It is an honor for him. Pau Torres was born in Villarreal, a town of 51,000 inhabitants, and in his life he was able to calibrate that he would win the Europa League in his town’s team. At a club he came to when he was five years old. He has been wearing yellow for twenty. A career that could be cut short when he broke his tibia and fibula as a cadet in a tournament In England. The club put him on a medicalized plane back to Spain. He was a year without playing, the entity supported him, he came back and became a benchmark in Spanish football. He is the fourth player raised in Villarreal who has arrived to the top in the home team. Last summer he said ‘no’ to the offer of 60 million made by Tottenham for his transfer.
-You were born in Villarreal and have won a European title with your hometown team. Was it unthinkable?
-When you’re a kid you don’t think about it, I’ve played for Villarreal since I was little and your challenge is to reach the first team. But you see that the club aspires to the titles, that it enters the Champions League, that it approaches the titles and winning the Europa League was the dream come true of any child from any town. An award for the work of the Roig family and José Manuel Llaneza, who over more than twenty years have created a great club from below, with a supportive academy behind it.
-The ‘village boy’ is called.
-The biggest thing, the most beautiful thing, is to win titles for the people of your town, to give great joy to people you have known for so long.
-Villarreal is more than a club, it is a game philosophy.
-Here we have a methodology, a philosophy, we play in the same way, with the same concepts, from the quarry, from the cadets and youth. Here the 4-4-2 is applied, a system that Unai Emery likes, and it is done in all categories.
-He turned down a lucrative offer from Tottenham and is now on the list for City, Real Madrid and other clubs. He has a contract until 2024 and a clause of 65 million. Will he renew or go to one of those big ones?
-I appreciate the interest of other big clubs, but that means that they value my individual work and the collective work of my team, Villarreal. I, in the end, have achieved beautiful things here. Winning the Europa League with Villarreal put the club in another dimension. And we stayed at the gates of another.
-A one-team man? ‘one clubman’?
-I am very happy with my town’s team, I feel highly valued at the club and I am at home. I have two and a half years left on my contract and I’m calm. Now I’m focused on winning more things with Villarreal, on beating Real Madrid and on the Champions League tie with Juventus, which is very close.
-It is true that good foreign players always came to your team, recognized internationally even though the city only has 51,000 inhabitants. It has merit.
-What has been done here is very important. Now players like Parejo and Lo Celso have arrived. At this club we want to be champions with Unai (Emery), we are going to be there, in the fight for all the goals. We have a squad to compete for all the titles.
-What has Emery contributed to your game? Work up to the minimum data of any play.
-Unai is a top coach, who has a lot of experience in leading big clubs and who has come here to make us champions. We were already in Europe and we played another final, lost on penalties. Unai works harder than his rivals, he has perseverance, culture, full dedication. He is the one who dedicates the most hours to the team. And he works a lot on the little details. This is how things get done.
-The challenge for Villarreal is to always reach the Champions zone. Winning Real Madrid is very important to endorse their progression. At the Bernabéu they played a great game.
-At the Bernabéu we were stuck with the thorn of not winning and now we have to get the victory to be among the top four in the League. Adding three consecutive victories is the challenge. In the first round we competed one on one against Real Madrid for possession, we fought to have the ball and we will do that now too, it is our philosophy, to dominate. And we are strong at home.
-Do you see Real Madrid weaker?
Well, I don’t see him any weaker. He continues to win games, loses very few, maintains a regularity and last week he increased the distance with the others, who failed. He has been the leader since the beginning of the season, but I hope that this Saturday he does not add a single point.
-Who was your central defender of reference?
-Gerard Piqué, for his way of playing. I felt identified with Guardiola’s Barcelona, who played the ball from behind.
-What future dreams do you have for your football career?
-Spend as much time as possible in the elite and get more titles with Villarreal.