Javier Sanchez Broto only played ten times for Celtic but plenty of fans of a certain age remember his name and often think of him as a signing we may have gotten more out of.
The goalkeeper arrived in January 2003 as cover for Rab Douglas and Magnus Hedman. Even though he was cup-tied for that season’s famous run to the UEFA Cup Final, the former Livingston man did manage to get games under his belt, including as a substitute in a derby win over Rangers at Ibrox on ‘Beachball Sunday’.
His contract was a short-term one and those of you with good memories will recall that supporters were keen to see him signed up for a longer stint. It seems both parties thought similarly, but a mix-up resulted in the Spaniard returning to his homeland. It’s something he still regrets.
Javier Sanchez Broto wishes he’d stayed at Celtic
Speaking to The Scottish Mail on Sunday [21/05 print edition, page 105], he revealed: “That was the worst moment in my career. My English was not very good and I didn’t understand very well what was happening. Celtic offered me a three-year contract. The day I arrived to sign, they told me I’d missed the deadline. I needed to sign yesterday!
“I didn’t know. And, honestly, I cried like a little boy for days. I just couldn’t understand. ‘I’d said yes. I don’t know if the problem was my agent, or some bad information from Celtic but I don’t think so. I always said I wanted to sign. Celtic was the biggest experience of my career.
“I played for 15 years, mostly in Spain, but my best association was always with Celtic. In the end, I came back to play in La Liga with Murcia, but in my heart I wished I was at Celtic.”
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Broto retired from the game just two years later after a number of injuries, aged 34. In the years since he’s often talked of his admiration of Celtic, even regularly telling legendary shot-stopper Iker Casillas that Celtic Park is the best football venue in the world.
It’s a shame that things never quite worked out for him at the Bhoys and, who knows, had he not been cup-tied due to his exploits with Livi he may have had even bigger occasions to look back on as part of an iconic squad.