Interview

Ready for more

Villarreal’s defender discusses what it takes to compete in the Champions League, that night in Gdańsk and Geró Rulli’s shoot-out heroics

Veteran defender Raúl Albiol has seen most things in football, although the 35-year-old is still fired by enthusiasm ahead of tonight's Super Cup as he looks forward to the upcoming Champions League campaign and back on aEuropa League triumph that is still fresh in the memory. Part of Spain's victorious squad at the 2010 World Cup, there was something extra special about the Yellow Submarine's victory in Gdańsk – not least the memorable way in which the trophy was secured, with Albiol unexpectedly finding himself on the spot.

You'll play in the Champions League this season after winning the Europa League so what do you think of Villarreal’s chances in the competition?

We have to enjoy it and give it our all, because if you don’t battle hard in the Champions League, you’ll be completely overrun. We have to prepare well and give it our all. Beyond that, it will be about making progress, little by little.

We’re not favourites, or even among the top eight, so ultimately, we need to play our game and enjoy it as much as we can – if the fans are there too, even better – so that we can ultimately have a good season, to experience it. We have won before, and so…

What do you remember most about the Europa League final? Was it the shoot-out?

I remember the atmosphere, even though there wasn't much of a crowd, but having our families in the stadium made us all very excited. I remember they gave twice as much as we did physically in the warm-up, which caught our attention.

But the truth is that it was a hard-fought, hard match, and the shoot-out was something magical, something historic for a team to be able to score 11 out of 11 in a final.

You took and scored Villarreal's seventh penalty – were you nervous as your turn approached?

Well, those of us in the middle of the pitch were getting used to the idea that we could take one, because as it was progressing, nobody was missing. Taking a penalty during sudden death is worse; shooting in the first five, there is always the possibility that the opponent could also miss even if you make a mistake. With sudden death, the chances are minimal, so if you miss, you could be eliminated and, in that sense, once the sixth person started, the nerves were worse. You might have practised during training, but you don't have the pressure of a final so it's different. That's why you have to put yourself in the moment of taking a penalty in a game like this.

Raúl Albiol scores in the Europa League final shoot-out


How did you feel when you saw Gerónimo Rulli approaching to take a penalty? 

Nothing, faith, because as well as us, we had a seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth taker who had never taken a penalty before – the likes of Mario Gaspar, Francis Coquelin, Pau Torres or myself, and we all scored. So Geró could also score, right? And all this knowing that if you failed, that it was almost over. Geró was able to score and above all, he [then] saved a penalty. He achieved two very difficult things. Us players score and leave; we don’t have to save any penalties.

What is it that makes Villarreal special? What are this team's strengths?

Historically, I think everyone who plays here says the same thing about the club. It’s a great club in that you have everything at your disposal to enjoy your work and have fun. It’s a very family-oriented club, where you know everybody, and you’re made to feel as if you’ve been here for many years. And beyond that, it’s the philosophy of the club’s president Fernando Roig to play football, to have good players, good coaches, and always play attractive football.

Villarreal was always a club that I had a soft spot for from the outside, and even more so now. I think lots of people were delighted with our Europa League victory, and although I’ve only been here for two seasons, I feel like I’ve been here longer, thanks to everyone who works here – my team-mates, everyone – who make you feel at home. That means you work with a smile on your face, and when you’re happier at work, success is easier to come by.

Veteran defender Raúl Albiol has seen most things in football, although the 35-year-old is still fired by enthusiasm ahead of tonight's Super Cup as he looks forward to the upcoming Champions League campaign and back on aEuropa League triumph that is still fresh in the memory. Part of Spain's victorious squad at the 2010 World Cup, there was something extra special about the Yellow Submarine's victory in Gdańsk – not least the memorable way in which the trophy was secured, with Albiol unexpectedly finding himself on the spot.

You'll play in the Champions League this season after winning the Europa League so what do you think of Villarreal’s chances in the competition?

