at Barcelona, both from coach Rijkaard and President Joan Laporta, as well as earning him disrespectful remarks from fellow professional Salva Ballesta.
As a direct result of the article, Oleguer lost his boot sponsorship with sports firm Kelme, and he subsequently signed for Diadora. He also became the subject of a strong public backlash among some elements in Spain, and was regularly heckled and booed in some of the country’s football stadiums due to the article and his pro-Catalan independence stance. When asked about whether he felt that he should not have written the piece, he replied, “The consequences I suffer are nothing compared to what many people go through. What did sadden me, though, was that most people didn’t actually read the piece. If people engaged in dialogue with intelligence and still disagreed, then fine, but they didn’t” toothpaste dispenser as seen on tv.
In 2010, Oleguer appeared at a protest in Amsterdam against the Dutch ban on squatting. His club Ajax had no problems with his presence, because he only participated in the peaceful sections of the protest dry pak.