Juan Sara Player Profile

Personal

  • Full Name: Juan Manuel Sara
  • Born: October 13th, 1976 (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Height: 6' 2

Career

  • Position: Striker
  • Signed: July 16th, 2000
  • Date Left Club: November 25th, 2003
  • First Manager: Ivano Bonetti
  • Dundee Career Totals:
    106 first team competitive appearances
    35 first team competitive goals
  • Also Played For: A.S.D. Gallipoli, Almirante Brown, Cerro Porteño, Club Atlético Huracán, Correcaminos UAT, Coventry, FC Hradec Králové, FC Locarno, FC Vaduz, Ferro Carril Oeste, Lobos BUAP, Lucena, Nueva Chicago, Reggiana, River Plate Puerto Rico, Shelbourne


Dundee Career Summary


Competitive Friendlies Other (War)
2000-01 29 (7) 17 - (1) 1 - -
2001-02 30 (4) 13 - - - -
2002-03 12 (9) 4 - - - -
2003-04 6 (9) 1 - - - -
2014-15 - - - (1)- - -
TOTAL 77 (29) 35 - (2) 1 - -

NOTES:
Other Cups may include: Anglo-Scottish Cup, Challenge Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, Drybrough Cup, International Soccer League, League Cup, Summer Cup, Texaco Cup.


Biography


Argentinean Juan Sara wrote himself into Dark Blue folklore when he scored a hat-trick against Dundee United at Dens and his will always conjure up memories of that magnificent night.

“Juan Sara, Sara, whatever will be, will be, he gave United three, Juan Sara, Sara”, was sung to the ‘Que Sera’ tune every time he took to the field for Dundee after the famous derby against United on Wednesday 20th September 2000 but there was so much more to his Dark Blue career than his treble against The Terrors. “It was a fantastic night, the highlight of my time with Dundee”, recalls Juan but he also finished as The Dee’s top goal scorer in two different seasons and became only the second Dundee player to score in two different European competitions.

Like many young South American boys, Juan Manuel Sara always wanted to be a professional footballer. Born in Buenos Aires on October 13th 1976, he was always ready for a game of football with his friends and from an early age it was obvious he had a talent for the game. It was no surprise when Argentine club Almirante Brown offered the teenage Sara the opportunity of full time football and then in 1999 he crossed the border to Cerro Porteno in the Paraguay League.

At Porteno Sara played in the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions’ League and was the third top scorer in the Paraguayan League but playing in Europe is the ambition of many a South American footballer and Juan was no different. His break came when Ivano Bonetti was appointed manager of Dundee and one of the Italian’s first acts was to offer Sara a short term loan deal at the club where The Dee would pay a player’s agency £80,000 for his services for a year.

“I was playing with a big team in Paraguay and having a good year. Ivano knew my agent and when he brought Fabian (Caballero) to Dundee, I got the chance to come too after they had watched a video of me.”

Having scored twice in pre-season Sara opened his Dundee account from the spot on his home debut against Dunfermline in a 3-0 win which shot Dundee to the top of the Scottish Premier League. Scoring in front of the Bobby Cox Stand, Sara first showed off his trademark celebration when he ran behind the goal and lifted up his number 9 shirt to reveal a t-shirt which said “Jesus Loves You”.

A committed Christian, Sara got the idea from a few players who did the same in South America and as the goals flowed in the coming months, Juan also displayed biblical messages from a verse from Philippians 4:16 and that old sporting favourite John 3:16.

“As I am a Christian I always try to give God’s glory with the gift He gave me so I used a t-shirt with a bible scripture and showed it after each goal I scored”, Juan explains. “If my goals could help spread the word of the glory of God then I am grateful.”

The next time Dundee fans saw one of his t-shirts was when he was on the spot again at Love Street and his first goal from open play came at home to Rangers in early September when he came off the bench to rob Lorenzo Amoruso at the edge of the box before slipping the ball under Stefan Klos in goal.

“He’s here to score goals and convert souls”, said Scotsport commentator Archie MacPherson in the highlights of the 1-1 draw but it was his next goals in a Dundee shirt that would convert a few souls to the merits of the 6ft 1in striker.

