Nino: “I withdraw from what I love the most, the illusion is over”


Juan Francisco Martínez Modesto ‘Nino’ retires of what he loves most, the practice of football, in the club of his life, Elche. On the verge of turning 41, the franjiverde and Segunda legend puts an end to an unbeatable career, full of records throughout his 24 seasons as a professional.

Through tears, he said goodbye at a crowded press conference, with numerous members of the club and his teammates Gonzalo Verdú, Josan and Fidel Chaves. Vera’s ‘Cañonero’ received a loud ovation and the gold and diamond insignia of the entity from Elche. For the future, he sees himself as a youth soccer coach, a role he could play in “his” Elche.


“All those who have come are friends. We have lived things together. Good and bad. This moment had to come. I withdraw from what I love the most, which is football. It is a unique moment for me. I have lived all the affection in Elche and the other clubs I’ve been to. I never thought I was going to achieve so many things. I got everyone’s respect. I have committed myself and I have given the maximum in what I could. It is time to just thank. A stage is over And another one follows. I have always been a survivor, nobody has given me anything. I have reasons to continue enjoying football, my family and everything that surrounds me. The decision has not been easy, but I think it is the best for me and my environment. I thank presidents, colleagues, coaches, physios, club people, press, utilleros … keep the illusion up to here and everyone’s assessment is unique. I am eternally grateful to Elche, my people, Vera, Tenerife , Osasuna, Raise and everyone who has helped me to the end. cry, but there are many feelings. It is joy for everything lived. Thank you very much from the heart”.

Reasons for withdrawal

“I have always gone year after year, winning it on the field. The last year has been difficult. I have not been able to help and enjoy the team as much as I could. I had to help in another way. I am very competitive. The illusion is It is over. I had a huge illusion ten months ago to continue, but today I have no illusion about playing football. I love this profession so much that it would be disrespectful. I’m ready”.

Future as a coach

“I like it. I have been watching and analyzing matches all year, learning. I carry football within me and I can’t take it off. It’s an option I have and I’m excited about. Why not try it. Today, I like it. being more on the field than in the offices. I am more excited to see the kids and teach them my values ​​than to continue playing football. I want to try. “

What moment do you stay with?

“It’s been many years. Many moments. We have eaten a lot of mud to be in the First Division. I would keep my goal against Melilla, when Nino’s goal began to sound. The goal in Gijón. Pere Milla’s goal in Girona. Good moments. It has also been many sleepless nights. “

The moment to decide to withdraw

“It is an evaluation of the whole year. You work to compete, but if you don’t have the options and you have an age, you think it is time. I could not say the date, but the moment comes.”

Displays of affection

“Feeling this affection is priceless. Feeling so valued by people. It has always come to me. I left ten years ago, I returned to Elche and I felt the same affection. The best thing is to go down the street and that people love you. And they make you feel like one of their own. Elche and Elche is my life. It is reality. “

Conversations with Bragarnik to integrate yourself into the club’s organization chart

“We already had a meeting. We will see the options later. Delighted to be able to continue in the club to help him grow where he can.”

Farewell to the fans

“I am left with the last minutes of Athletic. And the feelings of everyone. I have affection in the street. I am very lucky.”

Would you consider continuing if you had played more?

“I would not know how to answer you. I like to live reality, which has not been easy. I am realistic. Football demands the most of you. I think that retirement is the best decision for me and my environment.”

Why do you think you have played so little in the last season?

“First, age. From there, there are coaches who decide for other players. And I give more value to my career. Professional football has these things. I have respected it at all times and I have helped.”

What record do you keep?

“With all of them. They are very difficult to achieve. I am fortunate. I give them a lot of value. And in the future, more. I would be the player with the most games and goals in the history of Elche. He has enormous difficulty.”

What have your children told you?

“It is a sensitive subject. We know what children are. I have a 15-year-old son and an eleven-year-old daughter. Luckily, they have enjoyed it a lot on the field. I have always transmitted my values ​​to them. My son plays football and he I will help as much as I can. Let them know how important it is to get there. I have spent my entire career by my wife’s side. You know everything I have been through. The issue of family is unique. Soccer brought me to Elche, where I found my wife and children. They are all thanks. Everything that surrounds my life has been given to me by football. “

How was the conversation with your children?

“There was no conversation itself. My son Alejandro has been asking me all season if he played.” I don’t play, Alejandro. “When you haven’t played all season, the boy smells it. He saw the statement on social networks. home, he is sitting on the couch. He had to get there. They are getting older. They have seen his father always giving his best. Life goes on. We will try to continue giving joys at home. “

No record for the oldest scorer in the First Division

“I would have changed that record to have enjoyed more on the field. I’m sure I would have scored more than one goal. The only thorn I had was being able to feel the First Division with Elche. I am leaving very calm. With the recognition of the world of football, which is to value “.

Key to reaching 40 years playing as a professional

“I think the first thing, the illusion. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Afterwards, be mentally strong at all times. You also have to have important genetics. Have good people around you, who give you love. go ahead”.

Message to the fans

“The affection I have for them, for this shield, will be eternal. They made me illicit from the first moment.”

Has soccer been fair to you?

“I don’t know. I have dedicated myself to football body and soul. If it has been fair or unfair, I can’t say. Going back and going down to Second B was a great shock. It was difficult to assimilate. I stayed to return to professional football with Elche . I would keep that I am physically perfect. Surrounded by the people I love. Very few players can have such tributes. “

Your phrase “Elche is my life”

“The phrase came from my heart. It is what I feel and will feel for life. Nice to say it.”

Are you excited to transmit your values ​​to the kids?

“It has always been my idea. Appropriate values ​​for them. Humility, work, companionship, living being a footballer. Being mentalized. It is very difficult for everyone to arrive. My idea is to continue transmitting what comes from within me.”

Ovation in the last game

“People chanted my name being from Elche and playing for the rival. Only a footballer can feel that warmth from people. They are unique situations. Being a professional footballer is the greatest thing that can happen to you.”

Despite suffering a serious injury, you retire at almost 41 years old

“He caught me when I was 33 years old. I had never broken my knee. Surging hard. Luckily, I found a perfect surgeon. I was privileged with my genetics and mentality.

What recognition of Elche would make you more excited?

“The best is to have the mobile phone burst with messages. I am grateful that Elche puts door 7 in my name. But the affection of the people is what remains. This is full stop.”

Elche growth

“If the club is in the First Division, it means that they are working well so that the club is where it deserves. A lot of work and pick and shovel. Elche is growing in every way. It is positive and I hope it continues like this.”

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