Keen to see Spain lift U17 WC - Pune City's Tebar opens up on Spain's 2003 U17 side, Real Madrid & more
Kochi. FIFA U-17 World Cup. Brazil vs Spain. It surely doesn't get bigger than that! A match as big as any being organized in the country will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Brazil and Spain, the two giants of world football will lock horns in a crucial Group C clash. On one side we have the three-time U-17 champions Brazil vs the three-time runners-up Spain.
More significantly, tonight's clash will see the reigning champions of Europe take on the existing champions of South America. Both teams have been billed as the pre-tournament favourites which will make this game even more exciting. To talk more about the Spanish U-17 side, Sportskeeda caught up with Marcos Tebar, the former Real Madrid midfielder, currently of FC Pune City who was a part of Spain's 2003 U-17 side which reached the final of the World Cup. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
1) You have represented Spain in the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup. What goes through a young player's mind when he represents his nation at such a young age in such a huge competition?
Tebar: At that time, the U-17 World Cup was the biggest and highest playing opportunity a player could get. Professional contracts wouldn’t come in so early in lives for most. Therefore to do the best for your nation at the World stage was the biggest ambition of each and every player.
2) How different is the pressure at such a young age-group in a teenager's mind when compared to the one when representing a club like Real Madrid?
Tebar: At U-17 level, there is nothing you have to lose. Every player's mind is focused on doing well for the country and go and have some fun on the field. The moment you start playing for a top professional club like Real Madrid, it’s a different ball game. There is so much at stake and your career is on the line because how well you do for the club now decides whether your international career will take off or not.
3) Spain's 2003 squad reached the final in that year's U-17 World Cup. Can you tell us about your journey to being the runners-up in a World Cup?
Tebar: It was a special team that. Some of the best footballers in the world today were a part of that team. We played well consistently only to be beaten by a better team on that day.
4) That Spanish squad had the likes of David Silva and Cesc Fabregas in their ranks. How was the mood in the camp and what was it like playing with two of this generation's most creative midfielders?
Tebar: It was an honour to represent your country at that stage. When we all got together, we all were equals. David and Cesc were like everyone else in the team, raring to go and prove a point. What they did with their careers post the U17 days is what defined them. In retrospect, I would say I feel proud to have played with such beautiful footballers.
5) Your thoughts on the current Spanish U-17 squad?
Tebar: They are a good side, with some top players in the squad. Would be very keen on seeing them progress all the way.
6) The Spain U-17 side has brilliant players to watch out for like Abel Ruiz, Victor Chust and Just Miranda. Who is the one player you are looking forward to in this World Cup?
Tebar: Captain and forward Abel Ruiz has been in great form so the team doesn’t have to go too far to get inspiration.
7) This current Spain U-17 side has arrived in India after winning the Euros earlier this year. The last time Spain's U-17 won the Euros was in 2008 which marked the start of domination by La Roja in the international circuit. Will the history repeat itself?
Tebar: Spain is qualifying for the event after eight years so surely the team is raring to go. The team is coming at the back of winning the U-17 European Championship in Croatia so they should take a lot of encouragement from that. The current squad has a few new names but the core remains same so I believe they stand a good chance to move up as the tournament progresses to make history.
8) Your message to the Spanish squad for their first game against Brazil?
Tebar: The current squad features 10 players from Barcelona and Real Madrid's youth academies; La Masia and La Fabrica, respectively. They are known for their quick and beautiful passing game, so that’s what they need to continue doing. For some of them, this tournament may be a platform for a better future ahead. So the best thing to do for the team is to go and express themselves in the language that they speak best, i.e. of playing beautiful football.