Pablo Sarabia: “You have to be very strong of mind to compete with Neymar and Mbappé”

Pablo Sarabia (Madrid, 29 years old) is surely the striker on the football planet who has the most competition to be able to play minutes at his club. At PSG he has Neymar, Mbappé and Di María ahead. Despite the three muscle injuries, the covid, his substitutions, and not having been cited before by Luis Enrique, he included him in the list of 24 players for the Eurocup. The coach clarified that in the two previous windows he also studied recruiting him. The team’s coaching staff values ​​him as a high-performance player in the area and its surroundings for his ability to attack spaces. Still, the summons caught him so by surprise that he had already arranged a vacation with his girlfriend.

Question. Where had he scheduled to rest?

Answer. I was going to Mexico and then with my family to the south of Spain. I have changed the beach for Las Rozas, but I am delighted.

P. It has been one of the big surprises on the list. Do you have the feeling that you are the last in line among the forwards?

R. Not at all, I am very calm with my work. I know why they have brought me and I am very confident in my possibilities.

P. With Neymar. Mbappé and Di María ahead, is the striker in the world who has the most competition to be able to enjoy minutes?

R. It is complicated, but also good for the competition, we have a great team. I went to Paris and the first year was very good, I contributed goals [14] and assists [8], knowing that it is difficult for any attacking player to have minutes, and I had them. This year has been more difficult due to the three injuries I had and because of the covid, which I did not have a good time because it affected my ability to exert, but in the end I had minutes and I scored goals [seis, y cuatro asistencias].

P. How do you digest knowing that these players will always play even if their performance drops?

R. Mentally you have to be very strong. There are times when you feel like you can play a little more, but the footballer must be prepared for this. In football, 60% are mental when it comes to wanting to be better every day and to be strong in hard times, which we have all been through.

P. You are rated by the coaches as a numbers and performance player.

R. Football is numbers and efficiency, and I try to contribute that which is essential for a team. They ask the attackers for assistance and goals and the defenders for a clean sheet.

P. Has competition with Neymar, Mbappé and Di María made you a better player?

R. Yes, in the end there are two parts. On the one hand there is football, with those players you learn and they teach you. Then there is the psychological aspect, to face that competition and give one more point in the demand to play important or final matches. That also makes you mature.

P. Without having the same conditions as Neymar or Mbappé, what can be learned from them?

R. Simply when we rehearse definitions, you keep getting how they hold up, how they have that tempo more than other players don’t have. Or in decision-making, which is good for me to later score goals or assists. In the shots, for example, your safety side is the short stick when you approach the goal with a diagonal and both have a better shot at the long stick, they encourage you to try that and in the end you improve it because you see the touch they give.

P. Among other things, Luis Enrique has brought him because he considers that he is a player who attacks spaces very well.

R. I try to always be close to the area to be able to do damage, to read where the danger is. I have always been a player who has liked to score goals and give assists, but you go watching videos, passing seasons, and you stop making some efforts that were not worth too much to the team or there were other players who could do that function, and you focus more on the determination phase, which is what the top three or four players must master.

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