It’s an important season for the club, says Juanan after joining Hyderabad FC
Spanish defender Juanan is the third player recently to join Hyderabad FC who has won the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) trophy in the past, after Edu Garcia and Bartholomew Ogbeche. While Garcia did it with ATK FC in 2019-20 and Ogbeche with Mumbai City FC in 2020-21, Juanan did it with Bengaluru FC in 2018-19.
The 34-year-old now looks to emulate the feat with his new club under Manuel Marquez. “I am really happy to have signed for the club. The first time I spoke to Manuel Marquez, I instantly knew I wanted to play my next season with Hyderabad FC. We have a really good squad, a good coach and I think this is a really important year for the club. I would like to get started as soon as possible,” he told Hyderabad FC’s official website.
Juanan moved to India in 2016, and besides winning the prestigious Hero ISL trophy, he has also won the Hero Super Cup as well as the Federation Cup with the Blues. “Winning trophies is really important. The feeling it gives you cannot be put in words. Before I came to the country, I had never won a trophy in my career. Winning the league was a moment I can never forget. My family were in the stadium, the look on my kids’ face is something that will stay with me and it was a really important moment in my career.
“Of course, the Super Cup and the Federation Cup were also special but my first league trophy in the country was a real memorable moment for me,” he said.
Having played four seasons in the Hero ISL, Juanan has undoubtedly earned some serious authority to tell as to where the league is heading. He thinks it’s improving every season. “I think the quality of the league is improving every year. There are new overseas players joining every season, and this is important because it gives the Indian youngsters a chance to learn new things from players who have experience of playing in different countries. I really enjoy playing in the Hero ISL. The organization, the tv interviews, the fans – it is getting better every year and I am really happy here,” he said.
“When I first arrived in India, I had played in the big league and there was a lot of difference in quality. However, in my five years here, I must say it has gotten a lot better. It might take a few more years to raise the level even more, but youngsters coming in are improving every year and that is what is important.”
Last season Hyderabad FC narrowly missed out on the semis and their domestic talents played a massive role in their improving on their 10th-place finish the previous season. Juanan believes he has a lot to offer and can help them get even better. “I think my experience playing in this country and in this league will be really important. I like to talk to them, help them improve. This communication is important for the progress of the club, and I am really happy to play with youngsters in India,” he said.