What ever happened to? Iván Kaviedes

Kaviedes at Crystal palace in 2004.
On 19 August 2004 newly promoted Premier League side Crystal Palace signed 26 year old Ecuador international striker Iván Kaviedes from Barcelona Sporting Club for a reported fee of £2 million.

By this point Kaviedes was already an international journeyman footballer having played professional football in Ecuador (Emelec, Deportivo Quito & Barcelona SC), Italy (Perugia), Spain (Celta Vigo & Valladolid), Mexico (Puebla) and Portugal (FC Porto) with varying degrees of success. At the time he was a regular first team player for the Ecuador national team and a very popular player in his homeland having scored the goal that secured Ecuador's first ever qualification for the World Cup in a 1-1 draw with Uruguay in November 2001.

He was highly regarded as a finisher, he scored 43 goals in one season for his first club Emelec, the goal of the season for 2000-01 in Spain with a bicycle kick against Barcelona for Valladolid and this excellent finish for Mexican side Puebla. Another notable moment in his career was this dribble and pass to set up Agustín Delgado's goal in a famous 1-0 win against Brazil in 2001.

Upon his arrival in south London  manager Ian Dowie said "He is an icon in Ecuadorian football and an outstanding footballer. He's come on trial and shown good motivation in training, he's a breath of fresh air, a great finisher and a free-kick specialist."

Despite Dowie's positive words Kaviedes barely featured for Palace despite the fact that they were embroiled in a relegation battle and struggling to score goals. He made six competitive appearances for the club, he made his debut in a 1-3 defeat against Everton. His only start came in a game against Chelsea and the remaining four appearances all came as a second half substitute. It can be argued that he was unfortunate that Dowie stuck to a 4-5-1 formation and team mate Andy Johnson hit a rich vein of form, scoring 21 goals in the season and making himself virtually undroppable. In January 2005 he was allowed to leave the club after his contract was terminated by mutual consent, despite all of Johnson's goals Palace were relegated at the end of the season.
Kaviedes spiderman celebration at the 2006 World Cup.
Kaviedes returned to Barcelona Sporting Club in 2005 and regained his scoring touch, netting 9 goals in 19 games

Later that year he joined Argentine Primera División side Argentinos Juniors where he played with limited success, but he was still selected for the 2006 World Cup squad. He famously put on a spiderman mask after scoring against Costa Rica in the World Cup as a tribute to former team mate Otilino "Spiderman" Tenorio who had died in a car crash in 2005.
After the World Cup he had another brief stint with Barcelona Sporting Club and in 2007 he joined El Nacional where he scored 14 goals in 34 league appearances. This stint was the last time that he managed to finish a season without being sacked by his club.

His last cap for Ecuador came in November 2007 in a 5-1 win against Peru in a World Cup qualifier. He made a total of 53 appearances for his country scoring 16 goals, making him Ecuador's joint 4th highest goal scorer behind Agustín Delgado, Eduardo Hurtado and Alex Aguinaga.

In 2008 he joined Liga de Quito but after only two games he quit the club after a disagreement about a debt he said wasn't his. In 2009 he spent time in a drugs rehabilitation clinic and after recovering he trained with LDU Portoviejo but was not ever officially part of their squad.

After two years out of the game he returned to action for Macará in 2010, but once again he was sacked. The official reason was that he kept missing training and had other disciplinary issues. The manager of the club said that Iván always said that he wishes people would listen to him, but lots of people did listen to him and when they said things that he didn't want to hear he got angry with them.

This version of events is disputed on his official website which claims that he was forced out of the club against the manager's wishes by a group of players that have influence with the directors.

Whatever the case, it is clear that Kaviedes' career has been in serious decline since the 2006 World Cup. He is still remarkably popular amongst Ecuadorians, which is unsurprising given the flair with which he used to score goals and his place in the history of Ecuadorian football is safe thanks to his goal to earn Ecuador their first ever World Cup appearance.

It is hard to say why he failed at Crystal Palace since he was barely given an opportunity to play for the club, but like Southampton flop and international strike partner Agustín Delgado it is clear from his achievements before and after his short spell in English football that he was a quality player.

Part of the What ever happened to? series.


  1. Q: Why did he fail at Crystal Palace?

    A: Ivan was far to lightweight for the English game, he had great skill, but alas he lacked the strength to compete in such a physical league.

  2. Hmmm, I agree he never had much in the way of upper body strength, but if that is such a fatal flaw it begs the question why the heck was he signed in the first place.

    Once he was here it seems a bit absurd to not even give him the chance to try to prove himself. After all there are examples of players that have survived the English leagues with more skills than strength, although admittedly not many.

  3. He was unlucky at Palace. Our best spell was using the 4-5-1 formation and AJ was always going to be given the nod (and rightly so).

    But when results started to go badly, Kaviedes should have been given a chance alongside AJ.