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Fullname: Joos Valgaeren
Born: 3 Mar 1976
Birthplace: Leuven, Belgium
Signed: 289 July 2000
Left: 31 May 2005
Position: Central Defender, Left-back
International Caps: 19
International Goals: 0
Belgian defender Joos Valgaeren was born in Leuven in March 3, 1976. He began his football career with Belgian club KV Mechelen, and was relatively unknown until National coach Robert Waseige plucked him from the Dutch League, where he was playing for Roda JC. He went on to play 19 times for the Belgian national side.
A strong performance in Euro 2000 saw him linked with a number of English clubs, including Leeds and Sunderland (who were rumoured to be prepared to offer £7m to secure the player) before he was signed on a five year contract by Martin O’Neill for Celtic in July 2000 at a cost of £3.8m. As such he was, along with Chris Sutton (who was signed earlier in July of the same year), one of Martin O’Neill’s first Celtic signings. Overshadowed by the other big name signings of the era, people seem to forget that he was also meant to be a blue chip signing.
Valgaeren did prove his worth as a key player for the first couple of seasons of his Celtic career, and was able to chip in with some good goals too. In the defence he was part of possibly our most imposing central defence ever joining Mjallby and Balde in a backline three. O'Neill liked the old style hard men in defence and this was clearly in evidence in the one Valgaeren played in, even declaring at one point: "Joos is as strong as an ox and could go on to play for one of the top sides in Europe".
Possibly the greatest individual moment for him was scoring against Juventus in the wonderful 4-3 victory at Parkhead in the Champions League, but he also managed to even grab a goal against Rangers in a 2-1 win just a month later (Nov 2001). Probably his best purple patch of form in a Celtic jersey.
His initial popularity even inspired a terracing chant (to the tune of chart hit (sic!) "Who let the Dogs Out") #Who Kept the Huns Out? Joos, Joos, Joos Joos Joos#. Who says the Belgians are boring?
Deemed to have some pace and strength, they were good qualities but overall really didn't match up to the price tag he had hanging over him which he couldn't live up to into the longer run but was still very much a valuable player in the squad.
One difficult game for Valgaeren was the 1-0 defeat to Valencia in the UEFA Cup in Dec 2001. Having help set up Larsson for a goal in the match, he later missed a penalty in the shoot-out after the aggregate scores were tied. However, he was permitted to retake it and missed again! We went out but he wasn't at fault, as he wasn't the only one to miss and Celtic players have had a poor history with penalties for some reason which wasn't addressed still for many years later.
He seemed to lose his form into season 02/03, one of the lowlights of which was his poor clearance in the UEFA Cup final in Seville which led to Porto’s opening goal (he eventually went off injured). It wasn't the first time he'd come unstuck against Porto, as in the 3-0 defeat to them in the previous season in the Champions League he'd similarly had a very poor game. Against teams of a much higher quality in Europe he could be found out (or at least our tactics could be).
However he was a mainstay in the squad throughout that glorious season of 2002-03, and had many good games.
One problem was that the original 3-5-2 formation that was used worked well domestically, but under pressure in Europe it could be a liability. When Martin O'Neill amended the formation to a more traditional 4-4-2, Valgaaren was the one pushed out to left-back to accommodate his colleagues, and it didn't suit him at all. Combined with injuries (which lost him a yard or two of pace), he didn't match again his great first season form.
Away from the pitch, Valgaeren was one of the players at the centre of the farcical “Thugs and Thieves” Daily Record headline in 2002 after being arrested outside 'Buffalo Joe's' during a team Christmas night out in Newcastle (along with Johan Mjallby and Bobby Petta). It was a ridiculous situation which the paper was in the wrong for but Valgaeren like the rest of the players came out of it unscathed.
His fourth season at Celtic was hampered by further injuries and he never really recaptured his form thereafter, plus was used far more sparingly than before. He was allowed to leave the club (free transfer) when his contract expired in 2005 and signed for Club Brugge KV. In July 2008 he moved to FC Emmen after an injury riven time at Club Brugge.
We wish him the best.
Anecdote(BeerGoggler of KDS)
When we had the big man over for a supporters function in the Europa Hotel Belfast he was great craic.
Brought some family members with him too for a tour. Keeping Bottles of Bud inside his suit jacket pockets everywhere he went and pretending he didn't understand any english at all to dodge autograph hunters.
We let him witness a Belfast riot , took a Belfast taxi tour then he poured his own Guinness in Cassidy's bar and ate half a pot of Irish Stew by himself then phoned up Henrik Larsson (Hands-free) to amuse the locals.
Then beat Tommy Johnson in an arm-wrestling competition before getting the late flight back to Glasgow half-monkeyed.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish/FA Cup||League cup||Other|
|FC Bruges||01/08/2005||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||1 (0)||0|
|Celtic||28/07/2000||31/05/2005||£3,800,000||112 (4)||7||12 (1)||1||9 (0)||0||36 (4)||2|
|Roda JC||01/08/1998||28/07/2000||No appearance data available|
|Totals||£3,800,000||112 (4)||7||12 (1)||1||9 (0)||0||37 (4)||2|
|goals / game||0.06||0.07||0||0.04|
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
|2000-2005||112 (4)||12 (1)||9 (0)||36 (4)||169 (9)|
Honours with Celtic[...]
Football: JOOS TWO BAD; Valgaeren pays the penalty for double miss as Celtic crash out.Dec 2001
Link to this page
Byline: IAIN CAMPBELL
JOOS Valgaeren last night admitted he felt guilty after he missed twice in the penalty shoot-out which sent Celtic crashing out of the UEFA Cup.
The Belgian saw his first effort saved by Valencia keeper Santiago Canizares only for the referee to order a re-take, which the defender also missed.
Valgaeren said: "The guys all said that somebody had to take the penalties and somebody was going to miss.
"But I still feel guilty.
"It was really one of the worst experiences I've had because to miss two penalties and go out is quite incredible.
"I don't know why the referee made me retake it, whether the keeper moved or not and I just decided to go a different way for the second one. Perhaps the keeper was trying to play mind games with me when I took the first one, I don't know.
"I don't know how I really feel at the moment, I will only be able to know that tomorrow."
But gutted Celtic boss Martin O'Neill praised his fallen heroes and refused to point the blame at the players who missed the spot kicks - Henrik Larsson, Stilian Petrov and Valgaeren.
However, he admitted that his biggest disappointment was the players didn't manage to win in normal time.
He said: "It was an immense performance and the players deserved to go through in 90 or 120 minutes. When it comes to penalties it's a lottery but it's part of the rules.
"The boys did tremendously well against a side which has just been in two Champions League finals and we were much the better side on the night.
"The players are disappointed.
"It's hard on those boys who took the penalties but at least they took them.""
And he insisted he was delighted for Rangers who won on penalties in Paris. He said: "I'm pleased Rangers are through because it's good for Scottish football."
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