Leeds United F.C. History
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1919-29 - The Twenties
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1939-46 - The War Years
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2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
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Leeds City F.C. History
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Gradel: Mark-Alain (Max)

2009-2011 (Leeds Player Details)(Player Details)


Born: Abidjan, Ivory Coast: 30/11/1989

Debut v Norwich City (h) (Substitute): 19-10-2009

5’11” 11st 0lb (2009)

A young and tricky winger, Gradel progressed through the Leicester City Academy ranks to the Foxes’ first team squad. He was one of seven Leicester under-eighteen-year-olds that won the FA Premier League Academy title, who signed professional forms on 5th May 2007. He was immediately loaned to Bournemouth for the 2007-08 season to gain first team experience. He made his debut in the first game of the season at Nottingham Forest on 11th August 2007 and was a huge success on the South Coast despite the Cherries ending the season in the relegation places. Initially loaned for just one month, he had scored once in four starts and clearly impressed as his loan spell was extended to the end of the year. Unfortunately, in October 2007 the winger had to return to France due to the tragic death of his mother. He made his comeback with the South Coast team in the F.A. Cup win over Barrow on 20th November 2007 but returned to Leicester at the end of the agreed loan. Bournemouth had been pleased with Gradel’s contribution to the team and sought and received a further extension to the loan period and it was duly extended to the end of the season. He also continued talks with Leicester City which resulted in his City contract being extended to from the end of the 2007-08 season to June 2011. When his loan period came to an end at the close of the season he had scored nine League goals in thirty-four appearances of which three had been from the bench. He also scored once in two F.A. Cup starts and started one League Cup game and one Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match. He made his Leicester debut on 9th August 2008, the opening day of the 2008-2009 campaign, in the 2-0 win over MK Dons at the Walkers Stadium. He soon became a fans' favourite. In recognition to his elevation to the Foxes’ first team his contract was extended for a further year on 14th August 2008. It was not until 14th January 2009 that he found the net for the first time for Leicester in the F.A. Cup tie at Crystal Palace but his first League goal for the Foxes soon followed at MK Dons on 28th February 2008, a free-kick which won the Supporters Club ‘Goal of the Year’ award. At the end of his first season he had scored once in sixteen starts and eleven substitute appearances in the League, once in two F.A. Cup starts, and made one start and one game from the bench in the League Cup and one start in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as Leicester became League One Champions. With the signings of Dany N’Guessan and Paul Gallagher, Gradel found himself out of favour and on 18th October 2009 he was loaned to League One Leeds United for a month and made his debut as a substitute the following night against Norwich City at Elland Road, replacing Robert Snodgrass with ten minutes to go. He soon became popular with the Leeds fans and his loan period was extended to three months. After initially returning to Leicester on 17th January 2010 and missing the First Leg of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Final at Elland Road against Carlisle United, he was signed on a permanent basis on 25th January 2010, when he signed a two-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee. He was mainly used as an attacking option from the bench, scoring some vital goals, but on occasions his temperament let him down and after being sent off in the final game of the season against Bristol Rovers, he was forced to sit out the first four games of the new season. Despite the enforced lay-off Gradel had a fantastic 2010-11 season, winning both the Club's Players' and the Supporters' "Player of the Year" awards, scoring eighteen goals in forty-one League appearances and obtaining many "Man of the Match" performances. He had also broken into the Ivory Coast National team and, after being included in the squad for the game against Poland on 11th November 2010, he was given his international debut on 5th June 2011, when he came on as a fifty-fourth minute subsitute against Benin in an African Cup qualifying match. He gained his third cap in the same tournament on 3rd September 2011 as a seventieth minute substitute against Rwanda. In the meantime he had made his full debut on 10th August 2011 when he had made the starting eleven in a home friendly against Isreal and played the full ninety minutes. After moving to St Etienne, he was again included from the kick-off and played seventy eight minutes before being replaced in an away friendly with South Africa on 12th November 2011. He next played six minutes as a substitute in the away friendly with Tunisia on 13th January 2012 followed by two sixty-fifth minute substitute appearances in the Africa Cup at home to Sudan on 22nd January 2012 and Burkina Faso four days later. On 30th January 2012 he started the game against Angola and played the full game. On 4th February he again started the game against Equatorial Guinea but was replaced by Kalou in the eighty-fifth minute. He did not start against Zambia on 12th February 2012 but came on as a substitute for Kalou after sixty-three minutes. He had ten caps for the Ivory Coast at the end of the African Cup series in February 2012. After a good start to the 2011-12 season with Leeds, with whom he had signed a two and a half year contract on 25th January 2010, it came as a surprise when Gradel signed with St Etienne for a reported £3 million on a four year contact on 31st August 2012. It transpired that Gradel had been looking for an extension to his contract and his agent had looked at his options on the continent and particularly in France where Gradel could speak his native tongue and so with Leeds looking to capitalise on a bid for a player who could go on a "Bosman" at the end of the season the deal was struck, much to the chagrin of the Leeds supporters, who had taken the Ivorian to their hearts. By the end of the 2011-12 season he had scored six times in twenty-nine appearances for his new club, of which ten had been as a substitute.

League 53/2425
F.A. Cup 20
League Cup 1/10
Johnstone's Paint Trophy 2/10