Credit: FC Barcelona

Denis Suárez: 'Returning to Spain and Barça was a step forward'

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Denis Suárez: 'Returning to Spain and Barça was a step forward'

The young midfielder talked with El País after signing with Barça

Denis Suárez was interview by El País about his experiences living in Manchester and fulfilling his dream of playing for Spain.

Did you expect to finish the season debuting with the national team?

I thought I could be in the squad. The season had been good and I knew there was a chance. To me it has been fulfilling a dream because I grew up in front of the TV watching the national squad playing. As a fan I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate the three titles. I have more joyful memories than sad ones although the first one is for sure about the World Cup in Korea. The most special one may be the penalties shootout against Italy in the 2008 Euros when Cesc kicked the ball and scored. We were having a dinner at my home, in Salceda. I was a child and look I ended up sharing the locker room with Fábregas in the national squad. It’s amazing.

Nowadays people ask for your jersey, how do deal with that?

It’s weird to me, imagine that. I didn’t count on this. But, right now, all I think about is I want more, I want to compete against the best. That perhaps it’s too ambitious but that’s how I feel it. I want to be a good player and that’s why I have made my decisions in my life.

Such as leaving to Manchester while being so young?

For example.

What did you learn from that experience?

Above all, the experience which is the best; and also friends. The truth is the first day I arrived at the club [Manchester City] and I saw David Silva and Kun [Agüero] in the locker room I got scared a little bit but that helped me to grow up a lot. I was used to be surrounded by my family, in a very nurturing environment. I discovered the whole world in Manchester. I grew up a lot and found out that this [his career] was serious.

And why did you come back?

Because I always wanted to play in Spain. It was a step forward coming back and sign for Barça B. I played two or three matches in Manchester and in Barça B I played almost the entire season, that helped me a lot. And it gave me the opportunity to play in Sevilla. Football is about phases and I’ve been going step by step.

You’re a product of several coaches.

Well yes, you can’t say I have only learnt from just one of them. I have been coached by Mancini, Eusebio, Emery and Marcelino.

Do you imagine what it must be like to train with Luis Enrique?

I don’t know but I feel prepared to cope with all the challenges ahead. I’m ready for everything. And I always want more. I want to become an important footballer.

And what are your memories about Eusebio?

They couldn’t be any better. He made me train with the first squad in Celta and in Barça B he taught me to understand Barcelona's game style. Barça’s football is unique and if you understand it you can play anywhere. I was a playmaker used to move around anywhere I wanted, all over the pitch and one day he took me to his office and and gave me class. He told me where he wanted to see me play, the pitch zones I had to be, on the right or left and from that moment on my change was amazing. He pinpointed us the pitch areas where we had to move. Barça’s game involves many aspects but it all begins with the positioning. I understood the ball comes to you, you don’t have to run after it like a madman.

And what about Emery?

I grew up physically and defensively. I arrived from Barça academy where we spent the entire match attacking and when we were losing, we pushed on the opposite area to try to turn it around. With Unai we played in our trench with much of the field ahead of us. I started playing a lot then I entered a slump but I don’t believe it was a weird thing because it was my first season and we had Banega and Iborra on the squad. Unai gave me a lot of chances on my first season in La Liga.

You also have been coached by Marcelino, is he so stern as he looks like?

He’s demanding, very upfront, he doesn’t bite his tongue. When he’s training you, he tells you what he needs but he does appreciate feedback. Thanks to him, I have performed in the elite football. I have the feeling that I did well in Sevilla but actually my breakthrough season has been the last one. With him I have shaken off my shyness, I’m more consistent and I’m more involved defensively. I think Marcelino has given a vital push, I have lost weight and now I feel faster. I believe that every step I have taken it was in the right direction.

Did you get farther from the box?

I have always been more of passing kind of player. That’s where I recognize myself. In Villarreal’s 4-4-2, I played on the flank but cutting to the inside to connect from there. I’m more a assistant than a striker. I like having the ball.

Where do you see yourself in two years?

Competing for the best. For the titles, for the national team. We’ll see. Everything isn’t up to me but I won’t be lacking effort.

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