“AT GIRONA... I THINK I’VE PERSONALLY EXCEEDED WHAT I THOUGHT I COULD GIVE” “A TRAINING SESSION AT THAT BARÇA WAS A MASTERCLASS AND A GIFT FOR ANY YOUNG MAN”
Oriol Romeu (24/9/1991, Ulldecona) trained in the Barça youth system and is now a fundamental pillar of Girona FC, where he arrived last summer after a long stint in the English Premier League.
Despite some painful defeats, like at Villarreal, the team is in a good position. How do you see it from the inside?
We’ve experienced highs and lows since I arrived, but luckily the highs have lasted a little longer than the lows and we’ve been able to react positively to games or times when things didn’t go quite right. Now the team is winning games, picking up points and scoring much more easily than at the start of the season, and that’s all down to the good work we’re doing.
You always said you wanted to come to Girona. Are you happy with the decision?
Yes. When you go to a place, you have expectations, and I think I’ve personally exceeded what I thought I could give and the feelings I might have. In England, you can always contribute the physical part, but here technically football is a little better and since I left Barça at the age of 19 I wasn’t used to that. I’m really enjoying playing for a team that has a lot of possession and dominates games a lot, with a lot of ballplayers. This is possibly a part of my game that people didn’t see in England.
Do you feel that Girona has an ambitious plan, now it has also strengthened in the winter market?
Yes. I would say it’s a very good squad, but it’s still a challenge to not only have a good season, but to be a club that competes well in the first division year after year, and that’s what we have to achieve by maintaining a good working culture on a day-to-day basis, so that people know when they come to Montilivi it will be difficult for them.
Many people say Girona is one of the more attractive teams to watch in La Liga. Does that make you proud?
Yes, because at the same time we’re also earning points. It wouldn’t help to play nice if we didn’t get points from games.
How were your years at Barça? Do you feel bad about not having made it into the first team there?
No, because I think I was very young and everything I experienced was a gift that I really enjoyed. A simple training session at that Barça was a masterclass and a gift for any young man. We haven’t seen any team as strong as the one that was there at the time, so it was a luxury to be able to share days and minutes with them. The memory is wonderful.
Do you see similarities in Xavi’s current project with that of Guardiola?
There are similarities, of course, because many things Xavi will want to do are part of the philosophy Guardiola wanted to implement when he came in. We’ll see to what extent it works. It’s true that there are times when the team hasn’t performed at the level expected, but then there have been games where the team has been excellent. What is probably lacking is this consistency, but if they continue as they are until the end of the season it will surely be one of the best league campaigns in recent years.
Your name has been linked with Barça at times, did you have a real chance of returning?
No. I once heard a rumour that it was a possibility, but sometimes Barça has a list of ten players. They told me they were analysing it and looking at it, but there was never an offer.