Sevilla's 34-year-old captain tells UEFA.com: "I've given my all for Sevilla and will give my all to be in that final."
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Now 34, winger turned full-back Jesús Navas was one of the young stars of the Sevilla side that won the 2005/06 and 2006/07 editions of the UEFA Cup.
A four-year spell in England with Manchester City meant he missed his home-town club’s trio of UEFA Europa League successes, but the Sevilla captain is determined to make up for lost time this season as the Andalusians take on his one-time Manchester derby rivals United in Sunday's semi-final.
Coach Julen Lopetegui said of Navas: "Jesús is a figurehead for our club and our team. He’s a guy that has played for so many years and is still playing at the highest level. He also has the excitement, desire, ambition and frustrations of a young player. We’re all delighted with Jesús the player and, of course, delighted with Jesús the person, too."
Navas talked Sevilla with UEFA.com.
On the UEFA Europa League
It’s brought us a lot of joy. We're really up for it and excited every time we play in the Europa League. We’re now in this unique situation [of being in the tournament in Germany] and let’s hope we make it through to the final.
On Julen Lopetegui
He’s a coach who makes sure the team’s really well-drilled right throughout the side and has a very clear idea of what he wants. He gets his message across really well. We give our all on the pitch. He’s been really important to us. Let’s hope we’re in that final because he deserves it.
On converting from winger to full-back
I feel really comfortable. I really enjoy playing in both positions. I’m someone who likes to get up in attack. When I play in this position [full-back], I’m able to find space and I’ve got the whole pitch in front of me and I really enjoy playing there.
On being team captain
It’s really all about conveying my desire in every training session and match and giving your all. I think that, as players, we’re giving our all in every training session and match and that’s the important thing: giving your all for Sevilla in every game.
On Manchester United
I’ve played against them several times. I recall the passion surrounding the [Manchester derby from my time at Manchester City]. I was lucky enough to appear in some really special games and those were great times. We know they’re tough opponents and it’ll be difficult. We’re clear about what we have to do and are focused on what we have to do at every stage of the game. Let’s hope we can go out and win the match.
In terms of their individual players, they’ve got some quick players up top who are dangerous. We’re focusing on ourselves and knowing what we have to do in each game – and, particularly, keeping calm when necessary and then attacking at pace.
The important thing is that we go into [Sunday's game] with all the hope in the world of reaching the final. We’ll be going all out [to win].
On being 'Sevilla' to the core
It means everything, absolutely everything. It’s where I grew up and took my first steps in the game and became a footballer. I've given my all for Sevilla and will give my all to be in that final. I hope we can bring another trophy back for the fans.
Given the difficult times we’re all experiencing, being able to win the Europa League for the fans and all of us would be really great. It would also be special, as captain and as somebody from Seville, to enjoy lifting the trophy. It would be really nice for me.