We have to enjoy it and give it our all, because if you don’t battle hard in the Champions League, you’ll be completely overrun. We have to prepare well and give it our all. Beyond that, it will be about making progress, little by little.

We’re not favourites, or even among the top eight, so ultimately, we need to play our game and enjoy it as much as we can – if the fans are there too, even better – so that we can ultimately have a good season, to experience it. We have won before, and so…

What do you remember most about the Europa League final? Was it the shoot-out?

I remember the atmosphere, even though there wasn't much of a crowd, but having our families in the stadium made us all very excited. I remember they gave twice as much as we did physically in the warm-up, which caught our attention.

But the truth is that it was a hard-fought, hard match, and the shoot-out was something magical, something historic for a team to be able to score 11 out of 11 in a final.

You took and scored Villarreal's seventh penalty – were you nervous as your turn approached?

Well, those of us in the middle of the pitch were getting used to the idea that we could take one, because as it was progressing, nobody was missing. Taking a penalty during sudden death is worse; shooting in the first five, there is always the possibility that the opponent could also miss even if you make a mistake. With sudden death, the chances are minimal, so if you miss, you could be eliminated and, in that sense, once the sixth person started, the nerves were worse. You might have practised during training, but you don't have the pressure of a final so it's different. That's why you have to put yourself in the moment of taking a penalty in a game like this.

Raúl Albiol scores in the Europa League final shoot-out


How did you feel when you saw Gerónimo Rulli approaching to take a penalty? 

Nothing, faith, because as well as us, we had a seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth taker who had never taken a penalty before – the likes of Mario Gaspar, Francis Coquelin, Pau Torres or myself, and we all scored. So Geró could also score, right? And all this knowing that if you failed, that it was almost over. Geró was able to score and above all, he [then] saved a penalty. He achieved two very difficult things. Us players score and leave; we don’t have to save any penalties.

What is it that makes Villarreal special? What are this team's strengths?

Historically, I think everyone who plays here says the same thing about the club. It’s a great club in that you have everything at your disposal to enjoy your work and have fun. It’s a very family-oriented club, where you know everybody, and you’re made to feel as if you’ve been here for many years. And beyond that, it’s the philosophy of the club’s president Fernando Roig to play football, to have good players, good coaches, and always play attractive football.

Villarreal was always a club that I had a soft spot for from the outside, and even more so now. I think lots of people were delighted with our Europa League victory, and although I’ve only been here for two seasons, I feel like I’ve been here longer, thanks to everyone who works here – my team-mates, everyone – who make you feel at home. That means you work with a smile on your face, and when you’re happier at work, success is easier to come by.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Veteran defender Raúl Albiol has seen most things in football, although the 35-year-old is still fired by enthusiasm ahead of tonight's Super Cup as he looks forward to the upcoming Champions League campaign and back on aEuropa League triumph that is still fresh in the memory. Part of Spain's victorious squad at the 2010 World Cup, there was something extra special about the Yellow Submarine's victory in Gdańsk – not least the memorable way in which the trophy was secured, with Albiol unexpectedly finding himself on the spot.

You'll play in the Champions League this season after winning the Europa League so what do you think of Villarreal’s chances in the competition?

We have to enjoy it and give it our all, because if you don’t battle hard in the Champions League, you’ll be completely overrun. We have to prepare well and give it our all. Beyond that, it will be about making progress, little by little.

We’re not favourites, or even among the top eight, so ultimately, we need to play our game and enjoy it as much as we can – if the fans are there too, even better – so that we can ultimately have a good season, to experience it. We have won before, and so…

What do you remember most about the Europa League final? Was it the shoot-out?

I remember the atmosphere, even though there wasn't much of a crowd, but having our families in the stadium made us all very excited. I remember they gave twice as much as we did physically in the warm-up, which caught our attention.

