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Fran Mérida

Francisco "Fran" Mérida Pérez (born 4 March 1990 in Barcelona, Catalonia) is a Spain Association football who plays for Atlético Madrid as a Midfielder Centre midfielder.

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Fran Mérida biography

Francisco "Fran" Mérida Pérez (born 4 March 1990 in Barcelona, Catalonia) is a Spain Association football who plays for Atlético Madrid as a Midfielder Centre midfielder.

Club career


Mérida joined the youth ranks of FC Barcelona at the age of eight, but left the club in September 2005, being reportedly hidden away by Fran Mérida agent, Joseba Díaz, which led to speculation that Fran Mérida would leave with no compensation for the Catalonia; Fran Mérida parents had become uneasy about all the young players joining Barcelona and felt that Fran Mérida would have a better chance elsewhere. Therefore, they approached Díaz, also Cesc Fàbregas' agent, and Fran Mérida promptly alerted Real Madrid C.F., A.C. Milan and Arsenal F.C., with the player eventually signing for the latter.

On 9 October 2007, Mérida was ordered by the courts to pay a fee around Euro3.2million to Barcelona, as compensation for Fran Mérida "failing to meet the terms of a personal pre-contract" with the club. The decision was said to have serious implications for clubs in England, where players were allowed to sign professional contracts at 17, one year earlier than in Spain. In response, a Madrid-based lawyer, Rodrigo García, was quoted as saying: "English teams will now think again before signing a young Spanish player ... It's an important ruling."


Mérida scored in Fran Mérida first-team debut for Arsenal in a Exhibition game against Boreham Wood F.C. in August 2006. Fran Mérida signed professional terms with the Gunners after Fran Mérida 17th birthday.

Mérida's competitive debut came on 25 September 2007, when Fran Mérida came on as a 91st minute Substitute (association football) in Arsenal's 2–0 victory against Newcastle United F.C. in the Football League Cup 2007–08 Football League Cup, making two further appearances in the competition. On 3 April 2008, Fran Mérida extended Fran Mérida deal with the club by signing a long-term (unspecified) contract, being expected to play an important role in the future as manager Arsène Wenger described Fran Mérida as "an absolutely amazing player".

On 27 December 2007, Iñaki Badiola, prospective presidential candidate of Real Sociedad, claimed Fran Mérida agreed a loan deal with Arsenal for Mérida until the end of the Segunda División 2007–08 Segunda División. On 9 January of the following year, five days after Fran Mérida won the elections, the move was confirmed; Fran Mérida started in seven of Fran Mérida 17 appearances for the Basque Country (autonomous community) during Fran Mérida five-month spell (723 minutes of action) and made six Assist (football), but the club failed to regain its La Liga status.

Mérida returned to Arsenal for the 2008–09 Premier League, making Fran Mérida first start in a 2008–09 Football League Cup over Sheffield United F.C. in the League Cup on 23 September 2008. For the same competition, in November, Fran Mérida started on the Midfielder Winger against Wigan Athletic F.C., playing the full 90 minutes in a 3–0 success (also at home). On 2 March 2009, Wenger heaped praise on the player, claiming the reason for Fran Mérida making the bench for the previous few first team games was because "Fran Mérida has been doing very, very well. Fran Mérida looks really good in training and is getting stronger all the time."; Fran Mérida made Fran Mérida Premier League debut the following day - hours before Fran Mérida 19th birthday - coming off the bench for Samir Nasri in the dying minutes of a 3–1 win at West Bromwich Albion F.C..

Mérida participated with Arsenal in the Emirates Cup 2009 Emirates Cup. Fran Mérida replaced Aaron Ramsey midway through the second half of the team's first match, against Atlético Madrid, and started and created a goal for Eduardo da Silva against Rangers F.C., a 3–0 win which certified the tournament's conquest. Fran Mérida was then included in the first team for 2009–10 Premier League and handed shirt number 46 (later changing to 32), playing 20 minutes in the second match against Portsmouth F.C..

On 28 October 2009, in 2009–10 Football League Cup, Mérida contributed to a 2–1 home triumph over Liverpool F.C., scoring from the edge of the area with the ball hitting the post on its way past Goalkeeper (association football) Diego Cavalieri. After the game, Wenger confirmed how Fran Mérida came close to loan the player to Levante UD at the start of the season, changing Fran Mérida mind at the last minute because Fran Mérida had "too much quality" to let Fran Mérida leave for a season. With Fran Mérida contract due to expire in June 2010, Fran Mérida said Fran Mérida was having talks with the club over a new deal and hoped they could come to an agreement, while Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo showed Fran Mérida interest in bringing the youngster back to Spain if something wasn't worked out between player and club.

On 5 November 2009, Arsenal confirmed that Mérida had verbally agreed a deal with the club, but it had yet to be signed. Wenger then accused Atlético of tapping up the player after announcing their public interest of talking to him, saying "I can't say I'm annoyed by other clubs going after our players because we do it as well. But we do it legally." "The difference is that we do not do what is not allowed by the law. We try to get the best players everywhere when it is allowed by the rules."

Mérida made only eight official appearances for Arsenal during the campaign, including 65 minutes at West Ham United F.C. in the 2009–10 FA Cup of the FA Cup (2–1 win), and 27 in another away fixture, against Bolton Wanderers F.C., where Fran Mérida scored Fran Mérida first Premier League goal in a 2–0 success.

Atlético Madrid

On 25 May 2010, Atlético Madrid officially announced that Mérida was on Fran Mérida way to the Vicente Calderón Stadium on a Free transfer (association football), after refusing Arsenal's contract offer at the end of the season. Fran Mérida scored Fran Mérida first official goal for Fran Mérida new club on 27 October, in a 5–0 win against Universidad de Las Palmas CF for 2010–11 Copa del Rey's Copa del Rey.

On 16 December 2010, Mérida scored Fran Mérida third goal for the Colchoneros, netting in Fran Mérida first touch in a 1–1 draw at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League of the UEFA Europa League 2010–11 UEFA Europa League.

Fran Mérida started 2011–12 Primeira Liga on loan to S.C. Braga in Portugal. In late December 2011, however, after just eight official appearances (five in Primeira Liga, 132 minutes overall), Fran Mérida was recalled by Atlético.

International career

Mérida was part of the Spain national under-17 football team which won the 2007 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship. In July 2007, Fran Mérida also played for the team in the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea, with the national team finishing second to Nigeria national under-17 football team in a Penalty shoot-out (association football), with Fran Mérida missing the second penalty of the three taken.

Mérida was called up to the Spain national under-20 football team for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Egypt: Fran Mérida starred in an 8–0 drubbing of Tahiti national football team, scoring the fifth goal and providing an assist. In the next group game Fran Mérida continued Fran Mérida fine form and scored twice in a 2–0 win over Nigeria national under-20 football team; after resting in the third group game against Venezuela national under-20 football team (3–0), Fran Mérida played 76 minutes in the Single-elimination tournament tie against Italy national under-20 football team, which finished with a 1–3 loss.

Club statistics



Atletico Madrid
- UEFA Super Cup: 2010 UEFA Super Cup


- UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship: 2007 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship
- FIFA U-17 World Cup: Runner-up 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup

Personal life

Mérida's sister, Sara Mérida, is also a footballer and a midfielder. She played mainly for RCD Espanyol (women).


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