Puma invited me to meet Nacho Monreal yesterday to celebrate the launch of their second home kit. I don’t normally like to get too close to players, it’s a bit like giving names to farm animals…
However, I have to say, it was a total pleasure. What an absolutely top bloke he was. His English was excellent, he was affable, he went above and beyond to give us well articulated answers and he seems to really be behind the club.
Other sites will give you a better word for word than me, but the key points of interest are as followed.
He’d never played as a centre back before. He said he was amazed when the boss asked him too, but he adapted. He said most of defending is in your head, but it was hard to adapt to a new position. He also noted that the first ten games were an issue fitness wise. Kind of makes you feel for him a little bit more when you consider some of the pelters he was taking.
He was very much focused on the fact that football is about being the best in the moment. He said he and Kieran Gibbs have as good a relationship as you can expect considering they are rivals. He also said that they’re very different defenders. He wanted to stress that in this moment, he is winning the battle.
I asked him what had changed at the turn of the year. He struggled….
‘The atmosphere was different. Last season you had separate groups, this year, we are one’
Really interesting. Cohesion is what he points the finger at. He seemed relatively guarded about what had actually changed, smirking before answering.
He also said that Ospina coming in has made a difference. Again, highlighting the moment. He also joked that Chezzer had been relegated to number two because of reasons that ‘were not sporting.’
Oh and we laughed.
He highlighted how fast paced the Premier League was. The strength of players and the involvement you have in the game is more intense than it is in La Liga.
We asked him about what he thought the team needs in the summer, he wants one or two quality players. He thinks we need to bolster out attacking options. Interestingly Santi Cazorla, in his pigeon English, also said we need two quality players.
I think the amusing thing you forget when speaking to players is they see the same things most of you do. They’re all fans. They know what we’re lacking. They’re not sitting there thinking about a protectionist summer. They want to play with the best. It’s a bit of a myth big names cause disharmony. They enhance things because ultimately, a career is judged on one thing, what you won!
The actual launch was amusing, most saw it, but no one really played the puma game, least of all Thierry! I have to say, the kit is lovely. If I were 14, and fucking slim, i’d buy one. Reminds me of that kit that had white block on the back. A touch retro. Much nicer than last years. Can’t wait to see the beer drinkers disgracing themselves in one.
What has to be noted is the effort Puma put into this. The launch was mad expensive. DJs, players, massive festival type set. I think they tried to make a mark. It was a smart approach and I’d imagine it’ll pay off.
Right, I’ll remember more tomorrow, my day is a bitch, enjoy the pictures.