Lucas Vazquez says winning the Champions League and earning a Spain call-up for Euro 2016 is just the beginning. “I still have dreams to fulfil…”
Vazquez emerged from relative obscurity at Espanyol to help Real Madrid win their 11th European cup last month, having scored their first penalty in the shootout, and earn his first Spain call-up, which coincided with Euro 2016, but the winger insists his career has not peaked.
“It’s been a little chaotic, getting to know so many new people, faces and names, but I’m adapting gradually,” he told Marca.
“[The No 9] was the only number not taken, but I’m happy to take it. I wore it in my first year at Madrid’s youth academy.
“When I got to Madrid, I played as a centre forward. [Alvaro] Morata arrived a year later and I was then moved to the right, where I stayed.
“Each position requires some things from you, but they complement you as a player. It all adds up and helps you improve, but I’m most comfortable playing on the right.
“[On comparisons with Pedro Rodriguez], Pedro is too great, but hopefully I can help the team as best I can.
“I saw [a call-up] as something very difficult. I always worked hard to do well for Madrid and help the team, but coming here is a great reward.
“[On how he found out about his call-up], I was doing recovery work with [Zinedine] Zidane and his assistants, and out comes Arbeloa from the dressing room, screaming, ‘You’ve been called up to the national team, congratulations!’
“I asked him what he meant, and he said ‘you’re going to the national team’. I said, ‘wow!’ I didn’t believe it.
“I then heard the final squad myself because my phone kept ringing and I kept getting messages.
“The truth is that I received a lot of support with chants of ‘Lucas for the national team’ during the [CL] celebrations.
“[On his Madrid idol] it’s hard to pick just one. While I was growing up, Raul [Gonzalez] was an idol for me, Figo too. Then as I got older, Robinho … and Cristiano [Ronaldo] of course.
“[On whether he was affected by being considered inferior to Jese Rodriguez and Morata], no. The truth is that are things that you can’t control. We’d always keep working hard and improving, and the prize is being here.
“I came very well. Third is the kid a modest step, it is not easy. I came very well when being a footballer, to mature and learn the other football.
“When you play for Madrid, you know you have options of winning trophies, and going to the Euros is a prize. Right now, I’m not aware of everything that’s happened to me.
“[On his secret to displacing James, Isco and Jese], I don’t know. All I do is work hard every day and ensure I learn from the best in every training session.
“[On not displacing the BBC], that’s because it’s the Coach who decides. What I have to do is work hard.
“[On playing at right-back], I like playing further forward, but I’m always at the service of the Coach.
“[On the CL final], the feelings were great. It was a spectacular match and we did a lot suffering, but when you know you’re being watched on TV, you enjoy it more, of course.
“I have a little secret [on being Madrid’s first penalty taker]. When the final whistle blew, I went to Zizou and told him I wanted to take [a penalty]. He then showed me his list and I was first in the shootout.
“[My Madrid teammates] are helping me a lot [in the Spain set-up]. I’m very happy to share a dressing room with them.
“I’m still young and I still have many dreams to fulfil and a lot to win. If only I can realise them.”