AGONA Legends: Alejandro Dominguez, the gifted Argentine magician
In light of Argentinian magician Alejandro “Chori” Dominguez announcing his retirement in late June, the AGONA Legends series looks back at his wonderful career.
You couldn’t think of a more successful career spanning 19 years. In that time frame, Dominguez played for seven different clubs, with one of them being Olympiacos. In 2013, the attacking midfielder travelled to Piraeus at the age of 32, and he subsequently shone with the Erythrolefki as he won four straight Super League titles while capturing the fans’ hearts.
Asides from Olympiacos, Dominguez enjoyed most of his success in Russia, where he starred for Zenit Saint Petersburg and Rubin Kazan. Dominguez played for the superb Zenit side which took Europe by storm in 2008 by winning both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
ARGENTINIAN START, MAIDEN TRANSFER TO RUSSIA
Initially, Chori started out as a professional with Quilmes in 2000, later moving to River Plate where he claimed three national championships (2002, 2003, 2004). Additionally, he was also a member of the Argentina squad which won the 2001 FIFA Under 20 World Cup, a team containing the likes of Nicolas Burdisso, Maxi Rodriguez and Javier Saviola.
Impressing European scouts with his excellent performances, Dominguez was snapped up by Rubin Kazan in January 2004.
Dominguez remained in Kazan for exactly three years before Zenit signed him for seven million euros. A transfer which proved to be the turning point.
A PLACE IN THE ZENIT HISTORY BOOKS
November 11, 2007. The day when Dominguez etched his name into Zenit folklore.
On the final matchday of the 2007 Russian Premier League, Zenit needed to defeat Saturn in Ramenskoye to win their first title since the breakup of the USSR, and they were leading 1:0 in the last minute of play. All of a sudden, Saturn created a golden opportunity to score a heartbreaking equaliser, but Dominguez headed the ball off the line by making an incredible leap. Zenit supporters still regularly reminisce that historic moment which secured the championship:
Fast forward seven months to May, and Dominguez was celebrating his maiden European trophy.
Stunning Europe with their unique, exciting brand of football, Zenit powered to the 2007/2008 UEFA Cup, defeating Villarreal, Marseille, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Glasgow Rangers on their way to the trophy. Star man Andrei Arshavin was suspended for the second leg of the semi-final against Bayern Munich, but Dominguez came to the rescue for the Russians, dishing out a clever assist for the fourth goal in a 4:0 victory at the Petrovsky Stadium:
In the summer, Dominguez played 45 minutes of the UEFA Super Cup against Manchester United in Monaco, with Zenit emerging victorious 2:1. He then featured in the ensuing UEFA Champions League campaign.
MOVE BACK TO RUBIN
Frustrated by his lack of playing time with Zenit, he opted to make a return Rubin Kazan for the 2009 Russian Premier League.
Dominguez was simply unstoppable. Scoring 16 goals and making seven assists in just 23 games, the attacker inspired Rubin to first position of the standings, as the Tatarstan club finished eight points ahead of nearest challengers Spartak Moscow. In the 2009/2010 Champions League, Dominguez was once again Rubin’s leading light, registering two goals in the tournament and contributing with the assist for Gokdeniz Karadeniz’s famous winner against Barcelona at the Nou Camp:
Dominguez was crowned Footballer of the Year in 2009 in Russia.
STRUGGLES IN VALENCIA, RIVER COMEBACK
In the winter of 2009, Dominguez departed Russia, moving across to Spain with Valencia.
Unfortunately for Dominguez, he failed to make any kind of impact at Valencia, struggling to earn a place in the line-up. Valencia took the decision to send him on loan to River Plate in July 2011.
At that moment in time, River Plate had just been relegated to the second division in Argentina, but Dominguez welcomed the challenge of steering his beloved club back to the top tier. Taking a leading role, Dominguez fulfilled his goal with River, helping the Argentinian giants to win the Primera B Nacional by ending the campaign in first place.
SUCCESS IN PIRAEUS
In 2013, after a season at Rayo Vallecano, Dominguez penned a contract with Olympiacos where he would soon become a fan favourite.
In four seasons at the Karaiskakis Stadium, Chori made a statement both on and off the pitch. On the field, he made over 125 appearances for the club, amassing 40 goals and countless assists. In his playmaking role behind the attackers, Chori thrived during his stay in Piraeus, leading Olympiacos to four consecutive league titles and the domestic double in the 2014/2015 campaign. That season was Chori’s best in the Olympiacos shirt, netting 18 goals, laying off 15 assists and being named the Greek Super League Foreign Player of the Year.
His creativity made him a cult hero from the moment he began playing in Greece. In the Champions League, his goal against Benfica in Portugal was one of his more memorable strikes, as was his magnificent individual effort against Xanthi in the 2015 Greek Cup final. And on that magical night back in February 2014, when Olympiacos defeated Manchester United 2:0 in Piraeus, it was Dominguez who opened the scoring as he expertly pulled the strings, picking apart the Red Devils’ defence time and time again:
Chori’s silky smooth technical ability was appreciated by supporters of other teams too, and after losing the Greek Cup final in 2016, he kissed the hand of AEK’s Diego Buonanotte’s daughter despite his disappointment at the defeat.
Dominguez left Olympiacos after the 2016/2017 season had finished having fallen out of favour.
He continued playing with Rayo Vallecano in the 2017/2018 campaign, but after being without a club for the next season, the 38-year-old decided to officially call it a day this June. It remains to be seen whether he turns his hand to coaching.
TEAM ACHIEVEMENTS DURING HIS CAREER
3 Argentinian championship titles (2002, 2003, 2004)
1 Primera B Nacional title (2012)
1 Russian Premier League title (2009)
Zenit Saint Petersburg
1 UEFA Cup (2008)
1 UEFA Super Cup (2008)
1 Russian Premier League title (2007)
1 Russian Super Cup (2008)
4 Greek Super League titles (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
1 Greek Cup (2015)
1 Segunda Division title (2018)
2001 FIFA Under-20 World Cup