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Pau Torres has emerged as a potential Sergio Ramos replacement at Real Madrid, but it was under Luis Enrique with Spain that he was given a chance to become a household name.
The La Roja boss was seeking a replacement for Gerard Pique and placed his faith in the impressive Villarreal centre-back, who he spoke glowingly of prior to Spain’s match against Switzerland in Basel on November 14.
“I like everything about Pau,” Luis Enrique stated.
“His personality and his ability to take risks and filter passes, his tactical sense, his way of pressing and marking opponents… he is tall and handsome, and very good. He has everything, I like him.”
Pau is seen as being someone who cares about their image, yet he does not fit the personality type that is often associated with this. He doesn’t talk much, he’s very shy and sometimes it can seem as if he’s not even there.
The 23-year-old, who turns 24 on January 16, was born in Villarreal and has been in the club’s youth system since he was five years old. Other players from Villarreal’s academy have made their way to the national team, like Bruno Soriano and Santi Cazorla, but neither had been in the club’s youth system as long as Pau.
Pau may have become a staple of the Spain defence alongside Sergio Ramos whilst under Luis Enrique’s management, but he was given his first opportunity with La Roja under Robert Moreno. In November 2019, he was included in the squad list for the matches against Malta and Romania.
“You will be amazed, he is a very good centre-back, with and without the ball,” said Cazorla, who was his captain at Villarreal.
Pau made his debut against Malta at the Nuevo Estadio Ramon de Carranza, and he scored with his first touch.