Bruno Soriano (Artana, 1984) will always be the yellow captain and a benchmark in the history of the club. Bruno was left with the thorn of not playing in a final, the one he was close to in the Europa League semifinals, against Liverpool, in 2016. After winning at home, the team lost at Anfield (3-0), in a game that beat them. Now he does not think about revenge, he only hopes that this Villarreal finish the work that he started six years ago.
Another semi-final for your Villarreal and you’re in the Champions League. What do you think?
Well, everything that is happening and what we are experiencing in a short time is incredible. I think that people are realizing that they are living a historic moment and that they should enjoy it. I think it’s the award for a job well done and I hope it doesn’t end there.
The Bayern thing was already crazy and now Liverpool is here. How have you experienced it and how do you see it?
The Bayern thing was something I had faith in, I said it in some interviews in those weeks. I had that feeling watching the team that they could do what they did. I wasn’t saying it because I was from Villarreal, the feeling was that of a team that could. It is a very reliable team, line by line they are a great team. They already showed it last year by winning the Europa League, they are very good. And now they are very strong, especially in big games. And that is what I hope with Liverpool too.
Does it make you angry not to be there?
You always think so. It is not something that martyrs you, but I have been in the club for many years and I would have liked to experience this from within. I think about the squad there is, about the quality, and it’s true that maybe there isn’t a history like Senna, Cazorla or Riquelme… but they are very good and I would have liked to experience this, of course.
Although their teams were also up there…
Yes, we also had great squads and great players. Villarreal have always had very good players in their squads but I think not as many as now. You look line by line, you look at the bench and you see that the team is well balanced. That level is the one that allows me to do what you are doing.
Parejo and Capoue make a Bruno, they both play what they always played. How do you see them?
They are two top level players. Two of the best. Two players who compensate each other very well on the pitch. Many times you don’t know who is going up or down, the two reach the area, the two balance very well in defense, it’s a pleasure to see. They complement each other well and that’s key. In a team that does what Villarreal is doing, there are always three or four vital and different players, two are Capoue and Parejo.
What do you remember from that 2016 semi-final at Anfield?
I don’t know if it was our worst day. The truth is that I have always thought that if there is a place that can happen to you, what happened to us is that. It is very easy that in that field and how they play there they can trace any result, I think they did it to Madrid and Barcelona among others. It is a field that squeezes, that its fans make you notice since you arrive at the field with the bus and it shows. You always try to get away and play your game, but in that match it is true that that first goal gave them a lot of confidence in themselves. Although the own goal that I scored made them grow in the game and that hurt us. Many times they are small details, if that goal does not go in and you see that you hold on, you grow and they doubt, and the game changes. It is a complicated field, but we will see what happens.
It is true that small details help. In that match and with the tie open, they were not awarded a penalty. Is that pressure also felt by the referee?
I remember that move by Alberto Moreno who played with them and Denis Suárez. It was clear and I saw it very closely. I went to protest but the referee ignored me. That’s why I say, if it blows that one after all, you’d be in. That’s why I say that no matter what happens, the team must continue calmly and with faith, not collapse. Certainly difficult moments will come, but they will also have their chance and they must be prepared to take advantage of it.
What would you change about that game if you could play it again?
I do not know the truth. That is one of the few games that I have not seen again and that is not easy. I went back to see all of them to look for mistakes and failures, but that one was so hurt, it was such a disappointment, that I didn’t want to see it. It was a tough game, the final was very close and for me to play that final was something I really wanted. The good thing at least is that in the end the club came and won it.
What do you think of Klopp?
He is a technician who lives it and makes it live at maximum intensity. They feel very strong at home, every approach to the area is a feeling of danger and fight. We already know that they take a corner and it seems to be a penalty, it is that atmosphere that they create and more in games of this level.
And how do you see the team facing this challenge?
I trust this team a lot. We have already seen him in complicated situations and on very tough fields to show his face and compete at the highest level. This team has been able to handle and solve any situation and I think they can do it in Liverpool too.
Does Bruno have a special desire for Liverpool?
Let’s see, the truth is that I do not have a special desire for that. I think they were superior and they beat us as they should, cleanly and on the field. I don’t have the thorn of Liverpool or Anfield, what I do have is the thorn of not having played a final with my team. I will always have that there. Although I hope that Villarreal wins and that this time we go to the final.