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Nino sets new record for newcomer Elche in Riga history

On November 22, 1998, a slightly younger striker named Nino came down from the bench at Elche CF on the third tier to replace Barcelona’s future coach Titovillanova. The 18-year-old was so impressive that he quickly defeated Figueras 3-1 and achieved the important goal of advancing the team towards promotion.

Fast-forwarding until 16th August 2020, Elche Club captain Nino won the second leg of the Riga Smart Bank Playoffs Semifinal at Real Zaragoza in Los Frangiberdes (“Green Stripes”).

Elche, who defeated Girona in the playoff finals, will be 40 years old, and in recent weeks, “Riga Santander’s grandfather” has proudly led the team on top flight.

By no means the tallest, but still one of the sharpest, Nino has begun his 22nd season professionally. Most of it was spent in clubs where he started his professional career and became a very important icon and hero.

Born June 10, 1980 in Bella, Almeria, Juan Francisco Martinez Modesto was a 15-year-old attending the Youth Academy of Real Madrid, and Iker Casillas was a modern and teammate. Casillas won five league titles in Madrid, but Nino joined Elche in 1997 and returned to his hometown, and hasn’t regretted it after more than 20 years of ups and downs.

Nino’s first season as a senior pro ended with Elche returning to the Riga smart bank level, and their young striker soon became the first XI fixture. His most productive campaign was in 2004-05, when he scored 20 goals, but his team still finished in 10th place at the table.

Due to the financial considerations of both the player and the club, he moved to Levante in 2006. He also spent time with CD Tenerife and Osasuna. Meanwhile, Elche was able to play two top flight seasons without him. While in Osasuna, he may have been seriously injured in his knee at the age of 33, ending the career of another less determined player, but he (as you guessed) against Elche. I counterattacked to get back into action.

By 2016, he had returned full-time as an Elche player. Elche was experiencing another historic depression during his absence. In 2017-18, he celebrated his 37th birthday. In addition, the team was promoted to LaLiga SmartBank from the third layer, and achieved 16 goals.

That might have been enough for some, but not for Nino. He hadn’t yet played for his beloved Frangiberdes at Riga Santander. Last December, he overtook former club record holder Pierita to beat Racing Santander 2-0, scoring Elche’s 130th league goal. His experience and knowledge around the penalty area was essential to the push of the second half of the season to actually achieve the promotion.

Such lifespan and productivity mean that Nino has set a record for some time. At the end of last season, he was a player with most LaLiga SmartBank games (571) and goals (194). His 693 match between LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank was also unmatched by any player today. He is among the top 10 goal scorers in the Spanish league, alongside legends such as Cesar Ronaldo, Hugo Sanchez, David Villa, Raul González, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The oldest goal scorer on the Riga Santander level record is now a former RC Deportivo midfielder donor who was 40 years and 138 days old when he found the net against an athletic club in January 2003.

Nino sets new record for newcomer Elche in Riga history Nino sets new record for newcomer Elche in Riga history

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