Football: Spain’s unsung hero Senna is determined 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 victory at Euro 2008.

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

He looks back on his playing days and talks about introducing Villarreal’s academy to Malaysia.

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

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

Q: Villarreal are a successful small club. With such a small population there, how do they find so much talent?

A: Villarreal have created a methodology over the past decade that has helped players grow tremendously.

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

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

Q: You come from Brazil, and Villarreal was your first foreign club. How has this passage changed you as a person?

A: I remember arriving in 2002, it’s already been 20 years. First,

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

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

Q: Were you able to communicate quickly with all band members?

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

Q: How strong is Villarreal’s academy development plan?

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

Q: With the establishment 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 full potential. It’s a great opportunity for them to improve their skills while having fun.

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

A: The position has changed a lot – it’s not just about defending but also supporting the attack. Now most of the players in this position have a good shot and a good rhythm.

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

A: On the dugout as a player or coach? No I’m kidding. I never considered a future as a coach. I just enjoy what I’m doing now.