José Francisco Molina
Molina in action for Levante
|Full name||José Francisco Molina Jiménez|
|Date of birth||8 August 1970|
|Place of birth||Valencia, Spain|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|1990–1991||→ Alzira (loan)||29||(0)|
|1993–1994||→ Villarreal (loan)||18||(0)|
|2000–2006||Deportivo La Coruña||169||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
11 years of his extensive professional career were spent at Atlético Madrid and Deportivo de La Coruña, where he won a total of five titles combined. Over the course of 14 seasons, he appeared in 415 La Liga matches.
Born in Valencia, Valencian Community, Molina started playing professionally with modest UD Alzira, being purchased in 1991 by local giants Valencia CF. After a loan stint with neighbours Villarreal CF he was sold to Albacete Balompié, making his La Liga debut on 8 January 1995 in a 1–0 home win against Real Oviedo. Even though he conceded eight goals in the last matchday, a home loss against Deportivo de La Coruña, his team managed to escape relegation in the playoffs.
Molina's club career was intimately related with Atlético de Madrid, of which he claimed to be a fan. Signing in 1995, he helped the capital club win a double (league and Copa del Rey) in his first year, going on to miss only two league matches in four seasons combined.
Joining 2000 league champions Deportivo La Coruña after Atlético's relegation, he proceeded to win a Spanish cup and two supercups, being an undisputed starter throughout his stint in Galicia. However, on 14 October 2002, Molina announced that he suffered from testicular cancer, and that he was forced to undergo treatment for his illness, thus missing most of the 2002–03 campaign (ten league appearances, as Depor finished third); he eventually recovered fully.
After his link expired, Molina returned home to Valencia for 2006–07, playing for top division strugglers Levante UD, but didn't renew his contract after the season's end, retiring subsequently after the club retained its league status.
In the 2009–10 campaign Molina started a coaching career, with Villarreal C in Tercera División. On 12 May 2011, he replaced fired Javi Gracia at the helm of the reserves in Segunda División, as the team was seriously threatened with relegation.
Molina reached Villarreal's first team on 22 December 2011, taking the place of sacked Juan Carlos Garrido. He was himself sacked on 18 March of the following year after a 0–1 away loss against former club Levante, with the Yellow Submarine dangerously close to the relegation zone (17th).
Molina made his Spanish national team debut as an outfield player against Norway on 24 April 1996 – a cameo appearance as a left winger, as all replacements had been made by coach Javier Clemente and Juan Manuel López retired injured.
He was then included in the squads for UEFA Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, but had to wait until Euro 2000 for first-choice status, although he was dropped after a blunder in the opening 0–1 loss to Norway and did not play afterwards.
- Atlético Madrid
- Al pozo a ritmo de mambo (Down the pit mambo-style); Mundo Deportivo, 19 June 1995 (Spanish)
- Molina on cancer fight; UEFA.com, 14 October 2002
- Molina: "Del cáncer se sale" (Molina: "You can beat cancer"); El Mundo, 14 January 2003 (Spanish)
- Molina battles back; UEFA.com, 14 January 2003
- Molina back in the frame; UEFA.com, 10 March 2003
- Molina announces Depor departure; UEFA.com, 15 May 2006
- Molina sustituye al destituido Javi Gracia al frente del filial (Moya replaces sacked Javi Gracia in farm team); Marca, 12 May 2011 (Spanish)
- Molina to lead Villarreal; ESPN Soccernet, 22 December 2011
- Villarreal sack Molina; ESPN Soccernet, 18 March 2012
- Molina marca ya (Molina score already); Mundo Deportivo, 25 April 1996 (Spanish)
- "Él sabe lo que sentimos" ("He knows how we feel"); El País, 15 January 2012 (Spanish)
- Spain slain by Iversen; UEFA.com, 6 October 2003