||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2013)|
|Full name||Francisco José Sandaza Asensio|
|Date of birth||30 November 1984|
|Place of birth||Toledo, Spain|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|2005||→ Onda (loan)|
|2006–2007||→ Puçol (loan)|
|2010–2011||Brighton & Hove Albion||19||(4)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:58, 25 June 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Sandaza joined Valencia in 2002 and played in the Primera División outfit's reserve team. Before, Sandaza played on loan in UD Puçol in the Tercera División (his coach that year in UD Puçol was Luis Milla). He considered leaving full-time football to become a police officer. Sandaza is also good friend with Valencia's teammate and now Barcelona player Jordi Alba, during his time at Valencia B.
On 11 July 2008, Sandaza instead signed for Scottish Premier League side Dundee United, making his league début exactly a month later. After scoring three goals in pre-season, he scored his first competitive goal for the club in the 1–1 draw against Celtic on 17 August 2008. In September, Sandaza scored his second and netted four times in the first half of November, including a double against eventual champions, Rangers. Injury halted Sandaza's progress towards the end of the year and he didn't score again until late February, scoring three more times in March. In his first season in Scotland, Sandaza scored ten league goals, with five coming against the Old Firm.
A groin injury prevented Sandaza from starting the 2009–10 season, with a November operation likely to see him return by the end of 2009. Hernia problems restricted his appearances during the season, and he was struggling to get into the United first team so in August 2010 was allowed to go on trial with Swansea City. Sandaza was eventually released by United on 31 August, allowing him to sign for another club as a free agent after the closure of the transfer window.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Sandaza signed for Brighton & Hove Albion under their new manager Gus Poyet. Sandaza made his debut for the club, coming on for Glenn Murray in a 69th minutes, in a 2–0 win over Plymouth Argyle. A few week later, Sandaza scored his first goal, which turns out to be a winning goal, in a 2–1 win over Oldham Athletic. In the FA Cup campaign, Sandaza scored two goals in two consecutive games, in separate round victories against United of Manchester and Portsmouth. Two months later, on 22 February 2011, he scored again, but this time it's against Plymouth (the team he made his debut against). However, his time at Brighton was limited after his first team was he was surplus to requirements, due to goalscoring form of Ashley Barnes and Glenn Murray. At the end of the season, the club would get promoted to the Championship.
In May 2011 the club announced that he would be released at the end of the season following the ending of his current contract, along with five other players.
On 25 July 2011, Sandaza signed a one-year deal with St. Johnstone. Sandaza scored 12 goals in his first 17 appearances for St. Johnstone, which prompted the club to offer him an extended contract. Due to his goalscoring form for St Johnstone, Rangers made a pre-contract for Sandaza as his contract set to expire this season. Sandaza eventually rejected Rangers offers. Sandaza says he rejected a pre-contract offer from Rangers because he did not want to be a 'cheap' option. Following his decision to reject the move, the Glasgow club entered administration, leading Sandaza to say he was relieved to have turned down a pre-contract deal and now says he is perhaps lucky that to have not agreed the transfer. However, he was keen to point out his sympathy for Rangers. After one season at St. Johnstone, Sandaza became a free agent after announcing he leaving the club and says thanks for the memories to Perth fans.
"It was really disappointing and not the way I wanted to say goodbye. We had a couple of chances in the first-half and I had one later. My dad saw it on television in Spain and said my goal was onside and should have counted.It was my last game for St Johnstone and I wanted to say goodbye with a goal. It has been a very successful year for myself and for the club. When I came here the objective was to get into the top six and we have done that. Derek McInnnes and Steve Lomas are both good managers and I am grateful to them for giving me my chance. I also want to thank the club and the supporters. I will always love the club and who knows, maybe I will come back one day. Never say never."—Sandaza on leaving the club.
On 7 August 2012, Sandaza signed a three-year deal with Rangers. On 18 August, Sandaza scored his first Rangers goal and provided a double assist in front of a 49,118 crowd at Ibrox, as Rangers won 3–1 against East Stirlingshire. On 20 January, Sandaza scored his second Rangers goal away to Peterhead to give the light blues a 1–0 victory In September, Sandaza soon suffered an injury on a cheekbone and was taken to hospital for an X-ray after clashed heads with Motherwell's Shaun Hutchinson in Scottish Communities League Cup, which Rangers won 2–0. His injury might cause him to be out for eight weeks, with possibilities of being out for the rest of the year.
