A Barcelona graduate, Sevilla loanee Denis Suárez is relishing a "special" tie as the UEFA Europa League holders meet his parent club in the UEFA Super Cup.
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Barcelona academy graduate and Sevilla loanee Denis Suárez will take on former team-mates in "a special match" as the UEFA Europa League holders meet his parent club in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup.
Ahead of the Tbilisi showpiece, the Spain Under-21 midfielder tells UEFA.com about his Sevilla debut in the 2014 edition, reveals his role models at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán and explains why Unai Emery is a top coach.
UEFA.com: Last season, for the second year running, Spanish clubs won Europe's two major competitions. Why are Liga teams so successful?
Denis Suárez: We work very hard in Spain at all levels, which is good for young players like me – we are constantly monitored and coached. Also I think the Spanish league is the most competitive in the world, with teams boasting the best players in the world. Last season was a good example, with five teams fighting for a Champions League place until the very last moment. That competitiveness is one of the key factors.
UEFA.com: Last year you debuted for Sevilla in this fixture against Real Madrid. Tell us about that game in Cardiff.
Suárez: That was my first match – a year ago Real Madrid were the best team in the world and it was a really difficult game. I wasn't happy with my performance, because it was my first experience of a major final. It was a really disappointing result. It was not easy to play in that match, as it was contested by the two European trophy winners.
UEFA.com: Who are your role models at Sevilla?
Suárez: I have always said Andrés Iniesta and David Silva are my role models, but there are other players I admire a lot here – José Antonio Reyes and Éver Banega. I really like playing with them, we have a good understanding.
UEFA.com: Having played 36 times for Barcelona B in 2013/14, are you looking forward to facing your former side?
Suárez: I really can't wait. For us it is a dream to be here and taking part in a big final against Barça. It will be a special match for me because I played for Barça – it is where everyone taught me to always strive for first place. They will be favourites but I believe it will be competitive and that we'll have chances to win. I hope we manage to beat them.
UEFA.com: What would it mean to start the season winning another trophy?
Suárez: It would be brilliant to win this competition against Barça as they are European champions and also won the treble. It would be absolutely tremendous for us and our fans.
UEFA.com: Do Luis Enrique's team have any weaknesses?
Suárez: It will be a very difficult match, Barça are unquestionably the best team in the world right now. They will most likely have the majority of possession, but we will also have to be extremely careful whenever we have the ball as their counterattack is lethal. However, we'll have chances like in our last Liga meeting [in April]. We were losing 2-0 yet managed to draw by converting our opportunities. That match can be a good reference point.
UEFA.com: How will it feel to be on the same pitch as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez?
Suárez: They are the best in the world, especially Messi who is the one who makes the difference – he really is the best player out there. It is something else to be able to challenge them for the Super Cup.
UEFA.com: Tell us about your coach Unai Emery. What are the secrets of his success?
Suárez: He is one of the best coaches around. He really gets the best out of us. He considers each and every one of his players and always puts those who are in the best possible shape in his starting lineup. I have been playing for him for a year and I am really happy. He always talks to you, both in good moments – to prevent you being distracted – and bad, to help you recover. The way he treats players is exceptional.