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Valerón salutes Spanish armada
With Deportivo La Coruña through to a Champions League semi-final against Porto, the season is far from over for the club's Spanish international playmaker Juan Carlos Valerón.

Wednesday, 14 April 2004

Deportivo are also third in the Primera División, with Barcelona breathing down their necks, so the 28-year-old faces a challenging end of term both at home and abroad before he can prepare to represent Spain at EURO 2004. Here he discusses his hopes for Portugal with 

Andy Hall: Were you disappointed at being left out of the team for the recent friendly against Denmark? 

Juan Carlos Valerón: Not at all, there are a lot of quality players in Spain and on this occasion, the coach picked other colleagues and I have no problem with that. I am relaxed and happy with the way things are, I have always been a part of the national team and done whatever I can and I hope it continues that way. 

Hall: How useful were the friendlies against Peru and Denmark in the team's preparation for Portugal? 

Valerón: It's difficult to draw conclusions from the games against Peru and Denmark because we are talking about friendly matches being played in the middle of other competitions and there have been a lot of Spanish clubs still involved in the Champions League, UEFA Cup and the league. They are games that serve to help the coach with his ideas and to help the players continue to gel as a team and as a group. 

Hall: Striker Fernando Morientes returned for international duty against Denmark. Were you surprised? 

Valerón: I'm not surprised at all - Morientes is a great player and scoring lots of goals and it's obvious that the coach has taken note that he is going through a good spell and I'm sure that if he keeps himself free of injury then there will be a place for him in Spain's squad in Portugal. 

Hall: How would you feel playing alongside Morientes and Raúl González? 

Valerón: Obviously I enjoy playing alongside Raúl and Morientes but the decision, as always, is with the coach and what he feels is best for the team. Whoever plays, the rest of us just have to contribute in the best way we can. 

Hall: In which position do you feel most at home? 

Valerón: I feel most comfortable playing in the centre of pitch but behind the front two - in that zone I seem to perform best. 

Hall: You have been considered the Spanish version of Zinedine Zidane - how do you feel about that? 

Valerón: That's something that pleases me a lot - it is very encouraging that people compare me with Zidane. It something that encourages me to carry on enjoying my game, working hard and trying to play as well as possible. 

Hall: It has been 40 years since Spain won a major international trophy - are we due a Spanish success? 

Valerón: I hope so. We are all fired up for this championship. We are very excited and we are going to give it everything we have got to make this year a special one for Spain. - Andy Hall




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