When Alvaro Negredo followed team-mate Jesus Navas from Sevilla to the Etihad Stadium, not that much was known of the powerful centre-forward.
Negredo had started out with Rayo Vallecano’s B team, reaching double figures in his first two senior years with the then third tier side and earning him a promotion to the senior squad.
Negredo has been tracked by Real Madrid who decided to take on the promising youngster and played him in their second team.
After two years but precious few senior opportunities with the Real Madrid senior side, Negredo joined La Liga side Almeria and his 32 goals in 73 starts won Negredo a move to Sevilla where he forged an excellent understanding with Navas, becoming one of Spain’s most prolific strikers over the course of the next four years as well as winning international recognition with Spain.
Manuel Pellegrini knew the striker well from his time as Malaga boss and after securing Navas, he made Negredo his top priority and City returned to Sevilla and secured the services of the Spaniard.
In an early interview, Negredo revealed his nickname in La Liga was ‘The Beast’ – and it wasn’t long before City fans took him up on the offer – so much so, that his family thought the Blues’ fans were booing him every time he touched the ball when in fact it was shouts of ‘Beast!’ they could hear.
Negredo gave a taste of what was to come in the pre-season Audi Cup game against Bayern Munich, racing clear of the home defence to slot a low shot into the bottom corner to give City the lead.
He made his Premier League debut a fortnight later. Coming on as sub in a 4-0 win over Newcastle and scored his first goal in his next game, a 3-2 defeat at Cardiff City – the beginning of a spectacular start to his City career as Negredo and Sergio Aguero forged a lethal partnership for the Blues.
With 23 goals under his belt by the time City had booked a place in the Capital One Cup final at the end of January, Negredo was on course for a total in the mid-30s – until he chased an innocuous ball into the corner at West Ham and damaged his shoulder in a nasty fall.
City were 9-1 up on aggregate by that point and many wondered why such a risk should be taken with such an in-form striker.
Negredo never seemed to rediscover his red-hot form after returning from injury, failing to score another goal as his confidence drained - though he had more than played his part in City’s Premier League and Capital One Cup triumphs that season, ending the campaign with 23 goals from 48 appearances.
Recalling his time with City, Negredo admits he felt Manuel Pellegrini lost faith in him somewhere along the line and his form suffered as a result.
“I knew at Sevilla, all the coaches had confidence in me,” he said. “At City, I had that during one third of the season with Pellegrini, then I didn’t. I think that’s what I, as football player need, in order to be happy.
“Why did I leave City? It was a decision you make at that time and, well, I don’t regret it, but I think that I made a mistake to go back to Spanish football when I was doing things well in the Premier League. It ended up badly for me.
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