Jordi Brugnani:  Barcelona’s homegrown ballhawk!

The 2-0 Badalona Dracs, who are looking to win their fifth straight Spanish championship this season, have been a model of consistency during their run.

One of the keys and a constant for them over the years has been the play of one of the best defensive backs in Spain, Jordi Brugnani.

The versatile 6’0″, 180 pound athlete has played all over the field for his hometown squad from wide receiver to defensive back to kicker. The Spanish national team defensive back is certainly a player look out for this 2021 season.

Brugnani has definitely set some goals for this season:

“My goals for this season is to win the Spanish title again, get our fifth championship in a row and try to get 10 interceptions at the end of the season.”

Jordi Brugnani has been a key to the Badalona Dracs success Photo: Dako Photos

Jordi’s football journey began at a young age for football in Europe; He was five when he started playing flag football and then eventually put on a helmet and pads at 14. Since he first touched a football, the Spaniard has been in love with the game.

“Started playing flag football when I was 5 years old, switched to tackle football when i was 14 and didn’t stop playing football since then, that’s my 23rd year.”

Before joining the Badalona Dracs, Brugnani started out playing for the Pioners de l’Hospitalet, and the Roda de Bera Trojans. After competing in Spain, the physical defensive back wanted to improve his game and explore American football outside of his home country. Brugnani headed to Germany, joining the Lubeck Cougars in Germany’s second league. Lubeck offered Brugnani a unique chance to go to Germany and chase his football dreams with his brother, Cesare.

Brugnani explains his decision to play football in Germany:

“ I always wanted to improve and get better, to do that you have to play the best football possible, so Coach Willie Rob contacted me and my brother about getting signed for the Lubeck Cougars and didn’t hesitate to accept the opportunity. I knew it was a good opportunity to get better, get to know another culture even though it’s in Europe, and get my way up to play in the GFL with the best of the best in Europe ”

Playing for Finland’s Jyväskylä Jaguars, Jordi Brugnani returns an interception Photo: Hilarious Hobbit

Brugnani didn’t just belong in Lubeck’s defense, he stood out. During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Brugnani recorded 104 tackles and a staggering nine interceptions. As if that wasn’t enough, the speedy Spaniard showed his versatility kicking, punting, and playing offense as well.

“ At the end I fell in love with the country, culture , the people and how big football is in Germany. Unfortunately, in Spain it’s not as big as Germany, we are really a minority sport, so I really loved all about how they get the big stadiums full of Fans, the gameday, and how close to professional football is in Germany.”

In 2017, Brugnani left Spain again, this time for a new challenge. That summer, Brugnani was a part of the Jyväskylä Jaguars in Finland along with his teammate from Badalona, Guillem Garcia Llines.

“It was a good experience because I never been to Finland so it was a good chance to play football and get to know another country. Got the chance to try some food and to see the northern lights the night before my flight back home, so that was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. ”

The next year, Brugnani returned to Germany, this time to join the Cologne Crocodiles in the GFL, Germany’s top league. After playing in Spain, Finland, and Germany’s second division, the championship defender was ready to show be belonged in Europe’s elite league. It’s safe to say he was ready for the challenge as Brugnani’s stats tell the story; he racked up 35 tackles, two sacks, and five interceptions during the 2018 season.

 “After the Cougars I wanted to get my shot at the GFL and the Cologne Crocodiles gave me that opportunity. Had a great experience with the city, the people and the team. Definitely took the best out of me and met people that I’m still in touch with over the years.”

Jordi Brugnani had an excellent season with the Cologne Crocodiles in 2018. Photo: Bjarne Almstedt

Now back in Spain, Brugnani is ready to defend the title in his home country. So far this season he has been a huge contributor to the Dracs 2-0 start. Kicking field goals, knocking down passes, and returning kicks, Brugnani always seems to end up around the ball. Look for him to keep chasing his football goals and making big plays for the Dracs this year.

“My future goals would be to still be able to perform at a high level. Teach and try to get the young players the same opportunities and experiences that I had playing in Germany or somewhere else outside of Spain, because there is a lot of talent in our country but not a lot of opportunities to get seen and they are the future of our sport in our country.”

Photos: Bjarne Almstedt, Hilarious Hobbit, Dako, Josep Vintro

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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