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Atletico Madrid confirm Juanfran hamstring injury

16:13 GMT+3 26/08/2018
Juanfran - cropped
The Spain international left the field in the first half of his side's 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano and will be out for an unspecified period

Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran will be out of action for an unknown spell following a hamstring injury sustained against Rayo Vallecano, the club have confirmed.

The experienced full-back was replaced following by Thomas Partey after just 36 minutes of Diego Simeone’s side’s 1-0 victory over neighbours Rayo, preserving their unbeaten start in La Liga this season.

An MRI scan has confirmed a muscular problem in the 33-year-old’s left leg but Atletico are unsure over a timeframe for his return at present.

The Spain international regained his status as the club’s first-choice right-back following Sime Vrsaljko's departure to Inter on an initial season-long loan deal.

However, his injury is now likely to present an opportunity for Colombia defender Santiago Arias to stake his claim for a starting position, following his arrival as Vrsaljko's replacement from PSV for €11m (£10m/$12.7m) at the end of July.

Juanfran initially began his career at Atletico’s cross-city rivals Real Madrid in 2003, but only made six first team appearances in his two seasons with Los Blancos.

He spent a single campaign at Espanyol where he won the Copa del Rey before joining Osasuna for a five-year-stint between 2006 and 2011.

His impressive showings in Navarre caught the attention of Atletico who signed him in January 2011 for just over €4m.

Under Simeone, he became a key member of Atletico’s most successful period in their history, winning La Liga, a second Copa del Rey, the Supercopa de Espana and the Europa League twice since his arrival.

He was also a member of their side who lost the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals to Real, missing a spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out in the latter.

On the international stage, he was a member of Spain’s victorious Euro 2012 squad, though he did not feature in the 4-0 win against Italy in the final in Kiev. He also played one game at the 2014 World Cup, in his side’s 3-0 victory over Australia.

Atletico next travel to Celta Vigo on September 1 before the international break and then resume their domestic campaign at home to Eibar a fortnight later on September 15.