One to Watch - Hugo Rodallega
Name: Hugo Rodallega
Date of Birth: 25/7/1985
Former Clubs: Deportes Quindio, Deportive Cali, Monterrey, Atlas, Necaxa
League Appearances (Goals): 259 (88)
International Appearances (Goals): 40 (8)
Stat of the Day: Hugo Rodallega scored 9 league goals in the 2010/2011 season - 3 with his left foot, 5 with his right foot and 1 header
Never one to shy away from a spectacular goal or set piece screamer, Hugo Rodallega must be pinpointed as the One to Watch as QPR travel to the DW Stadium on Saturday. Not to be confused with lookalike and ex-Wigan defender Mario Melchiot, his prolific goal scoring record in South America has formed a solid foundation for his success in the English Premier League and despite remaining at Wigan this summer, he has certainly attracted plenty of interest from other top clubs.
Whilst Rodallega certainly has the ability to turn a game on its head with one piece of magic, it does all depend on which Colombian striker turns up. Renown for putting in rather inconsistent performances, for QPR`s sake let`s hope it`s the quiet, non-goalscoring 26-year-old that walks onto the pitch at 12.30 (the reason behind such a timing nothing short of farcical) on Saturday.
In any case, Rodallega is the type of player QPR should fear. Pace in abundance, the skills to brace any Premier League team and perhaps a point to prove to push through a move to another club (mere speculation, may I add); QPR must hope Rodallega won`t be dancing his way to the touchline having just netted a wonder goal.
Born in Colombia, Rodallega signed for professional club Deportes Quindio in 2004, scoring his first goal on April 11 2004 and going on to boast a goal scoring record of nearly a goal a game (scoring 31 times in 32 appearances), consequently earning himself a call-up to the Colombia Under-20 squad for the South American Youth Championships. Rodallega signed for Deportivo Cali during the middle of the 2005 season, where he won his first honours at club level, helping the team win the 2005-II Copa Mustang.
Rodallega soon attracted interest from abroad and in 2006 signed for Mexican club Monterrey. The long-haired front man failed to replicate his impressive form from his time in Colombia, and was loaned to fellow top division club 'Atlas` for the rest of the season. He was eventually transfer listed by Monterrey and signed for Club Necaxa in 2007. It was here that he attracted the attention of next manager Steve Bruce as he netted 25 league goals in just 53 appearances.
On 26 January 2009, Wigan confirmed Rodallega had been granted a work permit and he completed his move to the Latics for a fee of £4.5 million. Hugo's debut was a strange affair and was almost postponed but for his transfer fax approval to come through with only 5 minutes to spare before the deadline to play against Liverpool on 28th January 2009. His debut almost became a stunning one when he came on as a substitute and then hit the crossbar with a powerful strike from a free-kick.
After a slow start, he scored his first goal for Wigan against West Brom on 9 May 2009, and went on to score three goals in the last four games of the season, helping the club finish in 11th place. In Wigan's first match of the 2009/10 season, Rodallega got the team's first goal of the season in a 2-0 away win against Aston Villa, with a spectacular half-volley from the corner of the penalty area. The striker has enjoyed a successful two and a half years at the DW, managing to score 22 goals in all competitions.