Artur Boruc

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Artur Boruc is a Polish goalkeeper who was born in Siedlce, Poland on 20th February 1980. Boruc began his career with local outfit Pogon Siedlce in the late 1990s. In 1999 he moved to Legia Warsaw. He played a bit part in the club's 2001/02 Ekstraklasa league winning team. By 2003 he had established himself as Legia's first choice stopper. Boruc was not only one of the best keepers in the country, but also one of the biggest characters. After scoring a penalty for Legia against Widzew Lodz in June 2004, he celebrated by waving the corner flag. Two months prior to that goal, Boruc had earned his first full international cap for Poland in a 0-0 draw with Ireland.

Gordon Strachan made Boruc one of his first Celtic signings on 20th July 2005. The Pole moved to Parkhead on an initial loan deal, before later completing a permanent switch. Boruc made a fine start to his Celtic career, becoming an instant fans favourite with his heroic displays between the sticks. In 2005/06 he helped Celtic to a League title and League cup triumph. Boruc also aided Poland's qualification for the 2006 World Cup. He was first choice keeper in the tournament itself, with Poland crashing out at the group stage.

Boruc attracted plenty of controversy during his stay in Scotland. In August 2006 he was cautioned by Strathclyde Police for a breach of the peace for making gestures in front of Rangers fans before a game. He allegedly threw a V-sign at the Gers supporters, and also blessed himself, earning him the nickname 'the holy-goalie'. In another game Boruc angered Rangers followers when he displayed a t-shirt saying 'God bless the pope'. Back on the pitch he continued to shine. He helped Celtic qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League, saving a last minute penalty against Manchester United's Louis Saha on 21st November 2006. Boruc picked up another league and cup double during 2007. He was also nominated for SPL player of the year for 2006/07.

Boruc began 2007/08 in decent shape, helping Celtic qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, saving two penalties against Spartak Moscow. He was equally impressive later in the competition, staring in big wins against Milan and Shakhtar. Boruc picked up another league title at the end of the season. He played in Poland's unsuccessful Euro 2008 campaign. The following season his performances dipped slightly as Celtic missed out on the SPL to Rangers. He had an up and down 2009/10, receiving less protection from the men in front of him due to Tony Mowbray's open style of football. Fittingly, his final outing for the Bhoys was a 2-1 win over Rangers on 4th May 2010.

On 12th July 2010 Boruc signed for Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee. The former Celtic man quickly displaced former number one Sebastien Frey at Stadio Artemio Franchi. Boruc had a reasonably successful two year stint at Fiorentina, keeping 23 clean sheets in an inconsistent side.

On 22nd September 2012 Boruc joined Southampton, signing a deal until the end of the 2012/13 season. He made his first appearance for the club's development outfit on 1st October in a 1-0 defeat to Stoke at Staplewood. Boruc looked unconvincing in subsequent outings for the U21s. He appeared to be off the pace and out of shape in his first team debut at West Ham. He didn't do much better a week later, throwing a bottle at abusive fans in the Chapel Stand following a poor showing against Spurs. That gave Nigel Adkins the excuse he needed to drop the former Celtic man. Boruc was an unwelcome addition in the eyes of Saints' then manager. He returned to the starting eleven on New Year's Day, but looked very shaky against Arsenal. He didn't fare much better in a 5-1 cup defeat to Chelsea, but performed superbly in a 1-0 win at Aston Villa. Boruc continued to win over fans with a string of quality performances in early 2013. He made a vital stoppage time penalty save in a 0-0 draw with Norwich, and then kept Liverpool at bay a week later. The Pole signed a contract extension until 2015 in April 2013. His form dipped a tad in the last few weeks of the 2012/13 season.

Boruc had his ups and downs during 2013/14. He made a fine stop deep into stoppage time at West Brom in August. The Pole could have probably done better for the goal conceded at Norwich, but redeemed himself by helping Saints to a succession of clean-sheets in the immediate aftermath. Boruc performed superbly at Old Trafford in October. He saw his opposite number Asmir Begovic's wind-assisted clearance bounce over his head at Stoke. Dithering on the ball cost Saints another goal at Arsenal on November 23rd. Boruc looked better at Chelsea on December 1st, making a series of great saves. Unfortunately he would be forced off with a broken hand in the same match. Boruc's absence was certainly felt, with Paulo Gazzaniga and Kelvin Davis unable to replicate the form the Pole had shown earlier in the season. He returned on 11th January 2014, preventing a late West Brom comeback with a solid showing. Boruc was at fault for one of the goals conceded at Sunderland on January 18th, and could have done better against Arsenal, but showed his better side in clashes with Fulham and Hull in February 2014. He missed a couple of matches towards the end of the campaign through injury. Boruc was mostly passable during the final few months of 2013/14. His distribution was sometimes a source of frustration, but the good probably just about outweighed the bad.