Paco Biosca: how to go from Lleida to Chealsea's cheif medic 


Cigar smoker, bad driver and a precarious speaker of English, Biosca is venerated by Ambramovich and calls Mourinho "a fantastic guy"

Paco Biosa, jefe de los servicios médicos del Chelsea, con el club inglés y en las instalaciones del Shakhtar Donetsk

06 de octubre de 2015 (10:58 CET)

An internet poll by Rinat Akhmetov, the millionaire president of Shakhtar Donetsk FC changed, changed his life in an unexpected and radical way. Unknown up until then, he was tempted by a blank check to leave his Lleida home in 2005 and was signed by a club with delusions of grandeur. Six years later, he receives a call from Chealsea owner,  Roman Abramovich. A precarious speaker of English (which is the butt of many jokes), Paco Biosca is the head medic for the UK club, and a trusted friend of José Moourinho, who he describes as "a fantastic guy, and the best trainer with whom he has worked".    

Biosca, son of a doctor, was a figure of eminence in Lleida. A passionate football fan, he was the head medic for his city's club for 25 years, during the 93-94 season in which it won against Barça at Camp Nou and Real Madrid at Camp d'Esports. Some difficult years of bad sporting and economic results were to follow, but Paco continued to collaborate with UE Lleida for his love of the club, until one day he received a "strange and unexpected call".

"Shakhtar wanted to hire a doctor, and its directors carried out on online search. At that point I was the president of the European Society of Sports Traumatology, and they got in touch with me. They told me that they would write up my conditions. I thought it was a joke, but five or six people came to Barcelona to see me", Biosca explained in an interview given with RAC-1.  He had just gotten divorced.

Requirements for living in Ukraine

Paco, surprised and grateful, announced his requirements: a good house, a good salary, plane tickets, etc. During the first few months he lived in a hotel suite, and had a chaufer and interpreter at his disposition. "The first thing that surprised me is that Shakhtar had a spectacular training ground", remembers the Catalan doctor. "Shakhatar was going through a growth phase, going from being the second or third club in Ukraine to being the first. I helped put the first brick of its new stadium in place", adds Biosca.

Shakhtar grows and challenges the Champions league teams. Biosca is happy in Ukraine, where he received another very tempting phone call. The caller is Villas Boas, who has just been named as Chelsea' new trainer. The Portuguese coach had wanted to sign Oporto's medic, but the latter rejected the offer and recommended Paco.   

Abramovich and Akhmetov

Biosca, a discreet man, asked that Chealsea get in contact with Shakhtar. A swift, conflicting exit from Ukraine follows. He doesn't want to get tangled up. Abramovich then gets in touch with Akhmetov, and the two magnates find a solution to satisfy both parties. Paco is to become medical director for Chelsea, and will continue to advise Shakhtar.

"Chelsea is paying me three-quarters of my salary, and Shakthar the remaining part", explains Biosca, who supervises the work of 28 people in London and who has worked with Villas-Boas, Di Matteo, Rafa Benítez, and currently, Mourinho.

'Paco English'

Biosca reorganizes Chelsea's medical services. His work is respected and praised by all of the English club's members. He has a good rapport with Abramovich and Mourinho, but also with the team's players. He will never forget one conversation with John Terry and his wife.  

"I speak English very badly, but I wanted to explain to Terry's wife what type of injury it was that the player had. She didn't understand a word, and Terry had to interpret everything that I wanted to tell her. That same day he started to call me Paco English", remembers Biosca, who also has issues with driving. He admits that he is a bad driver, and that his problems are aggravated by having to drive on the left. A friend of the doctor's from Lleida explains to Diario Gol that the medic once crashed into a hedge in the city of Chelsea.  

Cigar smoker

Biosca is successful in London, but he always returns to Lleida. One of the people that knows him best is José Carlos Monge, head of sports for the newspaper, Segre. "In Lleida, he has always been very prudent. Whenever a player was injured, he never said how long he would need to recover for. Everyone in the club knew this, and he was deeply involved in the job", recalls the journalist.

Monge and Biosca shared many experiences together. "He's a big cigar smoker. In a promotional match to rise up to First Division against Sporting, the team was based around 10m from Oviedo, and he asked me if I could buy him a box", explains the head of sports for Segre.

Monge defines Biosca as "a fun person, affable and friendly, who enjoys eating well". He follows with another anecdote: "In Lleida there are two important gastronomic societies. One linked to the Left (Sol y Bernat) and the other, conservative (Caliu Ilerdenc). He is the only person in Lleida who is a member of both, because he doesn't get involved in politics". 

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