Paris Saint-Germain undertook an extensive restructuring this summer with the mbappe renewal and the hiring of Luis Campos as sports director. With the new consignment of footballers came Fabián Ruiz (Los Palacios, Sevilla; 26 years old) from Napoli in exchange for 23 million euros. The midfielder responds via video call from the Parc des Princes, the stadium where he debuted with PSG on September 10, against Brest.
Ask. In recent years, there have always been big clubs interested in you. Why was now the time to leave Napoli?
Response. An offer arrives, we all believe that it is very good, that you could not say no to a club like Paris, for the project they are doing, for the club, for history. I had one year left on my contract, and both Napoli and I were interested in leaving, and I think it was a very good choice.
P. Who explained the project to you to convince you?
R. It was while I was concentrating on preseason. My agents called me to inform me that they were interested, and then I spoke with Luis Campos, who explained the project to me, the desire he had for him to be here. Later I also spoke with the mister [Galtier], so that he could explain to me his way of playing, the ideas he had. Those conversations were very good, they gave me a lot of confidence, that desire to be here with them, to work together, and it was one of the things that made me confirm that decision.
P. What do they expect from you? What do you like about your game?
R. They like what I’ve been doing these years. At Napoli, due to work or luck, things were going well, as a team and personally. They ask me for the things I had been doing. The order. Be organized in the field. In the end, I am a player who likes to run, to be up, to be down, and they asked me for that, that I could reach the area, and then be able to come back, help the team defensively. Because in the end we are a very aggressive team that we have a lot of people up top, and in the middle we have to have that solidarity to be able to defend well, compact. He asks me for a bit of both: to help the team defensively, but at the same time he can also reach the area.
P. What is it like to walk into a dressing room with Neymar, Leo Messi and Mbappé?
R. At first it is a bit impressive to see the best players together, to know that you are going to change with them, that you are going to live with them on a daily basis. It’s a privilege. But at the same time normally. They are normal boys.
P. Are they glad to have a good bodyguard?
R. They have not said anything to me, but they have received me very well. All three are very close. That’s what we’re here for, to try to help as much as possible and for them to be comfortable on the pitch.
P. What jump in your career was bigger, from Segunda to Betis in Primera or from there to Napoli?
R. I remember when I left Betis for Napoli. The first months were very difficult. I even had a bit of a rough time.
R. For the language, for changing the country. After so many years surrounded by family and friends, seeing yourself from one day to the next alone in a new city without knowing anyone, it was hard at first. He was also younger. It may have been the hardest change. But you learn from everything, and I never imagined that after four years I would be as good as I have been. Now I’m older, I’ve already had that experience, and I’m a little more adapted.
P. He likes to get to the area and has a good shot. Will playing with Mbappé, Messi and Neymar ahead of you force you to change?
R. They give me the freedom to be able to climb, to be able to arrive, to be able to join. I’ll try to get to the area. If I have to shoot, I’ll shoot like I did before. If I have to pass it, I will pass it. It is not something that has to change because of who plays, but the other way around: try to contribute what I have so that the team can grow in that.
P. Which footballers did you look up to as role models as a child?
R. In Italy they compared me to Redondo. It’s big, left foot too. But as a child he didn’t have any reference, he didn’t pay attention to any in particular. More than anything, in those who played for Betis. My dream was to debut at Betis. I wanted to be like Joaquín, Capi… The homegrown players who made their debut with Betis. It was a bit: “I wish I could be a day like them.”
P. After the European Championship he stopped going to the national team, and Luis Enrique has not included him on the last list before the World Cup. Do you see there?
R. It’s not something I’m always thinking about. I try to improve, give my best every day, try to continue growing, contributing things to the team. In Spain the competitiveness is very great, especially in the middle of the field. There are very good players. Selection is an important thing. We will try to keep growing, keep improving, and keep doing things well.
P. Has Luis Enrique told you what is missing?
R. No, only when we go there he gathers the group and explains what he wants from each player, from each position, but nothing specific about me. I’ve never had any of those conversations.
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