“Xavi was a phenomenon; he dominated the game and the referee”

Jose Manuel Llaneza (73 years old) has been at Villarreal for 27 years. A lifetime dedicated to his club. Today, he will be the host in LaLiga of a Barça that he has faced on numerous occasions. He has lived through seven Barça presidencies and has met six presidents. Also being has crossed with many players and technician. Xavi will be on the Barça bench and Llaneza remembers a concert and laughs, in an interview for MD, the influence Terrassa had on the team’s game and in the match.

He has lived with six Barça presidents

With Gaspart he called me well, Núñez hardly came to the meetings, he was more papable. Gaspart told me something that he thought was crazy and now I agree with him. That he preferred to see Barça cadets before a First Division game. With Laporta I also got along well. With Bartomeu, regular. We didn’t have a good feeling, he said one thing and then another.

And with Sandro?

I also got along well. I was disappointed about what happened, I don’t have much confidence with him, but I really liked the interview they did on television and I take the opportunity to send him a warm hug. It was a chore what happened to him.

What does the current Barça transmit to you?

I’m not talking about other clubs. I am not judging others or when they are having a good time or having a bad time I hope that for the good of football, for what Villarreal is interested in, that it is a strong Barça, a strong Madrid, because the League will be better, the rights television will be better for everyone …

What do you think of a League without Messi?

But new generations are coming that can also captivate. There are Yeremi Pino, Gavi, Ansu… Madrid lost Di Stéfano and Madrid spent four years in a desert. When Cruyff left…. In three or four games with Barça we won and Messi caught the ball and scored a goal. With any dependency this usually happens.

Xavi arrives as a technician

He was already a phenomenon as a player, as soon as he left he dominated the referee and the game. All his life he has been a phenomenon, he was a perfect conductor, he mastered all the movements he had (laughs). As a coach he will too. He is a man dedicated to football and that is an advantage.

With the Barça there was some controversy by the quarry

We did not sign each other’s players, but they us. I didn’t really understand their position, at official meals they told you that I wasn’t going to do certain things and then they did them. It would have been possible to talk, to reach an agreement. Now with Laporta I hope that things can be redirected. We can reach agreements. Normal things, not like Atlético de Madrid, a lot and a lot, paying absurd amounts to children. And this makes the step go up

What did you think of the introduction of the VAR?

I am a supporter of the VAR. The one thing that referees shouldn’t be judging other referees

Why is Villarreal irregular?

We prepared a beautiful preseason and everything exploded. We had to do very special things, from a game to Hungary that we could not go, we had to spend eight days in Austria but we were afraid of the pandemic and then we started the season with Wednesday and Sunday games … They start crooked and I think we can straighten

What does Emery bring?

He brings seriousness and work, he is a technician who spends his days, hours, minutes, every second in the club. The personality of being a champion.

And what about Newcastle?

It was a boom that came off at a time that I think was not the most appropriate.

Your dream this season

Get as far as possible in the Champions League and get into the top four. And make a good Cup after last year when he escaped us in the 93rd minute against Levante.

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