From Seville to Shanghai- Juan Jose Jimenez Barroca
- Sport Careers Agency client Juan Jose Jimenez Barroca joined Sevilla in 2007 as Head of Academy Medical Staff, before being promoted to first team duties in 2010
- Contributed to famous success including 2010 Copa Del Rey and 2014 Europa League
- Left to take up a post with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC in 2014
- Helped Shenhua reach a domestic cup final and qualify for the AFC Champions League
- Now looking forward to his next challenge- open to offers from anywhere in the world
Sport Careers Agency client Juan Jose Jimenez Barroca has looked after international football stars including Ivan Rakitic, Jesus Navas Alvaro Negredo and Carlos Bacca.
His first foray into professional football came in 2007 when he joined La Liga outfit Sevilla as Head of Academy Medical staff, before moving up to work with the first team in 2010.
During his time in Seville the club enjoyed a number of notable successes, including lifting the Copa Del Rey in 2010 and the Europa League in 2014- the first of a famous hat-trick of titles under manager Unai Emery.
"Juanjo" left Sevilla that summer and headed to the ever-expanding Chinese Super League,taking up a position as Head of Medical Staff at Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC.
We caught up with Barroca this week as he reflected on his spells with Sevilla and Shenhua, as well as looking ahead to his next career move.
Q- You joined Sevilla in 2007 as Head of Academy Medical Staff, before becoming First Team Doctor in 2010. During your time in Seville the club won the Europa League and Copa Del Rey, as well as regularly finishing in the top six in La Liga. What was it like working at the club during such a successful period?
A-It was a continuous learning process. The club was growing up and myself and the whole medical staff became part of this improvement.
Some of the best players in the history of the club were playing during this period and their top level demanded the best performance from us as medical team so it was hard but very exciting and we reached our objectives.
Q- In your final season with Sevilla, the club won the Europa League (beating Benfica in the 2014 final) starting a run of three consecutive Europa League titles. Why do you think that the club developed such a special relationship with this competition?
A-Because of the mentality. If you work at Sevilla you must do your best to win- this goes for players, coaches, medical staff. If the club feels you don't work at 100% then they are going to tell you.
In Spain is very difficult to aim for the league Championship because Real Madrid and Barcelona are so dominant but in the Europe League, even against teams with bigger budgets, we believed that we had an advantage. In the final rounds we only had a word in our minds- victory.
Q- You worked with a number of internationally-recognised players in Seville, including the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Jesus Navas and Carlos Bacca. How do you find working with such high-profile players?
A- For me it was easy, because these players are so professional in their behaviour.
However the club want maximum efficiency during all competitions so you must do everything right and be at the same level that they are. Nowadays I have a very good friendship with many of these players.
Q- Sevilla had six different first-team managers (Manolo Jimu00e9nez, Antonio u00c1lvarez, Gregorio Manzano, Marcelino, Mu00edchel and Unai Emery) during your time at the club. Do you find that you have to adjust your style of work to suit different managers?
A-Yes, of course. Every manager has a different style and I had to adapt to each one but when the manager understands that you work as hard as you can every day and when he watches you looking after the players with your best resources then the connection becomes quite easy.
The vast majority of managers don't like watching medical staff treating players like sick people in a hospital. The competition does not rest and each day of recovery is important, so when the doctor works in line with our competitions and is always thinking about the health of the player as well as the performance of the team, managers recognise the worth of this.
Q- After leaving Sevilla you moved to China with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC. How would you describe your experience in Shanghai?
A-It has been gratifying. A different culture, a new lifestyle and seeing the league improve with advances in the standards of football.
I developed a medical project at Shanghai Shenhua for two years and it was a successful experience. In two seasons we have reached the cup final and the qualified for AFC Champions League and the team was in 9th position when we arrived two years before.
Q- Chinese football has been receiving a lot of coverage in Europe, with an increasing number of players, coaches and staff moving to the Super League clubs. Based on your experience, would you recommend China to your fellow professionals?
A-Yes but it is not for everyone. Itu00b4s very important to create a project with specific objectives. In China you have to be very resolute and reliable.
Q- Now that you have returned from Shanghai, what do you see as the next step in your career?
A-I'm ready for a new challenge. I'd like to experience new competitions and places to live.
A new project with a team with an ambitious target. Maybe Europe or the UK, or even Asia again- why not?
If a club needs medical staff with knowledge, energy and ambition; medical staff that feel the competition...then I would be happy to make that club my next place of work.