Villar discusses his childhood, Roma move, and more


Roma midfielder Gonzalo Villar gave an extensive interview today to the club’s official website.

The Spaniard discussed a variety of topics from his childhood all the way up to his January move to the Giallorossi in January 2020.

“I fell in love with football at school – that’s where I first started getting passionate about it,” said the Villar.

“We’d play football during the breaks between lessons. It was something I felt inside of me. I think I was the one who made football so popular in my family. When I was four my parents took my older brother to play 5-a-side football. I was younger but insisted on playing with him and his team-mates. They let me join in and realised I was good – that became my first team.”

“As a child, I supported Real Murcia, the team of my city. They play in Segunda B now – the Spanish third division. They’re not doing very well at the moment and have some financial difficulties but I still watch them when I can. I hope to see them back in the top flight one day.”

He continued, “I have another nice memory connected to Real Murcia: in 2008 Spain beat Bosnia 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Real Murcia’s home ground, La Nueva Condomina. I was a ball boy that day and Edin [Dzeko] was playing for Bosnia. I told him about it last year. It was quite a coincidence to find myself on the same team as him 12 years later!”

“My childhood idol was always Andres Iniesta. I grew up watching Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona when they were dominating in Spain and Europe, and as I midfielder, Iniesta was the one I had my eye on most. Even now, before or after matches I like to watch videos of him and other stars like [Zinedine] Zidane and Xavi on YouTube.”

The 22 year-old then discussed his professional career: from his time in Spain to his current spell in the Italian capital with Roma.

“I joined Elche when I was 15 and spent two seasons there. Then I went to Valenica for three years before going back to Elche. I was so excited when I made my senior debut, even if it was in the second division. Elche is not my home town but I’m very fond of the place. When I was at a low after Valencia released me, they welcomed me back with open arms. Elche had become my home.”

“At Valencia, I was really happy there for three years. My departure was a bit strange for a series of reasons unrelated to football. It was a difficult summer for me and my family and I don’t like looking back on it. As I said, Elche welcomed me back and I ended up here.”

“Roma? I found out they were interested in me around December 10th last year. My agents came round to my house and just said, ‘Gonzalo, go and sign for Roma.’ I was totally taken aback but I couldn’t have been any happier. I know what I’m capable of and I know where my strengths lie, but it doesn’t often happen that a player goes from a second-division outfit to one fighting for the Champions League spots.”

He added, “Valencia were interested too actually, so my family and I took a bit of time to think things over. However, the interest shown in me by Roma and Paulo Fonseca convinced me. I strive every day to prove to them that they made the right choice.”

“My most recent memory of Roma was the comeback against Barcelona in 2018. I watched that match with two friends who are Barca supporters and it was incredible. I was watching as a neutral but then I got totally caught up in it. At the end of the evening, I annoyed my friends by shouting ‘Manolas! Manolas!’ I really enjoyed that.”

“Italy compared to Spain? I don’t really know yet as you can’t judge anything by this year. I basically only had one normal month before the whole Covid-19 thing kicked off and it seems to be never-ending. It’s not easy living with the thought that you or one of your team-mates could test positive for one of the many tests we have to undergo.”

“Fonseca? He’s confirmed the good impression I had of him after we spoke the first time. He explained why he liked me and when I got here he told me to play to my strengths. I’m trying to give my all in training so that I can play as much as possible.”

Finally, Villar was asked about his fellow Spanish teammates at the club — including summer acquisition Pedro.

“It makes everything easier. We’re all happy and we’re a good group. It’s just a shame we can’t meet away from training and matches with the situation what it is.”

“Pedro is amazing. I grew up watching him from when he broke into the Barcelona team and now I’m playing alongside him, a World Cup and European Championship winner. He’s a phenomenal player. It’s a privilege to have him as a team-mate. He never stops: he always trains hard and he’s an example to us all.”

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