On September 20th fifth placed Dundee entertained bottom of the table Dundee United in the 107th city derby and the fixture held intrigue for many reasons; not least because six players from either side were having their first taste of the fixture. It was also a role reversal from recent years as for once it was Dundee, after a clutch of Continental close season signings as part of the Bonetti revolution and a sprightly start to the campaign, who were firm favourites.

Unoccupied seats in the visitors' end confirmed as much, as well as testifying to troubled times for the Tannadice club who were without a win in seven games, and propping up the Premier League.

However, as if to prove the old adage of derbies making a mockery of form, it was Dundee United who began the sharper. Baring their teeth as early as the second minute, it took a desperate save from Robert Douglas to deny a Steven Thompson header. With Douglas the busier goalkeeper, only a spectacular double save preserved the status quo as having been rounded by Mvondo Atangana, he somehow recovered ground to block the Cameroonian international's shot, before springing to his feet to deny David Hannah's follow-up effort.

United hit the crossbar twice in the first forty-five minutes but while United were the side showing pride and progress, Dundee were not without their moments, and almost scored on the half-hour when Juan Sara headed inches wide from fellow countryman Fabian Caballero's cross.

However within just two minutes restart, the two Argentinean strikers combined to give Dundee the lead. Player/manager Ivano Bonetti robbed Hugh Davidson in the middle of the park before feeding Caballero and he ran at the heart of the Arab defence before unleashing an awkward 25-yard right-foot shot. The ball bounced in front of the United keeper Alan Combe and when he failed to hold the shot, Sara followed up to side-foot it into the corner of the net.

The derby exploded into wild scenes in the 63rd minute when United were reduced to ten men as Jason De Vos and Kevin McDonald both sent Caballero sprawling near the touchline with a brutal challenge and the Canadian was the one who was sent to the dressing room. Ugly scenes followed as Caballero limped off when Dundee’s assistant manager Dario Bonetti was sent to the stand for something he said and exchanged angry words with United boss Alex Smith as he departed

United were committing more men forward in a desperate search for a point and Sara could have killed the game off in the 70th minute when Giorgi Nemsadze played him through, but the Argentine star's shot was well saved by Combe.

However ten minutes later Nemsadze teed up Sara again after some mesmerising wing play and this time he didn’t miss and headed home the Georgian’s perfect cross unmarked from the penalty spot

Sara may have thanked God in his on field celebrations but he recognises who else deserves some credit. “Giorgi was magnificent that night and was simply a joy to play with. His beautiful cross made it easy for me to score and at times the ball appeared stuck to his feet.”

But Juan wasn’t finished yet and with two minutes left endeared himself to Dundee fans forever when he completed his hat-trick top off a memorable 3-0 win. In an almost carbon copy of the second goal, Javier Artero this time provided the pin point cross for Juan to head home from just inside the six yard box.

“It was a fantastic night, my first derby, a big crowd and a game I’ll never forget. We played very well in the second half which made a big difference and I scored my three goals thanks to my team mates. The only bad side of the game was the injury to Fabian and I was upset to see he was going to miss so many games.”

Caballero had sustained a ruptured ligament in one knee and a partial tear in the other and he would be out of the game for the next seven months. This forced Dundee therefore to bring in a striking replacement and what a replacement it was!

“I couldn’t believe when I heard that Claudio Cannigia was going to join us as he is a fantastic player and a hero to everyone in my country. I had watched him score goals for Argentina and it was a dream to play alongside him”

With Sara getting the chance to play alongside one of his idols, the goals continued to come and he finished the 2000/01 season as Dundee’s top scorer with 17 goals. His hat-trick in the derby had made Juan a cult hero and the club shop started selling t-shirts which said “Sara says Jesus Loves You” and “Jesus Saves but Sara Nets the Rebound” which Juan enjoyed.

“The Dundee fans used to wear my t-shirts which made my smile but I was happy that my goals where able to help spread an important message.”

The t-shirts weren’t popular with everyone however as he was booked by the referee in Paisley in February for revealing a shirt which said “I can do everything through Christ.” He had just put Dundee ahead with a superbly executed overhead kick and he was later sent off for an innocuous handball.

At the end of the season his goals persuaded Bonetti that Sara was worth a long term contract and his services were secured on a three year deal for a transfer fee of £500,000; the second highest paid in the club’s history.

