Spain’s unsung hero Senna driven to make Villarreal academy a success here

FORMER Spain international and Villarreal legend Marcos Senna was one of the unsung heroes behind his country’s Euro 2008 win.

The ex-midfield enforcer is now an ambassador for the Yellow Submarine.

He reflects on his playing days and talks about the introduction of the Villarreal academy in Malaysia.

Q: Now that you’ve retired, what occupies your time?

A: I’m now the director of institutional relations with Villarreal, the team I played with for 11 seasons.

Q: Villarreal are a small yet successful club. With such a small population there, how do they unearth so many talents?

A: Villarreal has created a methodology over the last decade that has helped players grow enormously.

The professionals who work there all aspire to the same goals.

That’s why Villarreal are a very successful team. They keep their feet firmly on the ground and are always aiming to improve.

Q: You came from Brazil, and Villarreal was your first foreign club. How did the stint change you as a person?

A: I remember arriving in 2002, it has been 20 years already. At first,

I didn’t even know where to locate the city on the map!

The club changed me a lot in terms of values, so did the country and the Spanish culture.

Q: Were you able to connect quickly with everyone in the group?

A: I was concerned at first about being able to adapt fast but my helpful and understanding teammates, and the team staff made it easy for me. My 28 caps and Euro title in 2008 are proof of that.

Q: How strong is the development plan in the Villarreal academy?

A: The Villarreal academy has grown significantly and will continue to produce many quality players. It has one of the best development systems in Spain and also the world.

Q: With the setting up of the academy in Malaysia via a partnership, what are you looking forward to?

A: We want to share our know-how and provide the tools and a platform for young players to develop to their maximum potential. It is an excellent opportunity for them to enhance their skills while having fun.

Q: How would you describe a defensive midfielder these days?

A: The position has evolved much – it’s not just defending but also supporting the attack. Now, most of the players who play in this position have a good shot and good pace.

Q: Is there any chance we will see Marcos Senna in the dugout?

A: On the dugout as a player or coach? No, just kidding. I’ve never envisioned a future as a coach. I’m just enjoying what I’m doing now.

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