Born: 21 February 1974, San Sebastián, Spain

Age: 44

Age in 2005: 31

Premier League Clubs: Bolton Wanderers (2002-08)

Position: Defender/Midfielder


The moment Iván Campo pulled into Bolton town centre, and took his first breath of air - a mix of the fresh scent from Jumbles Country Park in the north and the smell of chips from Wigan in the west - he knew he was home. 


What was originally meant to be only a brief loan spell turned into a six-year stint with the Trotters, as the Spaniard would later declare that, as a cultural centre, the Lancashire town beat Madrid ​hands down. Nobody bothered to find out whether he was joking or not, but judging by his decision to swap the beautiful sandy beaches of Valencia and Mallorca for the Ye Olde Pastie Shop and Bolton petting farm, he wasn't. 

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers

(Above: Adopted Mackem Julio Arca competes with adopted Trotter Campo for title of 'Weirdest Exotic Player at a Northern Club 2005')


Campo began his career in the third tier of Spanish football with Deportivo Alavés, where he began making a name for himself: El Pelos, meaning 'The Hair'. 


He also did alright on the pitch, attracting the interest of big spenders Valencia, who bought him for free. However, it wasn't long before Real Madrid would snap up the defender in August of 1998, a few years before they began purchasing some of the world's top players, including Jonothan Woodgate, Thomas Gravesen and Julien Faubert.


Nevertheless, despite winning the UEFA Champions League with Los Blancos in 2000, The Hair found himself becoming a scapegoat for the club's problems, as people within the Bernabeau continually insisted that he ​cut off his unruly mop perhaps so that he would look, and therefore play, more like Roberto Carlos. Frustrated, Campo gave the Real Madrid board an ultimatum: either he be allowed to keep his locks, or he would go. 

Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers

(Above: In 2007, The Hair very nearly tackled Wayne Rooney)


Soon after been transfer listed, free-spending Bolton Wanderers came knocking, buying Ivan The Terrible for free. 


It was at the Reebok Stadium that the fuzzy-haired defender (who had now been moved into midfield) saw his most successful string of performances, including a 43-yard screamer against Tottenham Hotspur in the league. 


He formed part of what became known as the 'Bolton Galacticos' due to the arrival of a number of high-profile signings and Nicky Hunt. Such was the enthusiasm around the Bolton camp that The Hair blurted out that he believed the club could qualify for the Champions League. Bolton were relegated from the Premier League four seasons later.

Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa

(Above: Campo still struggles to understand why some thought his style was unbefitting of a Galactico)


Meanwhile, his cult status was being cemented just a few miles away in the town of Preston. An indie acoustic band decided to name themselves 'Ivan Campo' as a way of paying homage to the Spanish player, with the lyric: "We'd do a moonlight flit to a foreign bed" quite clearly a reference to his goal against Blackburn. The 'Ivan Campo Appreciation Society' was started by a group of fans who admired the footballer's kind nature, yet soon closed down after a season in which he picked up the worst disciplinary record of any player ever. 


Mr Field (as his name translates) left Bolton after being told by new manager Gary Megson that he was surplus to requirements, and saw out the rest of his playing days with Ipswich in the Championship before retiring at AEK Larnaca at the fine old age of 36. 


Where is he now?


After packing in football, Campo went in search of the same buzz that came from winning the Champions League by starring in an advert for a fruit drink. 


What did he say?


"Sam Allardyce's man-management was the reason he was able to attract top talent such as Bruno N'Gotty"


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