But the truth is that it was a hard-fought, hard match, and the shoot-out was something magical, something historic for a team to be able to score 11 out of 11 in a final.

You took and scored Villarreal's seventh penalty – were you nervous as your turn approached?

Well, those of us in the middle of the pitch were getting used to the idea that we could take one, because as it was progressing, nobody was missing. Taking a penalty during sudden death is worse; shooting in the first five, there is always the possibility that the opponent could also miss even if you make a mistake. With sudden death, the chances are minimal, so if you miss, you could be eliminated and, in that sense, once the sixth person started, the nerves were worse. You might have practised during training, but you don't have the pressure of a final so it's different. That's why you have to put yourself in the moment of taking a penalty in a game like this.

Raúl Albiol scores in the Europa League final shoot-out


How did you feel when you saw Gerónimo Rulli approaching to take a penalty? 

Nothing, faith, because as well as us, we had a seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth taker who had never taken a penalty before – the likes of Mario Gaspar, Francis Coquelin, Pau Torres or myself, and we all scored. So Geró could also score, right? And all this knowing that if you failed, that it was almost over. Geró was able to score and above all, he [then] saved a penalty. He achieved two very difficult things. Us players score and leave; we don’t have to save any penalties.

What is it that makes Villarreal special? What are this team's strengths?

Historically, I think everyone who plays here says the same thing about the club. It’s a great club in that you have everything at your disposal to enjoy your work and have fun. It’s a very family-oriented club, where you know everybody, and you’re made to feel as if you’ve been here for many years. And beyond that, it’s the philosophy of the club’s president Fernando Roig to play football, to have good players, good coaches, and always play attractive football.

Villarreal was always a club that I had a soft spot for from the outside, and even more so now. I think lots of people were delighted with our Europa League victory, and although I’ve only been here for two seasons, I feel like I’ve been here longer, thanks to everyone who works here – my team-mates, everyone – who make you feel at home. That means you work with a smile on your face, and when you’re happier at work, success is easier to come by.

Ready for more
Interview

Ready for more

Villarreal’s defender discusses what it takes to compete in the Champions League, that night in Gdańsk and Geró Rulli’s shoot-out heroics

Veteran defender Raúl Albiol has seen most things in football, although the 35-year-old is still fired by enthusiasm ahead of tonight's Super Cup as he looks forward to the upcoming Champions League campaign and back on aEuropa League triumph that is still fresh in the memory. Part of Spain's victorious squad at the 2010 World Cup, there was something extra special about the Yellow Submarine's victory in Gdańsk – not least the memorable way in which the trophy was secured, with Albiol unexpectedly finding himself on the spot.

You'll play in the Champions League this season after winning the Europa League so what do you think of Villarreal’s chances in the competition?

We have to enjoy it and give it our all, because if you don’t battle hard in the Champions League, you’ll be completely overrun. We have to prepare well and give it our all. Beyond that, it will be about making progress, little by little.

We’re not favourites, or even among the top eight, so ultimately, we need to play our game and enjoy it as much as we can – if the fans are there too, even better – so that we can ultimately have a good season, to experience it. We have won before, and so…

What do you remember most about the Europa League final? Was it the shoot-out?

I remember the atmosphere, even though there wasn't much of a crowd, but having our families in the stadium made us all very excited. I remember they gave twice as much as we did physically in the warm-up, which caught our attention.

But the truth is that it was a hard-fought, hard match, and the shoot-out was something magical, something historic for a team to be able to score 11 out of 11 in a final.

You took and scored Villarreal's seventh penalty – were you nervous as your turn approached?

Well, those of us in the middle of the pitch were getting used to the idea that we could take one, because as it was progressing, nobody was missing. Taking a penalty during sudden death is worse; shooting in the first five, there is always the possibility that the opponent could also miss even if you make a mistake. With sudden death, the chances are minimal, so if you miss, you could be eliminated and, in that sense, once the sixth person started, the nerves were worse. You might have practised during training, but you don't have the pressure of a final so it's different. That's why you have to put yourself in the moment of taking a penalty in a game like this.

