With just 10 years he reached The farmhouse. But in 2018 he left the Barcelona quarry to try his luck at the Monaco, which offered him to train with the first team, in which he shone Radamel Falcao. But his Monegasque adventure lasted only a year, because the Real society, with which he fulfills his goal of reaching the First Division at the age of 19, after making his debut last season, curiously, at the Camp Nou. With you, Robert Navarro.
-He is gradually fulfilling his challenge of reaching First …
All of us who started to play soccer when we were little, we dream of something like this coming, that they raise you to the first team to be in First. And fulfilling it here, after working hard and spending two good years at Sanse, makes me very excited. I'm going up this year, but the most difficult thing is to stay and you have to work hard to be able to stay here.
-He left home very young, he was in La Masía, a good place to train; and decides to go to Monaco. How was that?
I signed for Barça when I was 10 years old, I was there with my grandparents. I was able to learn many things, but I think that at that time the lack of confidence in the project that Barça had, which was not the best. And I have other options that offer you a different project, and I took the step to go on an adventure because what I wanted was to get to First. Monaco convinced me, because their project was good, because I trained with their first team, with high-level players like Falcao and Jovetic. But it was not a good year and the project changed, I made a good European, several teams came to look for me, including the Real. I liked their project from the beginning, because the present and future that they proposed attracted me a lot. and that made me take the step of coming to the Real.
-And what attracts you to that project that they offer you in Zubieta?
Let's see, I had no intention of leaving Monaco, but because his project with me changes and I make a good European, I decide to listen to other things and the Real offers me with the idea of having a future up, they convinced me from the first minute. and for now very well and happy. Because I have worked very well these years at the subsidiary. I can't complain at all.
-But at first it cost him a bit in Zubieta, right?
In the end I was in Monaco with the first team, and it was to change the chip to come to train and play with the subsidiary. It took me a bit to adapt, yes. At the end you arrive again and I had a bit of discontinuity and there was a lot to do with the national team, we had the World Cup in Qatar. But I adapted pretty quickly because the teammates made it very easy for me. And the second year, as I like to have a leading behavior on the field, and at Sanse we did very well with the confidence that Xabi Alonso gave me, which I thank him forever.
-What does Xabi Alonso mean in his young career?
A lot, because it tells you, it always convinces you. I tried to listen to all the advice he gave me, because it always helps. I appreciate that he gave me the freedom to move wherever I wanted and after improving in defensive aspects, and in numbers of goals and assists, which is very important. Thank you for these two years, because they have helped me a lot. I am sure that as a coach he will also grow.
-How do you handle the pressure? Because inevitably he always has many glances on you …
The truth is that I am lucky that I have parents who always make me keep my feet on the ground. They always tell me to be calm and perform on the field, and that I train a lot and with humility, showing on the field what I have to do.
-How are you doing your first preseason with the first team?
The rhythm of the first team is different and there is more intensity. But the companions are making it very easy for me and they help me in pruning. Here it is about doing what I have been doing since I was little.
-He will attend a Silva clinic every day, with whom he shares a position, what luck!
Yes, training and playing alongside him is incredible. I look at him and learn everything I can, and he gives me a lot of advice, because that way he will allow me to continue growing because I am young. And I want to imitate him in his effort and work, because that is not seen, but he is a great professional too.
How would you like your first year of First Year to be?
The truth is that I am calm with that. I have to keep improving and learning every day with some great colleagues, like Merino, Oyarzabal … they are all great professionals. and with these people I want to have all the minutes I can, and take advantage of those opportunities that they give me. It is difficult to play because there is a great team, but I want to take advantage of the minutes I have, because it is my first year and it will not be easy to play.
-He already did it the other day against Huesca. He came out in the second half and scored a goal. Is that what you mean?
Yes, because I have already told you that I like to be a leader, I like to have that role and pull the car. And even if I'm in the first team, I'm not going to be scared and I'm going to continue doing my football. Always ask for the ball, to give support, look for the best option, try an assist or score a goal. Not hiding from the ball, not being afraid of the ball and giving solutions to teammates.
-In January it was published that he had asked to leave because he was not close to the team he wanted and that he had been promised. Was there any of that?
No, it goes. I was calm. He was just coming from debuting with the first team at the Camp Nou. I knew my place was the Sanse. Yes it is true that I have that ambition and hunger to be in the First Division, but my year at Sanse and I am here to continue improving. The club is marking the steps for me to go little, I could not complain a little how they are treating me. And now it is about improving and learning to gain more and more minutes.
-Have you ever had to stop your feet because you wanted to run too much?
Well, in the end, when you are in the field, you look very keen and one day you come home and say that you want to be up there and prove yourself. Because my dream is to play in First Division and I try to improve every day to do so. But it is about having a well furnished head, my parents tell me calm down and be calm, because things are going to come. The two years at Sanse have been very good for me to seize this opportunity in the first team with great enthusiasm.
-Have you ever thought about how capricious football is with your debut in the First Division, at the Camp Nou and against Barcelona?
(Laughs) Well yes. I had been called up before with the first team, but I did not imagine it. An incredible experience, and it was special because I was there for five years, and I had seen many games in the stands of the Camp Nou.
-You are showing that there is life beyond Barça …
You are right. Let's see, Barça is a very big club and has an incredible quarry. But there are other teams that are working well, that are very professional … They are not as high-profile as Barça, but there are others like Real who take good care of you to get to the First Division. Then there is the work of each one, because if you want to reach the top there is a lot of sacrifice behind.
-Have you ever thought about returning to Barcelona?
No, not really. I live in the present, I am very focused here. I want to succeed here at La Real. Since I arrived, I have been eager to show that I want to be here and succeed at La Real. I am not thinking of leaving here, because I am very happy.
-Don't you feel pressure with so many lights on you?
I try not to listen much to what people say, I also like that pressure, feeling a bit important because as I like to have that role of leader on the field, all of that is quite simple for me, and I carry it with ease. And then I just try to do what I've been doing since I was little, show my football and help my team in everything. I handle it quite well.
-You know that now you are going to have as a trainer a kind of bulldog like Imanol, who is going to squeeze you and demand a lot …
I am a player who really likes to train and work. My father has taught me that. And the truth is that having a coach like Imanol who squeezes and encourages you, and knows when to do each thing, seems like a very good thing to me. and I listen to him a lot to learn to evolve. And learn from that intensity that I have evolved a lot defensively since I came here, but that I still have to improve a lot.
-It's a kind of rare bird in today's football. Vice in Donosti with his mother. How is that?
A decision we make in the family. I would have stayed at Barcelona or gone somewhere else, we decided that my mother would come with me, because she is an incredible support and helps me in everything she can. It makes everything easier for me, and I have to be very grateful. It is a very great support for me. It helps me to always have my feet on the ground. I was already living in Barcelona with my grandparents. family is important in my life.
-He arrives at a Real that has an incredible trajectory. Repeating has made it difficult for him!
(Smiles) The truth is, yes. They have been spectacular for two years. You are seeing the results of the work that is done from below in the quarry. I have the dream that while I am here, Real can enter the Champions League, I have that goal and that illusion. But to repeat everything that is being done will have to work a lot because it will not be easy. But this squad can do it because they have a lot of quality and humility.