WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Vero Boquete: “I know that I'm representing the Spain brand”

The midfielder and Spain captain spoke to AS in Seville, just as Bayern Munich bring their winter, mid-season stage to a close.

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Vero Boquete: “I know that I'm representing the Spain brand”
Toni Rodriguez DIARIO AS

How's it been to be back home in Spain with Bayern?

The last time I was in Seville was nine years ago, with Prainsa. It's already been raining! After that, I was with Espanyol, Buffalo Flash, Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence, Energy, Tyresö, Frankfurt, Portland and Bayern Munich. It's very special to be back and to play in my country.

You joined Bayern last summer but suffered an injury, do you feel that the season's really only starting for you now?

It's a New Year and for me, a new season. I was hardly able to play during the first half of the campaign and now the league is about to resume; there are many objectives to reach and all of us are excited and raring to go. There's a lot in the balance - the league, the Cup, qualifying for the EURO 2017…

It must be comforting to resume the league campaign as leaders, with a 12-point advantage over Wolfsburg and Frankfurt?

It's a cushion. It takes some of the pressure off but not completely. Right at the start of the second round of matches we will meet both Wolfsburg and Frankfurt and if we don't take any points from those games, our lead could be cut short.

What does it means to play for such a massive club like Bayern?

In terms of Women's football, it's one of the biggest achievements you can reach. It's 100 per cent professional and there's more and more support for the women's team. It's a huge club and feeling part of it  means a lot.

In what ways are things done differently in Munich?

It's an historic club. You realize how huge the club is as soon as you see the training complex and watch the first team at work. And despite being a big club, at the same time, it maintains simplicity - here, we all eat together: the basketball team, the people in marketing, the press department... We're one big family and that is unthinkable at any big club in Spain.

There are a million licensed players in Germany; In Spain, 38,000. Is there more equality in women's football in Germany?

There's more equality because the difference is not so big. Women's football in Germany is really respected, for the Bundesliga and for the national side. Germany's national team has always been a force and that means that women's football is more prominent - it's appreciated and valued.

Vero Boquete and Bayern coach Thomas Worl.

You were the first Spanish player to win the Champions League and to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or. Does that make you feel like you are an ambassador for Women's football in Spain?

I know that I do represent the Spain brand abroad in terms of Spanish women's football. A few years ago it was very difficult for a Spanish player to gain recognition - nobody knew about us. We were never involved in European Championships or World Cups. Fortunately that has all changed and will continue to change because the players who are coming through are doing really well and earning respect for our national team. There's a lot of expectation because the potential is there.

Have you spoken to Guardiola?

Guardiola was one of the first to welcome me on board. During the past few months he has shown an active interest in the women's team and regualrly speaks to our coach. Javi Martínez also comes along to watch our matches.

Would like like to be the protagonist in a clash between Real Madrid and Bayern?

I'd love Real Madrid to have a women's team because it would really propel the women's game in Spain. At the end of the day, matches between Real Madrid and Barça are the big crowd-draws - there's more interest for that than any other game and if Madrid do put together a women's team, it wouldn't be just an average side. They would put together a strong women's side where the best Spanish players would play and the best foreign players. The league would be better for it - it would raise the level and would allow more Spanish teams to compete at the top level in European competition. No other clubs have anything like the following which Real Madrid have, and Barça - it would have a huge impact on the women's game.

You've played in an Olympic stadium, La Cartuja. The Olympics are one of the few things you have yet to experience in football...

They are lots of things I still have to do, but playing at the Olympic Games would be special. It's my big dream. In football, perhaps the greatest feeling is to play at the World Cup but as a sportswoman, the Olympics is something else. It would be amazing and surely a crowning event in my career.