Juan repaid his manager’s faith by becoming the top scorer again the following year after opening his season’s account in an UEFA Intertoto Cup match against FK Sartid in Yugoslavia.

Two years later he would become only the second Dundee player after Hugh Robertson to score in two different European competitions when he was on target against KS Vllaznia at Dens in the UEFA Cup in 2003.

“The European games were a fantastic experience for me and for the club, especially as they had been out of Europe for so long. I think we did quite well but could have done better. I have only just found out about being the second player to score for Dundee in two UEFA competitions but that makes me feel happy that I did a good job for the club and the fans always showed their love for me.”

Sara had spent part of the 2002/03 season on loan at Coventry and the Vllaznia goal was his first goal after his return but just a few months later he was tragically one of the fifteen Dundee players axed when The Dee lurched into administration.

Becoming a bit of a soccer nomad Sara has played in Italy (twice), Ireland, Argentina (twice), Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Spain, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Mexico (twice) after leaving Dundee. Since January he has been coaching at River Plate, the biggest team in Argentina but the longest and most successful spell of his career was undoubtedly at Dens where he scored 35 goals in 107 appearances and was the first overseas player to score a hat-trick in a Dundee derby.

“I believe in Dundee I spent one of the best times of my life. I was in Dundee for three years where I made a lot of friends, enjoyed living in the city getting to know the Scottish people who are very lovely and friendly. Scoring 35 goals, the goals in Europe and the hat-trick against United I couldn’t have asked for more and I hope one day to come back to everyone to say thanks.”

It is in fact the other way around and it’s the Dundee fans would be delighted to say thanks to Sara and will never forget his goals, t-shirts or that derby hat-trick. It was as easy as ‘Juan, Two, Three!’

Debut

July 29th, 2000
Motherwell 0 - 2 Dundee

League (Premier League)


Playing Statistics - First Team Competitive matches (All Seasons)



Competition NPS Win % Draw % Loss %
League 63 (25)286 71
UEFA Cup 2 (2)1- --
Scottish Cup 6 (1)3- 1-
Intertoto Cup 21- --
League Cup 4 (1)2- --
Totals: 77 (29)356 81

 Recent Starting Appearances (First Team Competitive matches)
 22/11/03 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (A) 0 - 2
 08/11/03 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H) 0 - 1
 29/10/03 4th Round vs. Clyde (A) 5 - 2
 15/10/03 1st Round 2nd Leg vs. Perugia (A) 0 - 1
 24/09/03 1st Round 1st Leg vs. Perugia (H) 1 - 2

 Recent Goals Scored (First Team Competitive matches)
 28/08/03 Qualifying Round 2nd Leg vs. Vllaznia (H) 4 - 0
 14/12/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H) 1 - 1
 04/12/02 Premier League vs. Partick (H) 4 - 1
 25/09/02 3rd Round vs. Queen of South (H) 3 - 1
 25/09/02 3rd Round vs. Queen of South (H) 3 - 1

