Valerón, en acció. FOTO: RC Deportivo de La Corunya.

Juan Carlos Valerón, with Rafinha, in the first half of the season. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Juan Carlos Valerón (Arguineguin, Gran Canaria, 1975) is the undisputed leader of
Deportivo, Barça B’s rivals on Saturday. In the words of his President, Augusto Cesar
Lendoiro, "he sets the standard at a sporting, technical, and philosophical level".
Just like the Galician club, in the last decade, he’s been to heaven and hell (mainly
due toinjuries). His experience has brought serenity, and simplicity: Valerón feels an
obligation to return Depor to the elite, even if it’s with the last spark of magic that
comes from his boots.

- After the relegation of your team last year, you said "I'm just as excited to play for
Depor in the second division, as I am playing for the national team". With half the
season over, is your enthusiasm still intact?

"Of course. That was a way of saying that I was very involved with the club after so
many years here. I felt that the veterans in the team had the responsibility to step up".

- Can we conclude that Deportivo is fully adapted to the Second Division and will host
Barça B at a good time for them?

"We’re in good shape and in the last few games we’ve had some very good results.
However, you can’t ever relax too much. We have to be prepared each week, each
game. Those of us who’ve spent many years in the game know what it means and how
difficult it is to stay at the top. We try to bring normality to the situation, there is still a
lot to do".

- Is this the Depor team that’s playing the best football in recent years?

"It's possible. With new manager, the proposal is to want to play well, take the
initiative, with combinations and possession. Personally, I’m enjoying it very much. The
arrival of Oltra has helped me".

- What does it feel like as a player who has won so much when he plays against others
just starting out, above all young players, such as many of the Barça B team?

"As you approach the end of your career you try to make the most of this time,
showing great respect and humility towards young players. I identify with them. I
always observe them carefully, whether they’re in my team or the opposition".

- Is there any particular player that you like in the Barça B team?

"I find it very difficult to pick out just one. They have many very good players. I saw
some of them in the Youth Kings Cup last season, when they played against Deportivo.
I know they have footballers at a good level".

- After their third place last season, can Eusebio maintain that level?

"His team is improving, they’re more connected. It seems they have some stability
although the first team keeps calling up players. I've always admired Eusebio. As a
player I admired him because he didn’t make any noise and always did well, wherever
he was playing. As a manager I noticed him when he was at Celta with the daring offer.
I wasn’t surprised when Barça signed him".

- You’ve already played against them, so do you see the potential in the young players
like Montoya, Bartra, or Muniesa that might consolidate them in the first team?

"There is little doubt of their quality. However, every process needs time and a number
of things to happen. We can’t anticipate events. We should bear in mind that some
players grow before others ... It takes patience".

- At most grounds there are some players, just like Valerón, that are cheered when
they come onto the pitch. What do you think the fans really appreciate?

"I am very grateful. I guess that's because I've been at it for years. I noticed especially
after returning from injury that kept me out for two years. I was filled with satisfaction
to see the Camp Nou applaud me on the penultimate day of last season".

- How do you see this stage of Barca’s hegemony?

"This is a team that has been better than the rest. There has always been the doubt
about whether a team could play well and win and Barça have shown that it can be
done. They’ve done a lot for Spanish football, because a lot of people are trying to
copy their model".

- What would have happened if your SuperDepor with Djalminha, Makaay and
company would have coincided with the current Barça team?

"It’s difficult to say. They’d have been good games and you would have seen some
great football. However, we have to recognise that this Barca, and Real Madrid as
well, are at a very high level, well above many other historic teams. Ten years ago we
weren’t so good".

- You are under contract until 2015 with Deportivo, first as a player and then as advisor
to the President. If Depor gets promoted will we see you in the Directors Box or on the
pitch at the Camp Nou next year?

"I don’t know what will happen, just now I’m not even thinking about it. I'm really
enjoying helping the team. At the end of the season we’ll take a look at the situation
and see how I am. In any case, before making a decision I’ll want to know the ideas of ​
the Club and the Manager”.

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