Jesus Navas on Sevilla ‘kidnap’
Sevilla didn’t really have to drag the ex-man City winger back to Andalusia in the boot of a BMW
How much are you enjoying being back at Sevilla, the club where your career began? I’m very happy to be back where I consider my home. It’s where I grew up, both as a footballer and as a person. I’m back in the same house I used to live in. Everything feels just like it always used to.
Did you have many offers from other clubs when you left Manchester City back in May? There were a few clubs interested in signing me, but there was only one decision. The opportunity to come home was too much to resist, especially as it became obvious the fans were really keen for me to come back. Sevilla are the team of my heart, I had great times here and I want to repeat them.
The club announced your return with a video. It pretended you’d been kidnapped and driven back there in a car boot. What did you think of that? [Laughs] Well, to be honest the best bit of it all was taking off the mask and being back at the stadium for the first time. It was actually an actor who was ‘kidnapped’ in the car, but it was a really fun idea. I hope I’m not kidnapped for real any time soon!
Do you think you’ll end your career with Sevilla? I’m only thinking about this year, playing well and helping the team. It would be a dream to finish my
“THE FANS WANTED ME TO TAKE PUERTA’S NO.16, AS THEY KNOW I WILL GIVE THE MAXIMUM FOR HIM, THAT SHIRT AND SEVILLA”
career at Sevilla. I’m only just 32 so it’s a few years away yet, but it’s definitely something I’d love to do in the future.
You scored your first league goal for three years against Las Palmas back in September. Was it a big relief to finally hit the back of the net again? I’ve never been obsessed with scoring goals, to be honest, as there are other players here who are better in front of goal than me. I’m here to provide the assists and create danger in the final third. If I can help with the odd goal, great, but I like creating them more.
Was it your choice to take the No.16 shirt at Sevilla this term, the number of Antonio Puerta before his death? It was as much a decision by the fans as anything else. As I’m a homegrown player and grew up playing alongside Antonio, we shared a lot of very good times together. Antonio always gave everything out on the pitch, so I think they wanted me to take his number as they know that I’ll give the maximum for him, that shirt and Sevilla. I’m very proud to wear the shirt in his honour.
What would represent an excellent 2017-18 season for the Rojiblancos? We have to make sure that we qualify for the Champions League. A club like Sevilla has to be in there every season.
What is your most special memory from your time at Manchester City? It’s tough to pick one, because I loved my time with City. We won the league title in my first season there, and the League Cup when I scored in the final. Playing and living in a foreign country was a very positive experience for me.
You often played at right-back under Pep Guardiola – how did you find it? [Laughs] I actually quite enjoyed it. I’d not played there much in the past, but in my first spell with Sevilla I played in front of Dani Alves, so you have to get used to covering him! That helped me when it came to playing as a genuine right-back in the Premier League. I’m happy to be further forward now, but I’ll play anywhere – even centre-back!
Do you think you can get back into the Spain squad for the World Cup? Every week in La Liga I’m giving my all. Hopefully that gets noticed. It would be great to go to another World Cup.