Ignacio "Nacho" Monreal Eraso (born 26 February 1986) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a left back or centre back for Spanish football club Real Sociedad and the Spain national team.
He started playing with Osasuna in 2005, going on to appear in 144 official games over the course of five La Liga seasons. In 2011 he signed with Málaga and, two years later, joined Arsenal, winning three FA Cup trophies with the latter club.
A full international since 2009, Monreal represented Spain at the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup.
A product of CA Osasuna's youth ranks, Monreal was born in Pamplona, and made his official debut for his hometown club in an away game against Valencia CF on 22 October 2006, in a 0–1 La Liga loss. He finished his first season with ten league appearances, adding two in the campaign's UEFA Champions League; after the Navarrese's relegation to the UEFA Cup, he appeared in four matches as the team reached the last four, being eliminated by fellow league side Sevilla FC.
Monreal became first-choice in 2007–08, retaining that status in the subsequent seasons, with another youth product, César Azpilicueta, being the undisputed starter in the other defensive wing.
On 10 June 2011, Monreal signed a five-year contract with Málaga CF on a €6 million transfer fee. In his first season he initially battled for first-choice status with Eliseu, but ended up only missing seven games as the club finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League for the first time.
Monreal scored his only goal for the Andalusians on 27 January 2013, in a 3–2 away win against RCD Mallorca.
Monreal marking Florian Thauvin during a Champions League match against Marseille in November 2013
On 31 January 2013, Monreal joined English side Arsenal on a long-term contract. He was given the number 17 shirt. The fee was undisclosed, but was believed by Sky Sports to be around £8.5 million. He made his Premier League debut against Stoke City two days later in a 1–0 home win.
On 23 February 2013, Monreal provided the assist for fellow countryman Santi Cazorla to score the winner in a 2–1 victory over Aston Villa. He scored his first goal for the Gunners on 16 March, opening the scoring in a 2–0 win at Swansea City.
Monreal returned from injury on 21 August 2013 to feature in Arsenal's 3–0 win at Fenerbahçe SK in the Champions League group stage play-off, playing the last three minutes in the place of Theo Walcott. On 26 September, he scored the deciding penalty in a shootout against West Bromwich Albion to send his team into the fourth round of the League Cup.
Upon the arrival of Alexis Sánchez in the 2014 off-season, Monreal took the vacant number 18 previously worn by Sébastien Squillaci. On 23 August, he assisted Olivier Giroud's late equalizer in a 2–2 draw against Everton. Additionally, an injury crisis in the squad saw him being deployed in an unfamiliar central defender role in a string of games, after Laurent Koscielny was put out of action due to an Achilles tendon injury.
On 9 March 2015, Monreal scored the opening goal in a 2–1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford that put Arsenal through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. He played the full 90 minutes in the final, a 4–0 defeat of Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium.
On 19 January 2016, Monreal signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal. On 23 April 2017, he scored the vital equalizer as his team came from behind to defeat Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
On 6 November 2017, after good performances on the left side of a three-man defence, Monreal won the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Month award for October of that year. The following 20 January, he netted once and made two assists before retiring injured 30 minutes into an eventual 4–1 home win against Crystal Palace.
Monreal taking on Chile's Eduardo Vargas in a 2013 friendly
In 2007, Monreal earned his first call for the Spain under-21 team. He started all their matches in the 2009 UEFA European Championship, in an eventual group stage exit.
On 6 August 2009, Monreal was selected to the senior side for the first time, for an exhibition game with Macedonia. He played the last 15 minutes for Joan Capdevila in a 3–2 away success; on 7 September 2010, in the nation's second game after they won the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, he played the entire 1–4 friendly loss to Argentina.
Monreal was a member of the Spanish squad which reached the final of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, although he was second-choice left back behind FC Barcelona's Jordi Alba. He started in the last two group games, beginning with a 10–0 win over Tahiti at the Maracanã in which he set up a David Villa goal.
Monreal scored his first goal for Spain on 12 November 2016, contributing to a 4–0 defeat of Macedonia for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Granada. He was then selected by manager Julen Lopetegui for the finals in
On 31 August 2019, Monreal returned to La Liga by joining Real Sociedad.
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