Arruabarrena: “There is nothing impossible here; look at Italy-Macedonia”

Rodolfo Martín Arruabarrena (Marcos Paz, Argentina, 1975) is the current coach of the United Arab Emirates. He is also part of the history of Villarreal, since in addition to being one of the most disputed players, he scored the goal that qualified the team for the semi-finals of the Champions League against Inter, 16 years ago. For this reason, it is he who analyzes this second historic opportunity.

16 years ago, he scored a goal that was worth a semi-final. A clever goal in which he cheated Verón. In the pictures, we see you saying things to him. What did you say to throw it away like that?

This objective was one of the most important. I remember the fault and what happened. There was a fight with Verón and Sorín, it was something that had been going on for years and, taking advantage of the fact that it was hot, I took the opportunity to cheat on him. Although this goal was given by the ball that Román put, which put it where he had to put it.

Bayern badge/flag

Now we are in the same situation. How do you see Munich?

Well, the illusion is there, and it is permitted to be. Through image and play, the team showed they could do it. The first leg could have been a two or three to nil no problem, it would have been fair. Villarreal were superior. There are now 90 minutes left and you have an advantage. It’s Bayern of course, but this Villarreal has shown more than once that it is growing in the face of these challenges. They respect the greats, but on the pitch they are very convinced. To which they add an excellent trainer, with an important background and excellent results.

But the Germans are scary…

Man, it’s clear we’re talking about one of the greats. By budget, by history, by players… we are talking about a club that has a lot of hierarchy in the world. But it’s a match that remains at eleven against eleven. In this there is nothing done or impossible, Italy was out of the World Cup the other day with Macedonia. It’s a team game, you have to have a great team and Villarreal is an example of that. You have great players, but the coach was able to concentrate them in a large group.

Speaking of singles. Were Foyth and Lo Celso crazy?

They are both having a great time. Juan was one step away from the Copa América, but he was always there. And Ali Celso is a fixture in the national team XI, and he shows it every day.

In this semi-final it was Villarreal De Arruabarrena, Román, Sorín… And now again with the Argentines. How do you value that?

In the quarter-finals with Inter, there were Argentines on all sides, on one side or the other. That’s why it ended and there were problems at half-time. This time, they can only face each other. But, it is true that the history of Villarreal is still linked to the Argentinians. From what I see, there are three children who have a great sense of belonging, from what I see from the outside. They feel part of the club, and that’s very important. They seem very suitable. They know very well what the club wants and what is asked of them.

“The first leg could have been 2-0 or 3-0, it would have been fairer”


Which team was the best? This Inter or this Bayern?

They were different. That Inter may have had more names, it was enough to see the bench of substitutes. And this Bayern comes from a continuity of winning a lot and making games with great goals both in Germany and in Europe, to which is added that they also have very good players. But I think Villarreal have already shown they can beat them and what they did at home is the way.

Not scoring more than one goal is one of the things they regret. How do you see letting them escape alive?

This is perhaps what hurts the most in this tie. I shouted a goal at Pedraza, I saw her inside. There were moments of great superiority, now there are 90 minutes left and they can be different, so we expect it to be more complicated. But that’s what’s expected, so you never know what might happen. Against Juventus, we thought the same thing and look what happened. You have to respect the rival, but once the ball rolls, the important thing is you. We will have to suffer and fight, but estaqueo knows what it is to compete.

How would you approach it?

I think transitions are going to be key. Both offensive and defensive. Play very tight and be both attacking and defending with the lines together, to have the team 40 yards away. And from there, focus and pay attention to the small details. Here there is no room for distraction, to enter into provocations and be very attentive to the stopped ball. Details are key.

This team took the leap to win a title. You know what that means since you did it too. Is that one of the keys to being competitive at this stage?

You have to learn to win and lose. But it is true that Villarreal have pulled off an important backpack. We were always talking about the club and what it was doing, but the title was not coming. It’s already done, so it’s true that it gives you a plus. They are showing it in Europe at the level at which they are competing, so it is the demonstration of this further step. Now they have to go out and play, I’m sure they’ll be anxious and get the thrill of what it means, but once the ball rolls they’ll compete to the fullest.

You keep running around the world. And what about being able to lead your Villarreal, how do you see it?

I don’t know what the future holds, nobody knows. What I have to do is keep training and learning every day.

“Of course Villarreal can win a Champions League”


What do you like most about Emery?

Every time you see an Emery team, you know you’re going to see something different. Since his stint in Seville or Valencia, I have always really liked the theme of the set ball. There is also his idea of ​​football, which is always competitive. But when it comes to set pieces, you know you’re going to see things. Here in the Emirates, I have a teacher who worked with him and he explained to me how involved and involved he was on a daily basis. Today you have to give the player a lot of information, he needs it, and Emery has this ability to give that information and convince the player. And it is vital.

And of Villarreal as a club, what do you tell me?

What am I going to say. It is a club that is always progressing. I remember the descent I called them to reassure and support, and they were already working to come back with more enthusiasm than ever. The following year, they were first again. You see them and they always want to grow, talk about football and improve. Whether in the Champions League or in a youth game, they are with the same enthusiasm. And this is a sample for parents, for children and for everyone. This love for his club is very good. It makes you want to be from Villarreal.

Finally, I ask him, can Villarreal win the Champions League?

Sure you can. How can you not. I think he proved it. It’s complicated, you have to go slowly, it’s still football, but I think they showed they had what it took. But the key is to think about the next game. Nothing more. To compete and we’ll see.

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