 List of First Team Competitive matches played (click to expand)
 22/11/03 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (A)  0 - 2
 08/11/03 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  0 - 1
 01/11/03 Premier League vs. Hibernian (H)  1 - 1
 29/10/03 4th Round vs. Clyde (A)  5 - 2
 26/10/03 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (A)  1 - 1
 18/10/03 Premier League vs. Partick (H)  1 - 0
 15/10/03 1st Round 2nd Leg vs. Perugia (A)  0 - 1
 04/10/03 Premier League vs. Hearts (A)  2 - 2
 27/09/03 Premier League vs. Rangers (A)  1 - 3
 24/09/03 1st Round 1st Leg vs. Perugia (H)  1 - 2
 20/09/03 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 0
 13/09/03 Premier League vs. Celtic (H)  0 - 1
 31/08/03 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (A)  1 - 1
 28/08/03 Qualifying Round 2nd Leg vs. Vllaznia (H)  4 - 0
 23/08/03 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  2 - 1
 14/08/03 Qualifying Round 1st Leg vs. Vllaznia (A)  2 - 0
 14/12/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  1 - 1
 07/12/02 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (A)  0 - 2
 04/12/02 Premier League vs. Partick (H)  4 - 1
 30/11/02 Premier League vs. Livingston (A)  1 - 1
 23/11/02 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  3 - 2
 16/11/02 Premier League vs. Hibernian (A)  1 - 2
 12/11/02 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (H)  2 - 3
 02/11/02 Premier League vs. Rangers (H)  0 - 3
 26/10/02 Premier League vs. Hearts (A)  2 - 1
 22/10/02 4th Round vs. Partick (A)  0 - 1
 19/10/02 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (A)  0 - 0
 05/10/02 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 1
 28/09/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  1 - 1
 25/09/02 3rd Round vs. Queen of South (H)  3 - 1
 22/09/02 Premier League vs. Celtic (H)  0 - 1
 14/09/02 Premier League vs. Partick (A)  1 - 1
 11/09/02 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  2 - 1
 31/08/02 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (A)  0 - 0
 23/08/02 Premier League vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 1
 17/08/02 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (A)  2 - 4
 10/08/02 Premier League vs. Rangers (A)  0 - 3
 03/08/02 Premier League vs. Hearts (H)  1 - 1
 20/04/02 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  0 - 1
 13/04/02 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (A)  1 - 0
 06/04/02 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 0
 23/03/02 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (A)  0 - 2
 16/03/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  2 - 0
 13/03/02 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  2 - 0
 09/03/02 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 3
 02/03/02 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (A)  2 - 3
 17/02/02 Premier League vs. Celtic (H)  0 - 3
 09/02/02 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (H)  1 - 0
 06/02/02 4th Round Replay vs. Partick (H)  1 - 2
 26/01/02 4th Round vs. Partick (A)  1 - 1
 19/01/02 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (A)  0 - 1
 16/01/02 3rd Round Replay vs. Falkirk (A)  1 - 0
 12/01/02 Premier League vs. Hibernian (H)  1 - 0
 09/01/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  2 - 4
 06/01/02 3rd Round vs. Falkirk (H)  1 - 1
 15/12/01 Premier League vs. Celtic (A)  1 - 3
 08/12/01 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (A)  2 - 0
 01/12/01 Premier League vs. Rangers (H)  0 - 0
 24/11/01 Premier League vs. Hearts (H)  1 - 1
 17/11/01 Premier League vs. Livingston (A)  0 - 1
 10/11/01 Premier League vs. Hearts (A)  0 - 2
 03/11/01 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  1 - 1
 30/10/01 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  3 - 1
 27/10/01 Premier League vs. Hibernian (A)  2 - 1
 13/10/01 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (A)  0 - 1
 08/09/01 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (H)  1 - 1
 26/08/01 Premier League vs. Rangers (A)  0 - 2
 18/08/01 Premier League vs. Hearts (A)  1 - 3
 11/08/01 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  1 - 0
 04/08/01 Premier League vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 1
 28/07/01 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (A)  2 - 2
 23/06/01 1st Round 2nd Leg vs. Sartid (A)  2 - 5
 16/06/01 1st Round 1st Leg vs. Sartid (H)  0 - 0
 20/05/01 Premier League vs. Hearts (A)  0 - 2
 13/05/01 Premier League vs. Celtic (A)  2 - 0
 05/05/01 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 1
 21/04/01 Premier League vs. Rangers (H)  0 - 3
 07/04/01 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (A)  2 - 0
 04/04/01 Premier League vs. Celtic (A)  1 - 2
 31/03/01 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 2
 18/03/01 Premier League vs. Hearts (H)  0 - 0
 14/03/01 Premier League vs. Rangers (A)  2 - 0
 07/03/01 4th Round Replay vs. Hearts (H)  0 - 1
 03/03/01 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (A)  3 - 2
 24/02/01 Premier League vs. Rangers (H)  0 - 1
 17/02/01 4th Round vs. Hearts (A)  1 - 1
 12/02/01 3rd Round Replay vs. Falkirk (A)  2 - 0
 03/02/01 Premier League vs. St Mirren (A)  1 - 2
 02/01/01 Premier League vs. Hibernian (A)  0 - 3
 26/12/00 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  3 - 0
 23/12/00 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 2
 16/12/00 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (A)  3 - 2
 10/12/00 Premier League vs. Celtic (H)  1 - 2
 02/12/00 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (H)  1 - 1
 25/11/00 Premier League vs. Hearts (A)  1 - 3
 18/11/00 Premier League vs. St Mirren (H)  5 - 0
 11/11/00 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (A)  2 - 0
 05/11/00 Premier League vs. Hibernian (H)  1 - 2
 28/10/00 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (A)  0 - 1
 21/10/00 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  1 - 2
 14/10/00 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (A)  2 - 0
 23/09/00 Premier League vs. Celtic (A)  0 - 1
 20/09/00 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  3 - 0
 16/09/00 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (A)  0 - 0
 09/09/00 Premier League vs. Rangers (H)  1 - 1
 05/09/00 3rd Round vs. St Mirren (A)  0 - 3
 27/08/00 Premier League vs. Hearts (H)  1 - 1
 23/08/00 2nd Round vs. Montrose (H)  3 - 0
 19/08/00 Premier League vs. St Mirren (A)  1 - 2
 12/08/00 Premier League vs. Hibernian (A)  1 - 5
 05/08/00 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (H)  3 - 0
 29/07/00 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  2 - 0

