Seasoned Chilean international Gonzalo Jara brings bucket loads of experience to the Mainz ranks
Seasoned Chilean international Gonzalo Jara brings bucket loads of experience to the Mainz ranks

Mainz 05's Mr Versatile

At home across the back four and in midfield, Gonzalo Jara's summer 2014 move to 1. FSV Mainz 05 represents a fine bit of business for the Rhineland-Palatinate club.

Chilean bedrock looks back on the multitalented Chilean international's path to the Coface Arena...

Born on 29 August 1985 in Hualpen, Chile, Jara's first rung on the professional football ladder came at local outfit Huachipato. Making his first-team debut in 2003, the versatile defender went on to play 69 times for his boyhood club, before joining national powerhouses Colo-Colo in 2007.

Known for his no-nonsense defensive work, Jara was already a regular for his country by the time he moved to English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in August 2009, having captained Chile at the 2005 Under-20 South American championships in Colombia and made his senior debut under Nelson Acosta the following year.

Fitness battle

Jara netted his first goal for the Baggies against Leicester City FC on 7 November 2009, but his domestic season was cut short in mid-February when he suffered a broken metatarsal in an FA Cup tie against Reading FC. He nevertheless battled back to fitness in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and played a major role in Chile reaching the first knockout round.

Despite netting his second goal in a West Brom shirt to help secure the club their first away win in 19 top-flight games on 25 September 2010, Jara's season ended in relegation. On 21 October 2011, he was loaned out to fellow Championship club Brighton and Hove Albion, where he stayed until moving to Nottingham Forest in January 2013.

Penalty heartbreak

Jara featured for the full 90 minutes in all four of Chile's 2014 World Cup outings as the South Americans again went out in the last 16, with the then Forest man missing the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out defeat to hosts Brazil, having helped his country to wins against Australia and defending champions Spain in the group stage.

Out of contract at the City Ground by the time of his return, Jara put pen to paper on a two-year-deal at Mainz on 16 July 2014 and should provide the club with ideal cover for the departed Zdenek Pospech, who left the 05ers in the summer of 2014 after three successful seasons.