This article was first published in Champions Journal. Read the original article here.
*This is an excerpt from Navas’s interview in the new Champions Journal issue 16. Get your copy here to read the full story.
“Nunca se rinde” is the Sevilla FC motto – never give up – and nobody embodies this better than Jesús Navas. Here, after all, is a 37-year-old who shows no sign of slowing down in the cause of his beloved club. He played 49 games for Sevilla in 2022/23 – and in arguably the most demanding role on the pitch, at full- back, shuttling up and down the right. To emphasise the point, in the Andalusian side’s triumphant Europa League campaign he served up more crosses (52) than any other player in the competition.
A local boy from the town of Los Palacios y Villafranca, 30 minutes south of Seville, he played his first match in a Sevilla shirt 20 years ago this coming November. Save for four years at Manchester City between 2013 and 2017, his whole club career has been with Sevilla. Hence he felt as deeply as anyone the difficulties of a 2022/23 season in which Sevilla sacked two coaches and fought relegation into the springtime – before the joy of the denouement against Roma in Budapest, which secured their place in the Champions League group stage for a fourth successive year.
The emotional toll was fully apparent in the aftermath of Sevilla’s Europa League final triumph when he sat down for an interview with me, still in his kit, cradling the Europa League trophy in his arms. In a darkened room off the tunnel area of the Puskás Aréna, he sat illuminated by the lights of a film crew, those piercing blue eyes all the more striking.
In the TV ‘flash’ interview area outside, his team- mates were still responding to reporters’ questions. Here, in this more intimate setting, Navas’s emotions were raw. “Never give up” may be the motto, but his emotions conquered him as, between sobs, he spoke of the Sevilla “family”.