 List of First Team Competitive goals scored (click to expand)
 28/08/03 Qualifying Round 2nd Leg vs. Vllaznia (H)  4 - 0
 14/12/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  1 - 1
 04/12/02 Premier League vs. Partick (H)  4 - 1
 25/09/02 3rd Round vs. Queen of South (H)  3 - 1
 25/09/02 3rd Round vs. Queen of South (H)  3 - 1
 06/04/02 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 0
 13/03/02 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  2 - 0
 13/03/02 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  2 - 0
 09/03/02 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 3
 02/03/02 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (A)  2 - 3
 06/02/02 4th Round Replay vs. Partick (H)  1 - 2
 09/01/02 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  2 - 4
 08/12/01 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (A)  2 - 0
 30/10/01 Premier League vs. Motherwell (H)  3 - 1
 11/08/01 Premier League vs. Livingston (H)  1 - 0
 04/08/01 Premier League vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 1
 28/07/01 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (A)  2 - 2
 23/06/01 1st Round 2nd Leg vs. Sartid (A)  2 - 5
 05/05/01 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 1
 04/04/01 Premier League vs. Celtic (A)  1 - 2
 31/03/01 Premier League vs. Kilmarnock (H)  2 - 2
 03/03/01 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (A)  3 - 2
 17/02/01 4th Round vs. Hearts (A)  1 - 1
 12/02/01 3rd Round Replay vs. Falkirk (A)  2 - 0
 03/02/01 Premier League vs. St Mirren (A)  1 - 2
 26/12/00 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  3 - 0
 26/12/00 Premier League vs. Motherwell (A)  3 - 0
 23/12/00 Premier League vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 2
 02/12/00 Premier League vs. St Johnstone (H)  1 - 1
 20/09/00 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  3 - 0
 20/09/00 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  3 - 0
 20/09/00 Premier League vs. Dundee Utd (H)  3 - 0
 09/09/00 Premier League vs. Rangers (H)  1 - 1
 19/08/00 Premier League vs. St Mirren (A)  1 - 2
 05/08/00 Premier League vs. Dunfermline (H)  3 - 0

  = Starting Appearances (Sub Appearances) | = Goals | NPS = Squad Appearances (as Non-Playing Sub) | GtGR = Goals to Games Ratio
 Yel = Yellow Cards/Cautions | Red = Red Cards/Dismissals | W/D/L - Games won, drawn or lost as percentage of games played in


Timeline


  • Date of Birth


  • Signed For Dundee


  • First Non-Competitive Appearance (Friendly)

  • First Team Debut

    Motherwell 0 - 2 Dundee
    League (Premier League)


  • First Goal

    Dundee 3 - 0 Dunfermline
    League (Premier League)


  • 50th Appearance

    Livingston 1 - 0 Dundee
    League (Premier League)


  • 50th League Appearance

    Dundee 1 - 0 St Johnstone
    League (Premier League)


  • 100th Appearance

    Perugia 1 - 0 Dundee
    UEFA Cup (1st Round 2nd Leg)


  • Last Appearance

    Dunfermline 2 - 0 Dundee
    League (Premier League)


  • Left the Club