Raúl Albiol scores in the Europa League final shoot-out


How did you feel when you saw Gerónimo Rulli approaching to take a penalty? 

Nothing, faith, because as well as us, we had a seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth taker who had never taken a penalty before – the likes of Mario Gaspar, Francis Coquelin, Pau Torres or myself, and we all scored. So Geró could also score, right? And all this knowing that if you failed, that it was almost over. Geró was able to score and above all, he [then] saved a penalty. He achieved two very difficult things. Us players score and leave; we don’t have to save any penalties.

What is it that makes Villarreal special? What are this team's strengths?

Historically, I think everyone who plays here says the same thing about the club. It’s a great club in that you have everything at your disposal to enjoy your work and have fun. It’s a very family-oriented club, where you know everybody, and you’re made to feel as if you’ve been here for many years. And beyond that, it’s the philosophy of the club’s president Fernando Roig to play football, to have good players, good coaches, and always play attractive football.

Villarreal was always a club that I had a soft spot for from the outside, and even more so now. I think lots of people were delighted with our Europa League victory, and although I’ve only been here for two seasons, I feel like I’ve been here longer, thanks to everyone who works here – my team-mates, everyone – who make you feel at home. That means you work with a smile on your face, and when you’re happier at work, success is easier to come by.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Veteran defender Raúl Albiol has seen most things in football, although the 35-year-old is still fired by enthusiasm ahead of tonight's Super Cup as he looks forward to the upcoming Champions League campaign and back on aEuropa League triumph that is still fresh in the memory. Part of Spain's victorious squad at the 2010 World Cup, there was something extra special about the Yellow Submarine's victory in Gdańsk – not least the memorable way in which the trophy was secured, with Albiol unexpectedly finding himself on the spot.

You'll play in the Champions League this season after winning the Europa League so what do you think of Villarreal’s chances in the competition?

We have to enjoy it and give it our all, because if you don’t battle hard in the Champions League, you’ll be completely overrun. We have to prepare well and give it our all. Beyond that, it will be about making progress, little by little.

We’re not favourites, or even among the top eight, so ultimately, we need to play our game and enjoy it as much as we can – if the fans are there too, even better – so that we can ultimately have a good season, to experience it. We have won before, and so…

What do you remember most about the Europa League final? Was it the shoot-out?

I remember the atmosphere, even though there wasn't much of a crowd, but having our families in the stadium made us all very excited. I remember they gave twice as much as we did physically in the warm-up, which caught our attention.

But the truth is that it was a hard-fought, hard match, and the shoot-out was something magical, something historic for a team to be able to score 11 out of 11 in a final.

You took and scored Villarreal's seventh penalty – were you nervous as your turn approached?

Well, those of us in the middle of the pitch were getting used to the idea that we could take one, because as it was progressing, nobody was missing. Taking a penalty during sudden death is worse; shooting in the first five, there is always the possibility that the opponent could also miss even if you make a mistake. With sudden death, the chances are minimal, so if you miss, you could be eliminated and, in that sense, once the sixth person started, the nerves were worse. You might have practised during training, but you don't have the pressure of a final so it's different. That's why you have to put yourself in the moment of taking a penalty in a game like this.

Raúl Albiol scores in the Europa League final shoot-out


How did you feel when you saw Gerónimo Rulli approaching to take a penalty? 

Nothing, faith, because as well as us, we had a seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth taker who had never taken a penalty before – the likes of Mario Gaspar, Francis Coquelin, Pau Torres or myself, and we all scored. So Geró could also score, right? And all this knowing that if you failed, that it was almost over. Geró was able to score and above all, he [then] saved a penalty. He achieved two very difficult things. Us players score and leave; we don’t have to save any penalties.

What is it that makes Villarreal special? What are this team's strengths?

