Juanfran (footballer, born 1976)

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Juanfran
Juan Fran.jpg
Personal information
Full name Juan Francisco García García
Date of birth (1976-07-15) 15 July 1976 (age 38)
Place of birth Valencia, Spain
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Levante
Number 12
Youth career
Levante
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1997 Levante 48 (1)
1997–1999 Valencia 41 (0)
1999–2004 Celta 126 (6)
2004–2006 Beşiktaş 13 (1)
2005–2006 Ajax (loan) 16 (0)
2006–2008 Zaragoza 62 (0)
2008–2010 AEK Athens 26 (0)
2010– Levante 136 (0)
National team
1998 Spain U21 1 (0)
2000–2003 Spain 11 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 October 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is García and the second or maternal family name is García.

Juan Francisco García García, commonly known as Juanfran (born 15 July 1976), is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Levante UD. Mainly a left back, he can also play as a central defender.

Club career[edit]

Born in Valencia, Valencian Community, Juanfran started his professional career at Levante UD, where he attracted the attention of local giants Valencia CF, signing after three seasons for 1 million. On 31 August 1997 he played his first La Liga game, a 1–2 away loss against RCD Mallorca, and went on make 50 overall appearances for the Che.

Juanfran joined Celta de Vigo prior to the 1999–2000 campaign for €4 million, where he was an undisputed starter in a Galicia team that appeared in the UEFA Cup and the 2003–04 UEFA Champions League (he scored in a 1–1 tie at Club Brugge K.V. as Celta proggressed to the knockout rounds of the latter competition). However, in 2003–04, the club would also be relegated to Segunda División.

After leaving Celta in 2004, Juanfran joined Turkish club Beşiktaş JK,[1] but soon fell out of favour with team management – the coach who brought him to Istanbul, compatriot Vicente del Bosque, was dismissed midway through the season – and would spend the following campaign on loan to Dutch side AFC Ajax.[2]

In 2006–07 Juanfran returned to Spain, joining Real Zaragoza for €1.5 million[3] and being a key defensive element as the Aragonese team qualified to the UEFA Cup in that first year. The following season the player struggled individually and collectively, and the club returned to the second level after a five-year stint.

On 30 July 2008, Juanfran agreed to sign a two-year deal with AEK Athens FC, earning approximately €1 million per season.[4] He was used regularly during his spell in Greece but, in late January 2010, was loaned to his first professional side Levante, until the end of the second division campaign; only weeks later he bought out his contract with AEK, and signed permanently until June 2012, contributing massively to the club's top flight return after a two-year absence.

The 34-year-old Juanfran was the most used player in his position in 2010–11 (23 games), as Levante eventually retained its division status. He fared even better in the following season, with the club finishing sixth and qualifying for the Europa League for the first time ever.

On 20 September 2012, in Levante's European competition group stage debut, Juanfran scored the game's only goal at home against Helsingborgs IF. He netted with his preferred foot from the corner of the penalty area.[5]

International career[edit]

Juanfran gained 11 caps for Spain, making his international debut in a friendly against Italy on 29 March 2000, after impressive displays at Celta.[6] Subsequently he was included in the nation's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad, and appeared in three matches out of five.

Juanfran's last game was an UEFA Euro 2004 qualifier against Northern Ireland in 2003, playing the whole 90 minutes of a 0–0 away draw.

Honours[edit]

Levante
Valencia
Celta
Ajax
AEK

References[edit]

External links[edit]