Home Sports Mikel Merino: "Superpower football no longer exists"

Mikel Merino: "Superpower football no longer exists"

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Mikel Merino: "Superpower football no longer exists"

Mikel Merino (Pamplona, ​​6-22-1996) is one of the pillars of Luis de la Fuente. With his debut in the under 19s and with him he has been on each and every one of the lists since the Riojan was the senior coach.

ASK. How’s the gas?

ANSWER. Good. The tank is still full. It is a very long season, in which we have had many games and a lot of wear and tear. But this continues, it is not over yet and we are prepared for whatever comes.

Q. And coconut, head?

R. Coconut is good too, but it has its wear and tear. With the pressure of playing in the Champions League, with so many decisive matches, the Cup… But with many exciting things ahead. That makes you stay fresh: the national team, going to Europe…

Q. And the Euro in three months.

R. On the one hand you think about it. It is a very important event, something that every player dreams of. But, at the same time, you think that there are so many things ahead that you see it very far away. You look at it day by day. Focusing on the present is the way.

Q. You now have a big final phase.

R. I hope it is so! I’m counting on Luis’s trust, but you never know until the last minute what can happen. Because this is professional football and we are exposed to any kind of things happening. Always respecting all types of decisions. They won the Nations, but there is a great desire to play World Cups and Euro Cups.

Q. Sarabia said that the word favorite weakens.

R. You may be right. I think that when you go to a game or a tournament like this you don’t have to feel better than anyone else, but you don’t have to feel worse than anyone else either. Have the confidence that you can compete against the best and that any team can beat you. We have to find the balance from the self-confidence we have.

P. How do you see the Euro?

R. Very even. You see it in every game. In each tournament there are many surprises. We are no longer in the old football of superpowers and great distances. That no longer exists. In all teams there are very prepared coaches and great players. That makes the tournaments so interesting.

Q. Is the Spanish footballer undervalued?

R. I don’t think so. It may be that the Spanish League has been a little less valued than before, being a League in which top-level football is played, at the same level as that played in the Premier League. On an individual level, Spanish players are highly valued.

Q. But here we just asked for the Baln de Oro for Rodri.

R. Many times these campaigns, unfortunately, are necessary for these awards. Rodri is lucky, or unlucky, to be a player with great humility, but he still doesn’t make headlines like Haaland and Mbapp do… But his level is extremely high. I won it all last year and playing at a level to enter this conversation. From my point of view, since I know what it is like to play in the center of the field, how difficult it is and the pressure you have, I know that he deserves all the possible praise.

Rodri is lucky, or unlucky, to be a player with great humility, but he still doesn’t make headlines like Haaland, Mbapp…

Q. You have played together a lot.

R. A lot. We know each other very well. And our families too for years. We have a good relationship. I think we understand each other well on the field. For me, from that second height, having him behind me gives me a lot of security. He is someone with whom I understand very well. We perform very similar functions on a defensive and offensive level. It is a joy to play alongside him, a luxury.

Q. And how does Mikel Merino see himself today?

R. At a very good point at the level of maturity, of understanding the game. They have been playing at the first level for many years. I think I am at my best professionally. I have improved with the goal issue. By stepping on the area my balls fall. I’m managing to score goals.

Q. What do you want to improve?

R. I will be a little more decisive in the last third, the game between the lines, which for a player as tall and big as me is not easy. I feel more comfortable seeing the game from the front and filtering balls, but I think I am also capable of playing from behind and between the lines. I would like to take one more step there: to be able to turn, to be able to make some drive that compromises the rival defense. And in the hit outside the area. It will be a stronger threat.

I would like to improve in being a little more decisive in the final third, in the game between the lines

Q. Talk about maturity. Here he has a 16-year-old classmate and another 17-year-old.

R. There are many moments when you don’t realize that they are children because you see them in your environment. You are at the most absolute level and you naturalize it because of how good they are. But they are iOS! And that’s how you have to treat them, because they are in training. You have to take care of them, encourage them and teach them. They are diamonds to take care of.

Q. What do you talk to them about?

R. A little of everything. Also about more superfluous things: from Play, from social networks, from the dances they do… They have their feet on the ground, very humble, they know where they are coming from and they are respectful. When you are a kid you face other concerns, other motivations. Things like dancing for social networks entertain them, it makes them feel good. You have to enjoy it.

