Two former Barcelona strikers take the pitch at AAMI Park tonight.
But although David Villa mightn’t remember Sergio Cirio now, he sure will if Adelaide United’s Spaniard maintains his hot-streak.
He used to share a taxi to training with Cesc Fabregas and played at Barcelona when David Villa was at a small club named UP Langreo. But Sergio Cirio’s career took a different path, and by the time Barcelona spent $60m to sign Villa in 2010, he was languishing in Spain’s fourth tier in the midst of a journeyman career.
On Friday night Cirio and Villa share the same pitch, having taken contrasting journeys to Australia. Sergio Cirio was bought to Australia in 2013 by FIA Sports Management, along with compatriot Isaias Sanchez.
So would Villa know who the Adelaide United striker is?
“I don’t think so. Maybe in these few weeks if he saw reports or highlights he does,’’ Cirio said.
“Almost everybody in Spain knows David Villa, he is one of the most important players in the history of the national team and Spanish people now show more an interest in the A-League.”
“I always watched him because we play in similar position — we play on the left but we are right-footed.”
“When I was younger, he still didn’t appear in first division and I had other idols like Romario and Ronaldo at Barca. After I started looking up to Villa, Iniesta, Xavi — we can learn so much from them.”
“I want to change shirts with him. I think everybody wants to do it, but I have a bit of an advantage with my Spanish.’’
While Cirio would love to add Villa’s shirt to a collection that already includes neighbour Fabregas’, before he does he’ll give as good as he gets.
The striker is at ease with his career path and said Australia- like Barca _ will prepare him for life after football, with he, his girlfriend, and Argentine teammate Marcelo Carrusca, doing English classes.
“I was at there from 11-16. After that, Barcelona told me to find another club,’’ he said.
“It wasn’t difficult (to leave Barca), many teams show interest in you,’’ he said.
“You want to keep playing for Barca, but your mentality has to be strong and if you have a dream, and you want to be professional you have to keep training and working.”
“But Barcelona teach you a lot of other skills. For them it’s important to be polite with other team, referees, coaching staff, everybody.”
“We had to show them our school reports, this is very important.”
“Nobody from my team played for the first team. Cesc Fabregas, who is younger, lived close.”
“We are both from Maresme and a taxi used to pick up a few of us and drop us off at training, so everyday we shared taxi.”
“My old club Hospitalet played against Barca in the Copa del Rey two years ago and I changed shirts with him.’’
While Cirio, his Spanish teammates and coach Josep Gombau are virtual unknowns back in Spain, they have made their mark in Australia.
Cirio and defensive midfielder Isaias were signed by Gombau at the start of last season and have proved to be two of the highest quality A-League imports, with fellow Spaniard Pablo Sanchez showing plenty in his first three games.
“They are doing a good job, but everybody is important for the team, the Australian players too,’’ Cirio said.
“The environment is very good. We have a very good group in change-rooms and we are like one on and off the field.’’
© 2014 Fox Sports Australia
This article first appeared on Fox Sports Australia on October 30, 2014.