The Spanish tactician has the experience of coaching in his native and Greece.

Juan Ferrando is the man chosen to replace the immaculate Sergio Lobera at FC Goa. The Spaniard will lead the Gaurs in the AFC Champions League next season. Ahead of his exciting journey, he has to deal with the humongous task of overseeing a re-build at Goa, as a number of their first-team players are expected to leave the club. He will also be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot in setting the side up to play entertaining and attractive football.

Only time will tell if he can make the desirable impact for his new employers. For now, let’s take a look at a few fascinating facts from his life:  

5. Started coaching at the age of 18

Growing up in Barcelona, Ferrando wanted to become a professional footballer. However, persistent injuries to his hip and knee meant that he couldn’t fulfill his childhood dream and had to retire at the age of 16. But, his love for football forced him to pursue alternative avenues to remain close to the game. Accordingly, at the nascent age of 18, began the second act of his footballing journey when he started his coaching career.

He graduated from the school of RCD Espanyol and held roles of campus and methodological co-ordinator, dealing primarily with the fitness side of the game. Moreover, he possessed a keen interest in sports science and got his Bachelor in the ‘Science of Physical Activity and Sport’ at the INEFC- University of Barcelona. Later, he worked at the academies of both FC Barcelona and Malaga, equipping himself with valuable experience that would help him later in his managerial career.

4. Massive interest in the field of Sports science

As mentioned earlier, the current FC Goa tactician was fascinated by the scientific side of the game and how minute details could give teams a competitive advantage at the highest level. During his formative years, he enrolled in postgraduate programs such as ‘Nutrition and Dietetics Sport’ and ‘Sports Massage.’ Furthermore, he wrote a thesis on the ‘Effect of body vibration training on the ability to spot jump of professional footballers.’  His work saw him earn a Ph.D. in Sports Sciences from the University of Zaragoza.

Such a background might prove to be very crucial in the current climate. Given the enforced break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players have been confined to their respective abodes and hence will have to face massive restrictions in their normal training schedules, which could affect their fitness. However, the tactician’s expertise in fitness and conditioning might give him an edge, as Juan Ferrando could meticulously prepare training plans best suited to the needs of his players during this period.

3. Worked with world-class players like Fabregas and Van Persie

The 39-year-old coach joined Arsenal in 2010 to work as a fitness coach under Arsene Wenger. This was an invaluable opportunity for Juan, who was still trying to make a name for himself as a coach at the highest level. Here, he got a chance to work as a physical trainer with renowned players such as Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. Wenger’s influence on English football is well-documented.

 He too was a believer in using scientific methods to get the players fit enough to compete and excel in the physically-demanding top division of England. Aside from the drastic improvement in training methods, he also paid special attention to the diets and prohibited the players from consuming certain foods. To learn under a man who shares a similar interest in the use of science in the game would have certainly been a great experience for the aspiring coach.

2. Fired after two games at Greek outfit Ergotelis

After his stint at Arsenal, Juan Ferrando spent a year at Brighton with Gus Poyet before starting work as an assistant coach at Sherrif Tiraspol. He also led the side in the UEFA Europa League group stages, where he faced the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and other top teams. This was only the second time the club had progressed to the group stages in the second tier competition of European football and they nearly made it to the knockout rounds, missing out by mere two points.

Later, he moved to Greece, where he took charge of Ergotelis. It turned out to be a shortlived stay as he was sacked after only two matches, both ending in defeats. The reason for his sacking though came as a result of a disagreement he had with the board. If it is any consolation, his successor faced a similar fate, as he too was fired three months later.

1. He was named Best Football League Coach in Greece

Juan Ferrando may have had a forgettable experience in his first stint in Greece, but it did not discourage him from giving a second shot in the same country. In 2017, he undertook the managerial duties at Volos FC, a side battling in the third tier of Greek football. He instantly made his mark, as his side won the third division before winning promotion yet again to the highest league in the Greek football pyramid.

He was named Best Football League Coach earlier this year on the back on his tremendous work at Volos. However, his time at the club came to an unfortunate end after a serious bacterial infection to the eye nearly blinded him. He required urgent medical attention and hence had to step down as Volos manager.

Keeping with his resurgent attitude, he is back again fully fit after overcoming yet another obstacle in his career. The man has never had it easy, but he keeps beating the odds and his relentless pursuitof his goals would be vital ahead of the re-building job facing him next season.

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