Juande Ramos is not used to the limelight. His career has been spent largely in the shadows, coaching at some of Spain's less glamorous sides beforing taking charge of Sevilla FC in July 2005. As a former coach of local rivals Real Betis Balompié, his appointment was far from universally accepted by the supporters and the sale of local hero Sergio Ramos and star player Julio Baptista to Real Madrid CF had ripped the heart out of the side. Juande Ramos confounded the critics, taking Sevilla to their first final since a Copa del Rey appearance in 1962 (beating Middlesborough 4-0) winning the UEFA Cup and to a place in the UEFA 2006/7 Champions League.
The 51-year-old comes from Ciudad Real, not far from Madrid in the centre of Spain. He began coaching with Elche CF in 1991 and spent time in the lower divisions, notably with FC Barcelona's B team, before stepping up to the top flight. He is much travelled, counting UE Lleida, Betis, RCD Espanyol and Málaga CF among his former clubs, and knows how to make the most of meagre resources. It was at Rayo Vallecano, Madrid's unfashionable third side, that he first came to prominence. Ramos took them to promotion to the Primera División in his first season in 1998/99 and to a ninth-place finish the following year. Vallecano qualified for the UEFA Cup through the Fair Play ranking and in their first season in Europe went all the way to the quarter-finals.
Ramos is a one of the new breed of Spanish coaches, in the mould of RC Deportivo La Coruña's Joaquín Caparrós, who he replaced at Sevilla, Valencia CF's Quique Flores, and Liverpool FC's Rafael Benítez, a UEFA Cup winner himself with Valencia, who mix hard work with discipline; Sevilla are highly skilled but based on a solid defence.
His mantra is simple "To win we must do whatever we do best," and that his team did as they comprehgensively beat Middlesborough 4-0 to win the UEFA Cup. Perhaps now he is not a Spanish secret, but more of a European one....