Yet another longtime Atlético Madrid player said goodbye on Thursday, as Juanfran held a press conference to announce his departure from the capital and his hope to come back to the club when his playing days are over.
“I hope to return soon,” the 34-year-old said. “That’s what I want, because this is my home. These have been wonderful, incredible years, the best of my career.”
Juanfran joined Atlético from Osasuna in 2011 and almost instantly became a key player when Diego Simeone arrived that December. Simeone moved the ex-Real Madrid prospect from winger to right back and he excelled in the new role, becoming one of the best in his position. Juanfran won seven trophies in the Spanish capital — including the Europa League twice, two European Super Cups and a league title in 2014. Unfortunately, he experienced one major lowlight in red and white — a missed penalty during the 2016 Champions League final penalty shootout, after which Real Madrid went on to win the trophy.
Despite his age, Juanfran continued to show his quality even in decline, such as this moment in a 2017 Madrid Derby when he outpaced Cristiano Ronaldo to win the ball.
Un Juanfran que está en su "peor momento de la carrera" gana facil en un sprint al "mejor jugador del mundo". pic.twitter.com/XJwSsflQCs— (A)TM. xı. (@Vadillo_ATM) November 19, 2017
With his final address, Juanfran mentioned how much the fans have meant to him while he has been at the club.
“To all the Atletico fans, thank you for loving me, for being proud of me. You singing my name was better than winning titles. People want titles, but before this there’s love and respect.”
Nice line from Juanfran at his goodbye at Wanda just now: "I arrived a Viking and I'm leaving an Indian"— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 23, 2019