Nacho Monreal joined Real Sociedad in the summer of 2019 after six years in England with Arsenal. The 34 year-old from Pamplona signed for one of the slickest teams in La Liga, with La Real playing superb football and currently leading the division.
La Real are currently three points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, four clear of third-placed Villarreal and six clear of the mighty Real Madrid in fourth. In the Europa League, La Real are currently sitting in third position, behind AZ Alkmaar and Napoli and ahead of Rijeka.
Real Sociedad news was dominated before the season by the departure of Norwegian starlet Martin Odegaard, who left San Sebastian a year earlier than his loan was scheduled to end.
He returned to Madrid, his parent club, who were so impressed with his development they fast-tracked his return. Thankfully for La Real supporters, they replaced him with David Silva.
“It happened very fast and they said he was going to stay only for Madrid to then come in and take him away,” Monreal said in an interview with Sid Lowe for The Guardian carried by Marca.
“It hurt, but the club managed it very well and in less than two days we went from having lost him to signing David Silva.”
Monreal revealed that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the quality that La Real have exhibited since he joined the club. “When I signed I knew we could play good football, but honestly not at such a high level,” he said.
“I’ve found a better team than I expected. It’s probably the best squad I’ve ever been in. We don’t fear any team and we don’t feel that we’re inferior to anyone.”
Monreal also spoke about Mikel Arteta, a team-mate of his at Arsenal, and how he’s not surprised that he’s become a successful coach. “You could see it in him,” he said.
“He was a leader and a captain. He explained himself perfectly and it was recognisable that his vocation was to be a coach. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast, but he learned with Guardiola and has been a breath of fresh air.”
Next up for La Real and Monreal is a trip to AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday. Then, they face Villarreal in La Liga, in what will be an intriguing test of how far they’ve come.
Featured image courtesy of El Diario Vasco.