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Antonio Calderon Talks Up Ortiz While Ortiz Wants Here Soon


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Published: 06 Jul 2011

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He doesn't have the flair of Xavi.

He might lack the sublime skills of Andres Iniesta.

Antonio Calderon says, however, Rangers new boy Juanma Ortiz is one of a kind.

Dubbed 'Tiger' in his Spanish homeland, Juanma has the combative style that marks him out as a one-off in La Liga and makes him pefect for the SPL.

Calderon has watched the former Almeria ace relish the midfield war zones in Spain and the former Kilmarnock, Raith Rovers and Airdrie playmaker is convinced his countryman is tailor-made for the rigours of an Old Firm title fight.

Right-sided midfielder Juanma will put pen to paper on a three-year deal this morning to complete his switch to Scotland.

Ex-Raith boss Calderon - who is in the running to become the new boss of relegated Tenerife - believes the tough-tackling 29-year-old can be a smash hit at Ibrox.

He also feels Rangers fans will immediately take Juanma to their hearts, just as they did Nacho Novo.

Calderon said: "I think Rangers fans will love Juanma's commitment. There is no doubt about it.

"He is a good pro and a fantastic worker. He's maybe not your typical Spanish midfielder - you wouldn't call him a silky player - but he is passionate and committed.

"He'll work hard for the whole team, not just for 90 minutes but for the whole season.

"The fans shouldn't expect a player like Joaquin who played for Valencia and Spain.

"He was a quick winger whereas Juanma is not as spectacular. He is a box-to-box player but I think he will do well in Scotland and I'm sure he can do a job for Rangers.

"I can see him adapting well to the game in Scotland.

"I was there for a few years so I remember the way the game is played in Scotland.

"The SPL is a very competitive league but for me that's why it is a good fit. Juanma is a very competitive player.

"It's a good move for him. Rangers are a big club and he'll feel he is making a big step up. He will arrive full of confidence and will be highly motivated to do well.

"He's been around for a good few years as well and has plenty of experience. It's not like he's a young raw talent - he is a solid professional and can do a job in a number of positions.

"I've seen him play on the right wing, at right back, and even at left back. It's that kind of versatility that makes him very popular with managers.

"Now this is a new challenge for him in a new country and he clearly wants to make a go of it in Scotland."

Juanma came through the youth ranks at Atletico Madrid alongside the likes of Fernando Torres.

He played just six times for the full side in five years with the club but Calderon insists his schooling was one of the best in Spain.

Calderon said: "Atletico's youth system is very good and he was there for a number of years learning his trade. Some of the best young players were at Atletico. The likes of Fernando Torres was there as a youngster so you can see the kind of talent produced there."

While he struggled to make the breakthrough at Atletico, Juanma was farmed out on loan to Osasuna where he gained first-team experience over two seasons from 2004 to 2006.

The following year he played the full season on loan at Second Division side Poli Ejido before signing for Almeria in 2007.

There he became a hugely popular figure with the fans.

Calderon insists Juanma has shown he can hack it in one of Europe's top leagues and will be ideal for Gers.

Calderon said: "He went to Osasuna on loan where he played some games but then he got good experience at Poli Ejido who were in the Second Division at the time.

"When he went to Almeria in 2007 he played lots of games and did really well.

"The last four or five years have been really good for him.

"He has established himself as a regular for Almeria and I recall seeing him score a couple of good goals.

"In fact, he scored one of the goals which put Almeria up to La Liga.

"It was the first time in about 20 or 30 years that they were up there.

"And when they were in the top division he scored a good goal against Seville.

"The standard in La Liga is very high. You don't play in the midfield for a La Liga side unless you're a good player - and Juanma has some good qualities."

Calderon was part of the Spanish armada brought over by Steve Archibald to Airdrie in 2000.

However, there haven't been too many Spaniards gracing our game in recent years - and Calderon would love to see that change.

He said: "I think Scotland would benefit from some Spanish influence because our football is now at its best.

"The Spanish managers and players are now full of confidence.

"We believe in our style of football and in the way our players are developed.

"Scottish teams should perhaps be looking at more Spanish players.

"I remember how popular Nacho Novo was with the Rangers fans.

"He was very young when he arrived in Scotland from Spain but was full of passion and hunger.

"The Rangers fans loved that about him - and I think they'll love that about Juanma too."

Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3679686/Theres-no-one-quite-like-Juanma.html#ixzz1RH9ykoE2


Published: Today

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Carlos Cuellar told Juanma Ortiz to join Rangers - because they're the Real Madrid of Scotland.

Cuellar called close pal Juanma yesterday as he edged closer to joining the SPL champs.

The pair were team-mates at Osasuna and the ex-Gers stopper told his fellow Spaniard he's making the right move.

A source close to Juanma told SunSport: "Carlos phoned Juanma in Glasgow on Tuesday and told him he was thrilled for him that he was joining Rangers. He said it was a great move for him. Carlos described Rangers as 'the Real Madrid of Scotland' and that really excited Juanma.

"They played together at Osasuna and they are good friends."

Juanma, 29, has agreed personal terms with Gers and will sign a three-year contract this morning.

The deal would have been completed last night but there was a delay in paperwork from Spain.

If Gers can cut through the red tape in time, he'll fly out with his new team-mates to their German training base today and could be involved in tomorrow's friendly against Sportfreunde Lotte.

Juanma said last night: "I want this to go through quickly so I can go to Germany. I want to leave with the rest of the lads. I have everything ready to be a Rangers player."

Agent Bill McMurdo added: "I am convinced it will go through on Wednesday."

Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3679866/Gers-are-a-REAL-step-up-Juanma.html#ixzz1RHAGHTAL

Sounds good, good to hear of Carlos' chat too.

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King Carlos - haste ye back. Welcome Ortiz, I hope you can uphold the fine standards your fellow countrymen have set on their times here, if you make anything like the impact of Novo and Cuellar, then you'll make Ibrox your second home.

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Rangers fans will help Juan Manuel Ortiz love time in Glasgow, says ex-Ibrox star Nacho Novo

Jul 6 2011 David Mccarthy

NACHO NOVO reckons fellow Spaniard Juan Manuel Ortiz will never have experienced anything like the passion of the Rangers support - even though he's played in front of 100,000 fans at the Nou Camp and Bernabeu.

Former Ibrox hero Novo was delighted to learn his countryman has become Ally McCoist's first capture as Rangers manager and believes Ortiz will light up the SPL.

And he insisted the Scottish champions will give his countryman the best experience of his football career.

Novo, now with Sporting Gijon in La Liga, played and scored in a 1-1 draw against Ortiz's Almeria last term and feels the 29-year-old will love every minute of life in Glasgow.

He said: "Ortiz is leaving one of the biggest leagues in the world to come to Scotland but I think this is a step up for him because he is joining one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"Almeria spent four years in La Liga before going down at the end of the season but that was still a great achievement because it really is a small club.

"They would have loved playing against clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid in front of crowds of nearly 100,000 but most of those fans would have been against them.

"Now Ortiz will be playing at Ibrox in front of 50,000 Rangers fans and he is going to experience an atmosphere like nothing else. When you have that many fans supporting you it makes you a better player and he is already good to start with."

McCoist is likely to hand Ortiz a role on the right side of midfield but many of his 25 games for Almeria last season were played at right-back and left-back.

Novo said: "He is quick and versatile. He always wants to get forward but in the match I played against Almeria, Ortiz was playing left-back and I was directly up against him on the right wing.

"I scored our goal and played well against him. But I know he is a very good player and this is probably the best time for Ortiz to be trying something new.

"He has spent all his career in Spain with some great clubs like Atletico Madrid and Osasuna but it is always exciting to go to another country and experience a different kind of football and a different culture.

"I loved my time in Scotland with Raith, Dundee and Rangers - playing for the Rangers supporters is something I will never forget and I will always love the club.

"I know Carlos Cuellar felt the same way when he was at Rangers. We spent a lot of time together and I know he would like to come back to the club.

"Now another Spaniard is there and I am sure Juanma will grow to love the club the way I did.

"Everyone looks after you so well and with the support behind him he can do great things."

http://www.<No links to this website>/football/spl/rangers/2011/07/06/rangers-fans-will-help-juan-manuel-ortiz-love-time-in-glasgow-says-ex-ibrox-star-nacho-novo-86908-23250907/

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Novo on Cuellar - "I loved my time in Scotland with Raith, Dundee and Rangers - playing for the Rangers supporters is something I will never forget and I will always love the club.

I know Carlos Cuellar felt the same way when he was at Rangers. We spent a lot of time together and I know he would like to come back to the club."

Bring him home Ally, make it happen!

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