Abel Ruiz: ‘Villa helped me achieve what I am achieving’

Abel Ruiz (Almufases, Valencia, 2000) it is ambition. He started the season without having many minutes at his club, but everything changed since January 2021. At that time, as he reveals in an interview with EFE, he leaned more than ever on one of his idols, such as he is. David Villa. “It helped me a lot at that time,” he acknowledged

In a talk with EFE he also sets high goals with his club, the Sporting de Braga, which lives the season of its centenary. The forward assures that it is possible to “enter‘ Champions ’” or celebrate it with the title of the Portuguese Cup.

Question: Luis de la Fuente and Javi Puado complained a lot about Italy’s tough play. How did you experience it?

Answer: They made their game. We knew what we were going for and we knew they could react that way, we saw it in the first game. We played a complete game and focused on our game

Q: Especially difficult for you, who had to stick with the three Italian centrals constantly.

A: Matches against Italy are always very physical. Back it was a pretty fierce fight, they are physical and strong centrals and it was a tough fight. We couldn’t score, but we did a great job and the point was important to depend on ourselves.

Q: Second match of the European Under-21 and second start. How do you rate it?

A: I am very happy. It had been half a season without participating much in my club and from January I started to play a lot and get a good rhythm. I have come to this European with good feelings, Luis has given me confidence and I am trying to respond in the best possible way.

Q: Discuss that role change in January. The new year has been good for him. What has changed?

A: I had a forward in front of me who was very good (Paulinho) and who had a lot of experience at the club. I tried to learn a lot from him. In January he decided to go to Sporting de Portugal and the coach started to trust me a little more. I could tell that he was working very well and that he was going to take advantage of the opportunity. I am 100% with the team and with the club and it has been noticed in recent months.

Q: How do you cope with not playing?

A: When you’re not playing, the only thing you can do is work your best every day and strive for minutes. I took it normally, working day by day. If I had to stay three more hours in training, I stayed, and that later gave me a bonus to show what I am.

Q: Do you search for yourself on ‘Google’? Because if you do, it’s all praise for you.

A: The truth is that I don’t usually search for my name in ‘Google’. In the end things are going well for me in recent months, but we already know how things are going, before I was not doing so well, there was less talk about me. Players have to be focused on doing things well every day. But of course, in the end it is appreciated that people praise you, everyone likes to be said nice things

Q: Speaking of your club, which is going through the centennial season. They are one point from the ‘Champions’ positions, do you see it feasible?

A: It is a very important season for the club. They have focused all their efforts on this season because it is the centenary and they want to try to achieve the maximum. We were in the final of the League Cup, we couldn’t win it, but we were very close. We are in the final of the Portuguese Cup and in the League we have practically been third for quite a few days. Now we have fallen to fourth place, but we can fight against second and third. And who knows. We have a great team and we could perfectly enter the ‘Champions’. We have confidence.

Q: That Portuguese Cup final you are talking about is against Benfica with big names, but who are not performing as expected. Do you come close to giving the club a title for its centenary?

A: Yes, of course. This season we have played three games against them and we beat them two. We can perfectly achieve a victory. We have a great team and we are confident in what we can do. It’s a final, a game, and anything can happen.

Q: The Portuguese League is experiencing a ‘boom’ of Spaniards at a high level. You, Pedro Porro and Adán at Sporting de Portugal -leader-, Pepelu at Vitoria Guimaraes… What do you have to do so well for you?

A: I’ve always said it, the first time I came here I was surprised. I saw high-quality players in teams that play football very well and they surprised me for good. People may think that it is not such a strong league, but they would be surprised if they watched the games or played. All teams make it very difficult for you.

Q: It is also a League that exports talent. One of them has been a friend of his like Francisco Trincao, with whom he shared a long time during the quarantine. Have you been able to talk to him about his first months in Barcelona?

A: Yes, I was lucky to be in that quarantine with him and we made a very strong friendship. I talk to him a lot and after the first match of the European Under-21 we sent each other a message as a joke saying that we would see each other in the final; we have very good vibes. We get along very well and it would be a very nice showdown.

Q: A few weeks ago, David Villa said that you could be the ‘9’ of Spain. How did you feel when you heard these words?

A: Hearing those words from a great player like David is appreciated. I am lucky to have him quite close because he is part of my representation and I am very happy to be able to be with him day by day, to be close. He gives me advice that is very useful to me. He has been the ‘9’ of the national team for many years, top scorer, he has achieved all the maximum that can be achieved in football … and having him around is incredible.

Q: What kind of advice do you give him?

A: Above all, in difficult moments he has always been there and has explained to me his experiences from when he was at Sporting, Zaragoza and Valencia that he started without playing much and in the end he gained confidence and ended up in the national team. He gave me very good advice that helped me, at that time when I was not playing a lot, to continue working day by day and achieve what I am achieving.