Juanfran makes the most out of opportunity

The former Osasuna man once was lost and now is found at Atlético


Juanfran in match versus Lazio in Rome

Surely, at the start of the season, there were times when Juanfran was beating himself up over having left Osasuna a year and a half ago to join Atleti.

The winger had gone from being a crucial member of the Rojillo side, to ending up as a bench warmer at Atlético.

After some early opportunities handed to him by former Atlético coach Quique Sánchez Flores following Simão’s hasty exit to Turkey, the winger failed to land a regular place in the starting line-up, a predicament that continued on into earlier in this campaign under Gregorio Manzano.

When the Real Madrid youth product was given a chance late in games as a substitute, he looked tense, nervous and utterly lost, quickly becoming the butt of many a Colchonero joke.

But Sílvio’s persistent injury woes and Luis Amaranto Perea’s struggles at right-back opened the door for the 27-year-old to shine elsewhere.

Regularly credited as being a key member of a resurgent Atlético that has dominated in European play, the midfielder-turned-full back is now on the cusp of starring in a Europa League final and has earned the respect of an entire continent.

“Ever since I started playing as a full back, things have gone better for me,” Juanfran recently told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

“I’ve been an important player for ‘El Cholo’ and that trust he has placed in me has changed my life because before I was going by unnoticed at Atlético Madrid and I had come here to triumph. I want all Atléticos to remember me for a long time, or for the rest of their lives.”

He continued: “I want to be here for many years. In my mind, I only think about staying. I want my son to see me play and triumph here. I’m very close with Antonio López, I have tremendous respect for him.

“I see what he represents as a captain, what he represents for the fans, for our team-mates and it’s also a goal of mine. I wanted to play for a big club and that’s what I am doing now, and to be on la Selección, and it’s a possibility for the future.

“To be captain of this team and represent so many captains that have passed through here is a goal of mine as well.”

  • shlomgar

    Too soon to talk about the yellow armband but surely a player to be remembered and appreciated. As long as el Cholo is in charge Juanfran will shine. Like Tiago, Gabi, Koke and Falcao, he fits the program. It’s now clear why Simeone was so optimist when he arrived.

  • Mais

    I love the relationship between adrian and juanfran..I see him coming into a mentor-esque role at this club

  • shay

    He deserves the armband and I will tell you why..
    For many years, Atletico’s defensive line was a joke, a curse, whatever…
    As much as Godin and Filipe (personal favorite player btw) are solid, no one has shown that much consistency like Juanfran and that, for me, is a symbol of a new era maybe..
    Strong defence as well as quality midfield and attack.


  • Javi Lozoya

    Juanfran is arguably the most improved player this season. It takes a lot of courage and determination to accomplish what Juanfran did. To be a substitute player and play in a position that is not his ideal because he wanted and feel like helping the team. It takes a lot of heart to do so.
    Don’t forget it was Manzano’s idea to convert Juanfran into a RB. I though like I assume most of us that Juanfran has no place in the squad but he earned my respect or better yet, I earned his respect. He is one of my favorite players. The guy deserves it. Cholo helped him improve too. Simeone is like King MidAS. Everything he touches he turns it into gold. He made all the players improve and has take us to the Europa League final in his first year ever as the Atleti coach and is on the verge of qualifying us to the Champions League. What more can I ask from Cholo?, He makes me very happy, I’m glad for him and the players, but not the board.
    Grande Juanfran!, Grande Cholo!, Aupa Atleti Siempre!.

  • Juanfran is the best RB in la liga. No doubt. And he is gonna prove it Tomorrow.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I said sort of the same thing and some we’re like, “you joking?, Juanfran is not the best RB in La Liga”, ha!. It’s nice to see someone agrees with me for once. I think Juanfran might or not deserve a call up to la seleccion Española at least as a back up player. Same thing with Adri. He is a different player, a great player, he is pure magic and creates chances for his teammates. He should go to the Euro as a back up player as well. I suppose he is going to the Olympics, which is great too. As long as he stays with Atleti.

  • palc

    Only Dani Alves is better..

  • starvs

    I’m a big Juanfran fan, have been since his first game with us which was the derby last year if you will remember. He was more fired up than anyone else at the bullshit Real was getting away with. So glad to see he has had a great (half) season at RB even though I thought the experiment was folly at first.

    What does this mean for Silvio though, I thought he was great in the beginning of the season. Can be play LB too? He would be a very backup for both sides with A. Lo on the way out, probably too good to not start really…