Juanfran (footballer, born 1976)
|Full name||Juan Francisco García García|
|Date of birth||15 July 1976|
|Place of birth||Valencia, Spain|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Left back|
|2005–2006||→ Ajax (loan)||16||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in Valencia, Valencian Community, Juanfran started his professional career at Levante UD, where he attracted the attention of 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, 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 season on loan to Dutch side AFC Ajax.
In 2006–07 Juanfran returned to Spain, joining Real Zaragoza for €1.5 million and being a key defensive element as the Aragonese team qualified for the UEFA Cup in that first year. The following campaign 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. He was used regularly during his spell in Greece but, in late January 2010, was loaned to his first professional club Levante, until the end of the second division season; 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 the 2010–11 season (23 games), as Levante eventually retained its division status. He fared even better in the following campaign, with the club finishing sixth and qualifying for the Europa League for the first time ever.
On 20 September 2012, in Levante's European 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.
Juanfran gained 11 caps for Spain, making his international debut in a friendly against Italy on 29 March 2000, after impressive displays at Celta. Subsequently he was included in the nation's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad, and appeared in three matches out of five.
- Juanfran the man for Besiktas; UEFA.com, 6 August 2004
- Ajax take a chance on Juanfran; UEFA.com, 12 August 2005
- Fernández lands former charges; UEFA.com, 3 July 2006
- El descartado Juanfran cerró su marcha al AEK de Atenas (Released Juanfran closed deal with AEK Athens); Marca, 26 July 2008 (Spanish)
- Debutants Levante overcome Helsingborg task; UEFA.com, 20 September 2012
- "La selección saca nota" [National team gets grade] (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 30 March 2000. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Levante official profile (Spanish)
- BDFutbol profile
- National team data
- Juanfran at National-Football-Teams.com
- Juanfran – FIFA competition record
- Soccerway profile