Gonzalo Jara was a popular figure for the majority of his time at Nottingham Forest. 

Alex McLeish originally lured the 33-year-old to the City Ground on an initial loan deal from West Bromwich Albion.

Billy Davies then snapped up the full-back on a one-year deal a few months later, after he almost helped the Reds gatecrash the 2012/13 Championship play-offs.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

However, the full-back’s first and only full season at the club ended in turmoil. Billy Davies was sacked two days after a 5-0 drubbing by Derby County in March 2014, a match that Jara started.

Jara wasn’t offered a new deal, and left for club for nothing. He made 39 appearances for the Reds over the season.

He was heavily criticised by many of the club’s supporters in the second half of the season, as he seemed to become disinterested. Cynics felt that he was playing within himself to avoid injury ahead of the World Cup.

But even his harshest critics couldn’t deny he was a good player. The full-back oozed class and provided an attacking threat than not many right-backs have provided since.

The highlight of his time with the Reds would’ve been the six-game winning streak under Davies. That 6-1 win against Huddersfield Town remains one of the best performances from the Reds in recent history.

Martin O’Neill arguably wouldn’t have fancied Jara, simply because he was too attack-minded. Jara was at a similar level to Tendayi Darikwa during his time with the Reds. He offered more to the team than Saidy Janko does now.

 

But he certainly wasn’t a world-beater. Sam Byram has shown that he is a better right-back than all of the above, despite only playing a handful of games.

Regret

Having impressed for Chile on the biggest stage, Jara wasn’t short of options after leaving the Reds. He has recently told AS that he regrets not linking up with Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille at that point, instead of joining Bundesliga side Mainz 05.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The full-back said: “If you ask me about a decision I would change, it is that. In England I had found my best level and had a family security. Bielsa wanted to take me to Marseille, but I opted for the Mainz offer.

“In Germany it was difficult for me to adapt, my children went back and I returned one year later.

“In the football player’s life, sometimes, economic decisions are made more than sports.”

It’s fair to say that he may have been better off linking up with Bielsa. The full-back had a previous working relationship with the current Leeds United manager during his spell with the Chile international side.

(Photo by Rodrigo Valle/Getty Images)

The 33-year-old has remained in Chile since he left Mainz at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.

Having enjoyed a two-year spell with Universidad de Chile, he joined Estudiantes de La Plata earlier this year. Although it’s a lower standard, Jara is enjoying his football again.

Now, as Bielsa remains focussed on guiding Leeds to the Premier League, Jara is looking forward to potentially playing in the Copa América this summer for his country.