P. Colombia and Brazil. What’s the point of facing two South American teams before the Euro?

R. They are matches that will help us get to know each other a little more. We have been playing games together against a fairly similar profile of teams. Now it will be different, with another style of play, with other types of matches, with rivals with different characteristics than the ones we have had until now. It is good to face something different and know how the team is going to react to what rivals who work in a different way propose to you. That enriches.

Q. Should the players say something about the schedule?

R. It is a decision that, no matter how much we speak or say, others must have. We love to play, and the more we play, the happier we are. But there comes a point when your strength doesn’t reach you and your legs don’t work. There are many injuries, you see players who fall in the middle of the season with very long injuries. You have to have a conversation, because injuries are becoming more and more common. That’s the worst.

We need to have a conversation about the calendar

Q. Does the Champions League wear so much?

R. S, it wears out a lot. Because the level of teams there is is tremendous, in football and physically. It wears out a lot. Every jump, every effort, every duel… It drains the body and mind.

Q. But it’s worth it…

R. Of course. It’s worth it because you’re with the best. And that’s what we want, to be with the best. On a personal level I feel very comfortable playing in the Champions League, playing in European competitions. Like my companions. That’s what we want.

Q. What level of anger did you have after losing in the Cup?

R. More than anger it was disappointment. We deserved to pass. Watching repeated matches, seeing the level of chances we had, that we only had one shot on goal in the entire tie… It’s hard to accept. Although sometimes you have to watch it to learn. but at the time I was quite disappointed.

It’s hard to assimilate what happened in the Cup semi-final, especially watching the game again.

Q. See the final?

R. Well I don’t know what he’ll catch me doing. I’m a soccer player and if I don’t have anything pending, I’ll watch it.

Q. There is a lot of noise with the referees. Does he ever put himself in your shoes?

R. Yes, I do. It has to be done. They have a very, very complicated job, especially if they are people who have not been involved or have not been on a soccer field playing.

Q. Sometimes it is seen and said, but what do I protest?

R. Well yes, but what matters is winning and trying to do everything possible to make the ball land on your side. I, on the field, try to be as, in quotes, honest as possible. Yes, it is true that things are protested, but always within coherence, in what is ethically correct. But without a doubt the referees have a fundamental job. Without them there would be no football and we must respect them as much as possible, understand the difficulty of their work. In split seconds they must decide what is or is not.

I put myself in the shoes of the referees. We have to respect them to the maximum, without them there would be no football.

P. Football and insults. Will we end up with this?

R. It would be ideal for there to be no insults on a football field, no discrimination, no racist, no discrimination of any kind. But it seems difficult to get. I don’t know the way it can be done. I completely support this attempt to achieve it, but it seems that people go to football stadiums to take revenge for what they may have on a daily basis, for the problems they may have. They use it as an escape route to let off steam. Insult rather than encourage your own team. To the referee, to rivals, to your players… I hope all that ends, football is something beautiful to unite.

Q. La Real fell to PSG. What do you say to your Bara teammates?

R. Well, it’s going to be a very tough tie. Because PSG, of course, is going to put up a very strong battle. Luis Enrique is a coach who prepares matches phenomenally, always starting from the base of his essence: trying to be the protagonist with the ball, pressing, pressing, that the three in the middle do not touch the ball, constant pressure… From Ah, there are always very nice matches to watch. They are very dynamic, exchanging possession of the ball, because there are always many duels and, therefore, many transitions. I think that Xavi and the Barcelona staff will know better than me what they have to do. They are going to be very attractive games.

Q. Is Mbapp as beastly as he seems?

R. I know it is. She proves it. You don’t need me to tell you. She sees it everyone. On an individual level he is a spectacle: how he runs, how strong he is, the feints he makes, how he dominates the ball, the precise touches, the hits. He’s a real athlete, and he showed it against us. And every day he plays. He is decisive in any three-quarter field action.

Mbapp is as beast as he seems. He is a spectacle, an athlete

Q. The contract ends in 2025. How is the renewal going?

R. The only thing I have in mind is to finish the season well. That is what my representative and the president carry out. During all these years I have shown that my commitment is maximum and what I want to do during these months until the end of the season is for Real to be where it deserves, which is playing in Europe. Make history with the club, which will be five consecutive seasons, something that no one has achieved. It will be a pride to achieve it.

Renewal? What I want to do during these months until the end of the season is for Real to be where it deserves, which is playing in Europe.

Q. Life is not bad in San Sebastin…

R. You live very well, very well. It is a spectacular city. They leave you very calm, you can sit on a terrace, walk… It’s beautiful. And for those of us who like gastronomy… It is one of the best places in the world to live. l



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