What ever happened to? Facundo Sava

Facundo Sava celebrating a goal with his mask.
In 2002 Fulham F.C. manager Jean Tigana signed a striker from Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata for a fee of £2 million. Sava was virtually unknown outside of South American football at the time, but he had a reasonable goalscoring record having notched 67 goals in 182 league games for Gimnasia.

Sava bagged his first goal in English football on 25 August 2002 scoring the equaliser in an unlikely last minute comeback from 2-0 down against Middlesbrough at the Riverside stadium. He got his second goal for the club in a 1-0 win against Charlton on 7 October 2002, this time he played his party piece, pulling a zorro mask from his sock to celebrate the goal. He later said that the only reason he didn't do it against Boro was that he had left his collection of 250 masks back in Argentina.

One of the highlights of his time in England was netting two goals in a 3-2 win against Liverpool to end a 6 game winless streak back in November 2002.

In 2003 big spending manager Jean Tigana parted company with Fulham, his replacement Chris Coleman decided to rebuild the team in his own style and Sava was soon loaned out to Spanish 2nd division side Celta Vigo.

Sava helped Celta win promotion to La Liga, but his loan spell was not renewed for the following season and he was loaned out to Lorca Deportiva, another Spanish 2nd division side.

Fulham and Sava finally parted company in 2006 after his contract expired, in his time with the club he scored a total of 6 league goals for Fulham in 26 games although he only started half of them. Overall he played 42 games in all competitions, but apart from his 6 league goals, he only netted one other in an FA Cup game against Birmingham on 5 January 2003.

Sava had a great two year spell with Racing Club after returning to Argentina.
After leaving Fulham Sava returned to Argentina where he excelled for Racing Club de Avellaneda scoring 29 goals in 66 league games between 2006 and 2008.

In the summer of 2008 he was surprisingly sold to Arsenal de Sarandí where he fared less well, only netting 3 goals in 21 appearances. The following season he joined Quilmes of the Argentine 2nd division where he endured another hard season, scoring only 4 times in 21 games.

In 2010 he returned to his first club Ferro Carril Oeste, as many Argentine players do as a closing point for their career. After 14 years away from Ferro he scored 2 goals in 6 games for his boyhood team before calling it a day in September 2010 at the age of 36.

Sava is a qualified social psychologist and is looking to use his knowledge in that area to help him become a successful manager. 


Sava will be remembered by Fulham fans for his goals, but for most people and football writers he will be remembered for inventing the silly mask celebration long before Newcastle's Jonás Gutiérrez spiderman celebration.


See also


Part of the What ever happened to? series.

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