Amigos reveal their derby tales
2nd November 2013
Swansea City's Spanish contingent will experience their first Welsh derby this Sunday, but they are all well accustomed to the passion and tension of local rivalry.
Defender Chico Flores has been involved in derbies in Spain and Italy while Michu turned out for his local club Real Oviedo in their tense tussle with rivals Sporting Gijon.
Jose Canas has tasted both victories and defeats for Real Betis in their battles with Sevilla while Alvaro Vazquez turned out for Espanyol against Barcelona.
So while the more recent Spanish signings get the first taste of this nation's biggest derby on Sunday, they feel their past experiences will give them a helping hand.
"I believe it is going to be a very exciting game, not only for the players also for the club, supporters, the city," said Chico.
"I know the derbies have been played in lowers division and but they are very exciting derbies.
"I've played in these games in Spain and Italy. In Spain, I played for Cadiz against Xerez. For the people from Cadiz, that is as big as Barca-Madrid or Sevilla-Betis.
"The year I was in Italy I played for Genoa against Sampdoria. They are both from the same city and over there the fans love the derby too.
"So I know how much these games against Cardiff mean to our fans and city."
For Michu, the midfielder has experienced some of his most-anticipated derbies as both a supporter and player.
He said: "I remember as a fan, when Oviedo- Sporting were playing, it was very special for your city and people - they just want you to win that game.
"As fan I used to love Oviedo- Sporting Gijon - they were incredible. Then I played in that derby along with Deportivo La Coruña and Celta Vigo when I was playing at Celta. They are special games.
"There is not a favourite to win and anything can happen because everyone is extra motivated due to the all the excitement generated during the week.
"It is sometimes more important for the supporters to beat their local rivals than have a good season. But, after all, it is not more than three points.
"I understand we have to give more than 100% on Sunday because I know just how much it means to our fans."
Vazquez, too, has plenty of derby memories, and even scored at the Nou Camp during Espanyol's clashes with Barcelona.
"Barcelona is a big team, they are used to winning everything and Espanyol are a modest team but always make things very complicated for Barcelona in these game," said the striker. "It is just show that anyone can be the winner in these matches.
"Winning these games is the best feeling. It is not only three points - it means much more. To beat the rival team and make the fans happy and feel proud of their team is the best feeling for a player.
"I am looking forward to this derby with Cardiff. My team-mates who played in this game have explained to me what it is all about."
Canas, like fellow Swan Alejandro Pozuelo, is also familiar with derby day back in their homeland as both have featured for Real Betis against Sevilla.
Canas experienced both the highs and lows of the rivalry while at Betis - a last-gasp winner in Sevilla's back yard the highlight, while he also endured a 5-1 thrashing at the same venue.
"I know what is like to win in the rival stadium. At Betis, Beñat in the last minute against Sevilla and it is the best feeling.
"But we also lost 5-1 at the same stadium and the feeling is horrible.
"It is so intense - I think it is the same here. People in Seville are very passionate about football and everyone here is exactly like that too."
And Canas hopes the passion shown by the Jack Army can spur the team on to victory this Sunday.
"They are amazing - they makes so much noise and support us through every second of the game," he added.
"That support is very important for the players. I feel even when the results are not great they keep showing their support and are behind us.
"My message to them is keep doing it because it really gives us a big lift.
"Hopefully their amazing support will help us win on Sunday. And if we do win, then that victory is for our supporters."