After admitting to a telephone hoaxer, who claimed to be a football agent, that he was only at Rangers for the money and would leave if an alternative offer was made, suitable for the club as well, he was suspended by the club. He did not appear in training or play for the club again after that incident. During his suspension, Sandaza feared his Rangers career might be over as he suspected that club owner Charles Green wished to sell him. That fear was proven correct as the club, after an investigation into the 'hoax agent' incident, terminated his contract subject to the right of appeal. Shortly after his release, Sandaza attempted to sue the club over this breach of contract. On 18 July 2013, Sandaza dropped his lawsuit against the club and the hoaxer.
Toward the end of the 2011–12 season, Sandaza was banned from driving after admitting to being more than twice the legal limit when he was caught driving the wrong way down a one-way street in Perth. After initially letting him go, police became concerned about the way he drove off and pulled him over again a short time later to perform a breathalyzer test. At Perth Sheriff Court, Sandaza was given a 16-month driving ban and fined £550.
On March 2013, Sandaza was duped into admitting he only moved to Ibrox simply for money by a Celtic supporting taxi driver posing as an MLS agent. When the fake agent enquired about a possible move to the MLS, Sandaza made it painfully obvious that he did not want Rangers involved and was ready to conduct business behind his current employers' back. His comment about Rangers resulted in him being suspended by the club following a decision and an immediate investigation into the comment. The incident also led him to threaten legal action against the prankster However, his Rangers career ended after the club terminated his contract, subject to the right of appeal. Following his release, Rangers legend Mark Hateley wrote in the Daily Record and spoke negatively about Sandaza, but stated that Sandaza leaving would be like a new signing. The only person to speak in Sandaza's defence was Manager Ally McCoist, describing the affair as "just a sad chapter for everybody" and Sandaza as "a smashing lad".
- As of 18 March 2013
|Brighton & Hove Albion||2010–11||15||2||4||2||0||0||0||0||19||4|
- Tercera División: 2004–05
Brighton and Hove Albion
- Football League One: 2010–11
- Scottish Third Division: 2012–13
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- "Francisco Sandaza: I almost quit football to become a cop". Daily Record. 3 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Francisco Sandaza: I told Jordi Alba that Rangers have more passion than Barcelona". Daily Record. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Sandaza signs for United". Dundee United F.C. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- "Hamilton Accies 3–1 Dundee United". BBC Sport. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
- Lindsay, Clive (17 August 2008). "Dundee United 1–1 Celtic". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- "Francisco Sandaza missing for Rangers visit". Daily Record. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Sandaza groin operation postponed". BBC Sport. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Swansea trial for Dundee Utd striker Francisco Sandaza". BBC Sport. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Brighton & Hove Albion sign striker Francisco Sandaza". BBC Sport. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Brighton & Hove Albion sign striker Francisco Sandaza". BBC Sport. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Poyet to release six of Brighton and Hove Albion squad". BBC Sport. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- "Saints snap up striker". St. Johnstone F.C. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Spence, Jim (4 January 2012). "St Johnstone unfazed by Francisco Sandaza contract 'snub'". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Sandaza explains snub". Sky Sports. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- "Sandaza glad he rejected Gers". Sky Sports. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "Sandaza bows out". Perthshire Asvertiser. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Rangers sign Kevin Kyle, Fran Sandaza and Emilson Cribari". BBC Sport. 7 August 2012.
- Rangers v E Stirling – 18th Aug 2012 | Report | Scottish Third | Sky Sports Football
- "Francisco Sandaza could be out for the rest of the year with broken cheekbone". Sky Sports. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Spanish star Fran Sandaza plans legal action over hoax". The Scottish Sun. 24 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- "Sandaza fears for his future". The Scottish Sun. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- "Rangers SACK striker Sandaza after investigation into hoax call from taxi driver who duped striker into admitting he was only in Glasgow 'for the money'". Daily Mail. 3 April 2013. Retrieved March 2013.
- "Rangers terminate Francisco Sandaza contract after hoax call". BBC Sport. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "PFA remain in dark over Sandaza's intentions". Herald Scotland. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Rangers agree to terminate Francisco Sandaza contract". BBC Sport. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- El Lugo ficha a Fran Sandaza (Lugo signs Fran Sandaza); Marca, 18 July 2013 (Spanish)
- "Ban for St Johnstone's Francisco Sandaza after drink driving conviction". BBC News. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Rangers player gets duped by Celtic fan posing as MLS agent". inside World Soccer. 20 March 2013.
- "Rangers suspend Francisco Sandaza over comments made in hoax call". The Guardian. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "I've no sympathy for Francisco Sandaza.. he let Rangers down". Daily Record. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "McCoist sympathy as Spaniard Sandaza terminates contract after internet hoax". Daily Mail. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Fran Sandaza". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 August 2012.