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Former Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran follows Dani Alves in signing for Sao Paulo

04:28 GMT+3 04/08/2019
Juanfran Atletico Madrid 2017-18
After spending eight years with the Spanish side, the right-back will continue his career in Brazil alongside the former Barcelona star

Dani Alves could have some competition for the right-back spot with Sao Paulo.

Following the former  Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona star's move to the Brazilian club, former Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran has decided to follow him.

Juanfran enjoyed a hugely successful eight-year spell with Atletico, becoming a fan favourite in one of the best periods in the club's history as Diego Simeone built one of the most dominant back-lines in all of Europe. 

Juanfran won La Liga in his time with Atletico and twice found Europa League glory, though the club's quest for a Champions League crown came up short with Atleti having twice lost out in the final during his time there. 

"Juanfran will face the challenge of playing in South America, participating in the Brazilian championship and feeling the indescribable atmosphere of the Morumbi [stadium]," read a Sao Paulo statement.

The 34-year-old was offered a new deal with Atletico, having signed a one-year extension last year, but he opted to move on after falling out of favour at the Wanda Metropolitano, and says he wants the experience of playing in Brazil

"I was born, raised and have played all my life in Spain. I wanted to live this dream of playing in Brazil," he said.

The move to follow another right-back to the Brazilian club could be something of a shock, but the two players offer very different skillsets, with Alves known as much for his attacking quality as for his defending while Juanfran scored just three league goals across the course of his time with Atletico.

While Alves signed on until December 2022, Juanfran's contract runs until the end of 2020, with both players hoping to help the club jump up the league standings in the coming weeks. 

Sao Paulo sit fifth in the Brazilian table, eight points back of league leaders Santos. 

The two clubs will face off in a crunch clash next Saturday, and Sao Paulo still have plenty of time to close the gap on the leagues with just 12 of 36 rounds having been played in the current season.