Historically, I think everyone who plays here says the same thing about the club. It’s a great club in that you have everything at your disposal to enjoy your work and have fun. It’s a very family-oriented club, where you know everybody, and you’re made to feel as if you’ve been here for many years. And beyond that, it’s the philosophy of the club’s president Fernando Roig to play football, to have good players, good coaches, and always play attractive football.

Villarreal was always a club that I had a soft spot for from the outside, and even more so now. I think lots of people were delighted with our Europa League victory, and although I’ve only been here for two seasons, I feel like I’ve been here longer, thanks to everyone who works here – my team-mates, everyone – who make you feel at home. That means you work with a smile on your face, and when you’re happier at work, success is easier to come by.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Veteran defender Raúl Albiol has seen most things in football, although the 35-year-old is still fired by enthusiasm ahead of tonight's Super Cup as he looks forward to the upcoming Champions League campaign and back on aEuropa League triumph that is still fresh in the memory. Part of Spain's victorious squad at the 2010 World Cup, there was something extra special about the Yellow Submarine's victory in Gdańsk – not least the memorable way in which the trophy was secured, with Albiol unexpectedly finding himself on the spot.

You'll play in the Champions League this season after winning the Europa League so what do you think of Villarreal’s chances in the competition?

We have to enjoy it and give it our all, because if you don’t battle hard in the Champions League, you’ll be completely overrun. We have to prepare well and give it our all. Beyond that, it will be about making progress, little by little.

We’re not favourites, or even among the top eight, so ultimately, we need to play our game and enjoy it as much as we can – if the fans are there too, even better – so that we can ultimately have a good season, to experience it. We have won before, and so…

What do you remember most about the Europa League final? Was it the shoot-out?

I remember the atmosphere, even though there wasn't much of a crowd, but having our families in the stadium made us all very excited. I remember they gave twice as much as we did physically in the warm-up, which caught our attention.

But the truth is that it was a hard-fought, hard match, and the shoot-out was something magical, something historic for a team to be able to score 11 out of 11 in a final.

You took and scored Villarreal's seventh penalty – were you nervous as your turn approached?

Well, those of us in the middle of the pitch were getting used to the idea that we could take one, because as it was progressing, nobody was missing. Taking a penalty during sudden death is worse; shooting in the first five, there is always the possibility that the opponent could also miss even if you make a mistake. With sudden death, the chances are minimal, so if you miss, you could be eliminated and, in that sense, once the sixth person started, the nerves were worse. You might have practised during training, but you don't have the pressure of a final so it's different. That's why you have to put yourself in the moment of taking a penalty in a game like this.

Raúl Albiol scores in the Europa League final shoot-out


How did you feel when you saw Gerónimo Rulli approaching to take a penalty? 

Nothing, faith, because as well as us, we had a seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth taker who had never taken a penalty before – the likes of Mario Gaspar, Francis Coquelin, Pau Torres or myself, and we all scored. So Geró could also score, right? And all this knowing that if you failed, that it was almost over. Geró was able to score and above all, he [then] saved a penalty. He achieved two very difficult things. Us players score and leave; we don’t have to save any penalties.

What is it that makes Villarreal special? What are this team's strengths?

Historically, I think everyone who plays here says the same thing about the club. It’s a great club in that you have everything at your disposal to enjoy your work and have fun. It’s a very family-oriented club, where you know everybody, and you’re made to feel as if you’ve been here for many years. And beyond that, it’s the philosophy of the club’s president Fernando Roig to play football, to have good players, good coaches, and always play attractive football.

Villarreal was always a club that I had a soft spot for from the outside, and even more so now. I think lots of people were delighted with our Europa League victory, and although I’ve only been here for two seasons, I feel like I’ve been here longer, thanks to everyone who works here – my team-mates, everyone – who make you feel at home. That means you work with a smile on your face, and when you’re happier at work, success is easier to come by.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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