LiveScore.com through its association with LaLiga recently hosted an interaction with LaLiga Santander and Villarreal CF player Samuel Chukwueze on a variety of topics. Víctor Ogunyinka brings excerpts from the interview session where he spoke about football, his career in LaLiga.
First memories in sports as a child
For me, it was about street football, street tournaments when I was little. I remember when I was eight years old I played with the older children who chose me for their team. When I used to dodge two or three people, they used to hit me on the head, so those are the memories I have from when I was a kid.
At what age did you think to make a professional career in soccer?
I think it was when I was 14, when I went to the Iberian Cup. I won the tournament’s top scorer, playing against young players from the European teams Sevilla FC and RCD Espanyol, that’s when I realized that I can take football seriously.
Soccer idols growing up
When I was young in Nigeria, I remember loving watching Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu. All the kids in Nigeria were watching them and these two were two of my idols growing up.
Tips for future footballers in Nigeria
The only advice I should give them is to work and be disciplined, both on and off the field. That is the most important thing, concentrating on where you are going. They should forget about wanting to make money and instead focus on wanting to work hard. If they do this, everything else will follow.
Your first appearance in Nigeria
The day I heard from someone, ‘You are invited to the Nigerian national team’, I did not believe it the first time. I called my mom and said ‘mom, I’ve been invited to the national team’, and she was very proud. I called my brother and he was very happy too. It was a great moment; it was a dream come true for me. I had just broken into the Villarreal CF first team and they invited me, I couldn’t believe it. It was just amazing!
Why Umuahia is rich on all fronts
All my heart is in Umuahia, I believe that Umuahia is in The Bible. This state is in the Bible because God blessed this place, blessed Umuahia, that’s why it is amazing and great people come from that place.
After 3 seasons in LaLiga, any changes?
I think a lot has changed, coming from Nigeria to come and play Villarreal CF in Europe. Before I saw football as a right to play the way I want, attack, dribble, entertain the fans. Now I think I understand what it means to be tactically disciplined, to know when to attack, when to defend. I think my general understanding of the game has changed enormously.
Most talented teammate of Villarreal CF
It has to be Santi Cazorla, he is a fantastic player who can play very well with both feet. He is special and very talented.
Teams that gave surprises in LaLiga this season
I would say that Cádiz CF and Atlético de Madrid are two teams that have surprised me this year. Cádiz CF in particular have some really good players. They beat Real Madrid CF at Alfredo Di Stéfano and they also beat FC Barcelona, two teams that are great to beat. I think they are actually very good both tactically and in the way they play.
Young man to be careful in LaLiga Satander
There are so many good players in LaLiga. You have Bryan Gil, Ansu Fati and Yeremi Pino at Villarreal CF. For me, I would choose Yeremi, he is a fantastic player. He’s a young guy, he has the speed and the talent, and the most important thing is that he’s working very hard.
Featured artist in LaLiga Santander this season
For me, I am going to say that my teammate Gerard Moreno has been incredible since LaLiga was restarted. He has scored so many goals and always plays very well.
Paint a picture of your ideal soccer player
I will choose Zinedine Zidane for the football brain, Cristiano Ronaldo for the strength and Lionel Messi for the feet.
I would like you to tell me that I am going to win the UEFA Europa League, just tell me! I want to win the UEFA Europa League, thank you!