"I would give it a ten out of ten so far," Aleix Vidal told UEFA.com as he assessed his debut Sevilla FC season, though the final result could change that rating.
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Signed last summer, 25-year-old winger Aleix Vidal has added some fearsome drive to Sevilla FC's right flank, with the occasional right-back excited at the prospect of tearing into FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in his first UEFA Europa League final. The decider in Warsaw will come just a day after his maiden call-up to the senior Spain squad.
UEFA.com: Is playing for Sevilla a big step up from your old club, UD Almería?
Aleix Vidal: It's a much bigger club than the one I came from, and the objectives are completely different. Previously I was battling to avoid relegation; here the ambition is to compete well in Europe. That's a difficult challenge, but I wanted to have that. We have had a very good season – I would give it a ten out of ten at the moment – but we still have big matches ahead, so nine and a half might be appropriate.
UEFA.com: You were still at Almería for last season's UEFA Europa League final. Did you watch it?
Vidal: I watched the final at home. In the second half, when the teams were both going for it, my agent said to me that it would have been a good time for me to be on the pitch, because there was so much free space. I could have taken advantage. And on 27 May I will have the chance to enjoy a similar occasion with all my team-mates.
UEFA.com: Unai Emery has had you playing as a right-back rather than a winger; how has that been?
Vidal: It's a position I had never played before, but in a team like ours it's easier to adapt – especially at home where we create a lot of chances and control pretty much the whole game. Launching surprise attacks from the back is perhaps even more dangerous than just playing on the wing. In the end, what's important for a player is to play. I'm not a natural defender, but now I have an idea of how to play as a right-back, even though I have to improve a lot in terms of my defending.
UEFA.com: Your first-leg performance against ACF Fiorentina in that position must have been one of your best ever.
Vidal: To play a semi-final of the Europa League – something I had never done before – and to score two goals and give an assist for the third, that's very special.
UEFA.com: Sevilla are considered favourites against Dnipro in the final. What do you make of that?
Vidal: People can think what they want. Based on our name, people might say we are favourites, but if you think that a name guarantees you victory then you are wrong – because in a final the so-called better teams can lose. A final is unlike any other game. You can't really know what it will feel like until you experience it. Here's hoping you ask me next year and I'll be able to tell you how it feels to win it.
UEFA.com: This season's winners get a UEFA Champions League place. Is that a big additional incentive?
Vidal: Getting to play in Europe's top competition is a big deal. Everyone dreams of playing in it and I think we've got what it takes to do so. We're keeping calm – we're going to go about things the way we always have and the final will be won by whoever deserves it. Hopefully that will be us.