Perhaps Juanfran let himself be carried away by that attacking vocation that impregnated his football when he tried to conquer a space in this hostile environment in the mid-nineties of the last century. Perhaps that attacking condition was installed deep inside him, and for that reason his movements reflected a certain automatism when he was located in the antipodes of the space he used to protect, even though the passage of time led him to start a long journey in the opposite direction until he settled and made his fortune on the geography of the left bank of the rearguard. Perhaps Juanfran evoked old, but not forgotten, afternoons, when the metallic breeze of the Bronze category flooded the firmament of the Ciutat de València Stadium, at the moment when, with determination and vigour, he stepped into the Helsingborgs goal area to connect a shot that dethroned Hansson’s goal. It was an afternoon in September 2012 in the Orriols neighbourhood coliseum.

Perhaps Juanfran, in a magical millisecond, recalled the image of that boy from the working class neighbourhood of Orriols who dreamed of being a striker and became a competent defender. What is certain is that Juanfran’s goal, a milestone in the history of Levante because it was the first to be scored in the group stage of the Europa League, changed the direction of a somewhat dense match with a condensed atmosphere for Levante, who, in the end, were able to maintain their minimal advantage despite the Swedish side’s attacks in the second half. But the question that arises is unquestionable: Was Juanfran the scorer of the first goal in Europe? It all depends on how the answer turns out. It is clear that the match against Helsingborgs inaugurated the competitive sequence of the Europa League group format, but a few weeks earlier, Levante had already decided their definitive passage in Scotland against Motherwell. And it was in that match that the figure of Juanlu emerged.

And the Andalusian striker claimed first-hand responsibility for the goal that opened Levante’s scoring record in Old Europe on the field of the boys of steel. And the moment was a tasty one, especially for the media covering the post-match match against the Swedish side. Juanfran with an earpiece in his ear recounted the feat. His eyes sparkled at the deeds he had carried out with the Granota crest. In recent times he had not been known for his close relationship with the goal after having withdrawn into himself to protect the full-back.

At that moment Juanlu emerged from the dressing room ready to defend the validity of the goal scored at Motherwell. It was on a Scottish night in August 2012. The two Granotas players engaged in a passionate and charming debate about the paternity of the much-talked-about first goal. The laughter and good-natured arguments capitalised on a situation that was immortalised. On that magical night, there were neither winners nor losers, but the passage of time has kept that struggle and that effervescence intact. Juanfran and Juanlu are still competing for the authorship of the first granota goal in the universe of the Old Euopa. And it doesn’t look like an agreement is imminent.