The Spanish Steps allowing Juande to “enjoy the life”

Adelaide United utility, Juande, has felt fortunate from the very start of his Australian journey.

Adelaide United utility, Juande, has felt fortunate from the very start of his Australian journey.

This feature was produced prior to Juande’s injury against Melbourne City and subsequent successful surgery.

It began with Perth Glory in 2018 after a varied career that began in Seville with Real Betis, alongside current Reds teammate and close friend, Javi López.

The pair went their separate ways at the end of their days rooming together through the youth Betis system, and it was Juande who first forged a path to Australia 11 years later.

After two seasons with Glory, featuring a Premiers’ Plate and two runners-up medals, Juande tried his hand in the Indian Super League with Kerala Blasters.

In the meantime, López was rebuilding himself after his cruel axing as captain of Espanyol, and fate would again intervene.

Isaías and Bruce Djite were the key components that brought López and Juande back together in Adelaide, which has long served as a haven for United’s esteemed Spanish alumni.

Together with Isaías, Juande wound back the clock on in a masterful display in what was his 50th appearance as a Red a couple of weeks ago.

He has always loved the sea and travel, so Adelaide, and in particular Bowden, strikes that perfect balance for him and his young family. And South Australia has been comfortable from the beginning.

“Adelaide is just so easy, it’s an amazing place and Bowden for sure is close to everything,” Juande detailed.

“We sometimes go on long trips and flights so to leave the family here in this spot is easy for me and them too.”

Juande is always prepared to repay the favour for Adelaide through the scars that he gains from what seems to be every second game that he plays.

His latest memoir was a vicious mark left in the middle of his brow from the knee of Melbourne Victory’s Christopher Ikonomidis after just 11 minutes at Coopers Stadium in November.

After some time on the turf, a heavily bandaged Juande carried on through to the 82nd minute with the score 1-0 in favour of the home side.

It’s all in a day’s work for the robust Spaniard, who admits that it’s easy to keep going in front of a roaring Reds crowd.

“It’s true, when I have to compare Spain or European crowds to Coopers when it’s full – the atmosphere is more or less similar to them.

“The fans give us extra energy and while the Newcastle game was a different one for us with a poor result, we came back strong with the help of an amazing crowd against Perth on Monday night.

“Ten thousand and more in a stadium like Coopers to me felt like a European crowd for sure, and to play my 50th game for the Club on a night like this was so special.”

The World Cup break has also offered Juande further perspective on and off the field, and he was just as eagerly watching Australia as well as his Spanish compatriots.

He has always been impressed with the quality of the A-League and the Socceroos duly delivered.

“The football today globally is at such a good, even level, and the A-League is only getting better,” Juande said.

“You saw Australia almost push Argentina to extra time if not for one kick, and Goody (Craig Goodwin) was so phenomenal in the tournament which was not a surprise to us at the Club.

“In the end if you’re not up in a good, physical shape and preparation then any team can beat you.”

At 36, Juande has played all around the world, and he’s always happy to impart his vast knowledge to the self-titled ‘Bowden Boys’, which leave for training together from the suburb on the city’s edge.

The car features an eclectic mix of team-mates, with Juande and James Delianov at the front, and ‘Bruiser’ (Harry Van der Saag), and López at the back.

This combined with the ‘youth energy’ in the team excites him, especially when he sees the young players in the squad playing significant minutes and regularly featuring in the first team.

“The squad we have this season is strong in my eyes because we have that youth contributing every game and they’re not just youngsters training with the team and making up the numbers,” Juande said.

“Normally I’m on the left side (of the midfield) and the understanding I have with Goody, and I want to mention Ryan Kitto who works so hard and is always the first one in the change room and the last one to leave, is special.

“Of course, also, I can just look at López or Isaías and we can have a moment of understanding the game situation and I can drop for them or push one of us on depending on what we need at the time.

“I just love playing here in Adelaide.”

And if it wasn’t for football, then Juande would consider delving into photography as he explored with a drone on his family’s recent trip north to Queensland during the pause for the World Cup. Or perhaps a coaching career beckons, with his son also involved in Marcelo Carrusca’s local academy, where Juande has made a number of appearances.

Regardless, the impact of the always-smiling Juande, López and Isaías for all of their experience will surely leave a lasting impact on the Club, as their countrymen have done so before them.

Enjoy the life.

Only at Coopers – Adelaide United memberships on-sale now.