Jonathan Woodgate (born January 22, 1980 in Middlesbrough,
England, UK) is an English footballer, who plays as a defender
for Spanish club side Real Madrid. He signed for Madrid,
frequently hailed as the biggest and most prestigious football
club in the world, in August 2004 for a transfer fee of £13.4
million. This was to the surprise of many in the football world,
as he had been prone to frequent absences through injury at his
previous club, England's Newcastle United, where he had only
been available for 37 of the 128 games that Newcastle played
since he was signed.
Before signing for Newcastle in January 2003 for £9 million,
Woodgate had previously played for Leeds United. He had begun
his career at Leeds as a junior at the age of thirteen, after
being spotted by one of the club's scouts whilst playing for his
local junior team, Marton. He helped Leeds to win the FA Youth
Cup in 1997, and in November the following year made his debut
for the senior side.
He has been capped several times by England, making his debut
for the national side under manager Kevin Keegan in 1999.
However, both his club and international career have frequently
been interrupted, not only by injury, but by controversy.
In 2000 he was involved in a court case and subsequently banned
for a time due to his involvement with an incident outside a
nightclub in Leeds. He was eventually convicted of affray and
sentenced to one hundred hours of community service, as well as
having been banned from international selection by the Football
Association, which prevented him from being selected for the
England squad for the 2002 World Cup. In September 2002, however,
he returned to the England squad and has since regularly been
called-up when fit.
Woodgate is engaged to former radio and TV presenter Kate Lawler.