The Club


The Sporting Director said farewell to Sevilla FC with an emotional press conference at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán
Cuerpo Superior

Ramón Rodríguez VerdejoMonchi, bid farewell to the club after last week's announcement that he would no longer be Sporting Director.

To begin, he explained his point of view regarding his departure: "Yesterday my son, Alejandro, asked me if if I had prepared what I was going to say. I hadn't prepared anything. I still think this is a nightmare and that someone is going to come and pinch me to tell me that it's not real and that I'm not leaving Sevilla. I am here today to say goodbye. I want to explain, tell and reveal why this nightmare is a reality. I will do so to defend my image and integrity. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to look in the eyes of many people who are here."

"I think this is going to be my last appearance as a Sevilla FC employee for a long time. It's only fair that I tell what I feel, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to look the people who have suffered all this season in the eyes. To honour them, to be respectful to them, I have to tell my side of the story. Nobody should use what I am going to say as a weapon, neither to attack nor to defend anything."

From the outset, the former Sporting Director expressed his gratitude: "At a farewell, you say thank you. I know you know what I am like, a grateful person. What I do is say thanks to those I have around me. I would like to dwell for a second on the Sevilla fans. I have to thank them all, it will be impossible for me to find a fanbase that respects and loves a sporting director so much. I would like to look at the North Stand and thank them. When times were toughest, they didn't stop waving the flag with my face, that's something to be very grateful for. I'm sure that if I hadn't been Sevilla's Sporting Director, I would have been an ultra in the North Stand."

He also highlighted the great affection he received at all times from those closest to him and from the fans: "I will remember everyone's affection. It's nice to see all the board of directors and colleagues. That's the nicest thing. I got more messages when my departure was announced than when we won the final in Budapest. That's one of the things I will remember, everyone's affection."

In addition, from the beginning he emphasised that he wanted to explain his opinion, always with respect: "I want to defend three things. I want to defend that I didn't want to leave Sevilla; I'm leaving out of respect for Sevilla. I also want to defend that I'm not leaving for money. That's what I want to say. I finish as I started, I wish this had been a nightmare and today we would have been here presenting a player. Either with or without my friend Víctor Orta."

"I struggled intermittently with myself until Wednesday morning"

Monchi also focused on his return to the club: "I think I've mentioned this lots of times. I'm a special sporting director, for better or worse. A sporting director that's been growing since 2000. I'm Monchi, with my mistakes and successes. If I'm not Monchi, I don't think I contribute what I am capable of. For me, and that's why I speak of respect, the most comfortable thing would have been to look the other way, understanding that my role could have changed. In my case, if I'm not one hundred percent Monchi, it's better not to be there."

"When I met with Pepe, José María and Jesús Arroyo, I was the happiest person in the world. I'd left Roma, with a pre-agreement to earn three times as much at Arsenal. When I returned, I thought it would be the last step, and then I'd go back to San Fernando. What happened? If I'm not myself, it's better not to be there. You all know my ties to San Fernando. Do you know how difficult it is to go so far away from San Fernando? To be separated from your family and friends, from my mother. If I'm leaving it's not by chance. I struggled intermittently with myself until Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay. There are no more explanations to be sought."

He also wanted to explain the timing and manner of his departure: "You have made many judgements, possibly my fault for not having spoken before. You have said that this is not the right time or the right way. When you have a way of understanding your work and think that the big successes are in the small details, if you move those details, I perfectly understand that the club wants to make a change. I'm not good at signing players, the ones who are good are there, I'm good at day-to-day management. For that I need some weapons, which are the ones I've always had, to make me strong. If I lack that, I'm already half of Monchi. It's not fair to keep half of Monchi and get paid as a whole Monchi."

"It's a personal decision, no one told me to leave"

For Monchi, it was a decision taken personally, without anyone opening the door for him: "It's a personal decision, no one told me to leave. I thought the fairest thing was for me to leave. I understand that the club evolves. My main idea was to go to San Fernando and rest without the day-to-day pressure. The conditions for leaving were the same whether I went to San Fernando or somewhere else. I started to look at the option of Aston Villa. I was very excited because it is a growing project. Above all, there is a person with whom I have worked magnificently that has encouraged me to go."

"I'm left with one phrase and that is to give thanks for life. It is difficult to feel more loved than I have felt. Sevilla is in very good hands, it's a wise decision to hire Victor. Maybe I'll come back as Víctor's number 2 and we'll make a real racket, I don't know who's more nervous out of the two of us."

Out of affection for his former colleague, he is pleased with the arrival of Víctor Orta as his replacement. "I'm not very objective regarding Víctor, I have a friendship that has lasted over time. I have nothing more to say than what I have said to him. Seeing him sitting next to Fernando makes me happier. Seeing my department behind him, I'm even happier. Monchi is just the one in the photo."

Monchi also wished to make it clear that he did not stop working until the very last moment: "I have called a lot of people to thank them. If anyone has been taken by surprise, it's me. I understand that the Sevilla fans are angry and upset. I would like, although the verdict has been made, to defend myself on two things. One is the manner and timing. In terms of the manner, I don't know what more I could have done. I don't know if there are many directors who have reached agreements with other clubs to pay the clause, over and above what was stipulated in the contract. I don't know how many clubs have already signed three players like Sevilla FC have done. Until Thursday I was talking to agents of players we have to sign. On Friday I sent my plan over, I think it's an interesting one. I didn't stop working. The manner, when someone wants you to leave, will never be good. The second thing is that I'm not leaving for money. I'm going to be paid the same at Aston Villa as I am here. I have more important values than money."

"I have a concept of sporting management in which I need to be a reference point on a daily basis"

Before concluding, he went into detail on what he considers to be the working model to follow at the club: "I have a concept of sporting management in which I need to be a reference point on a daily basis. We had to build a club in which I did everything. I can't keep an eye on whether the bus from Huelva leaves at a certain time or not, but that's what we have created with very limited resources. We have created a sporting management model in which I was the reference point. We haven't done badly, I believe in that Monchi. If Monchi is not allowed to be the reference, then it's not Monchi. I believe in that Monchi because I have arguments to defend them."

He also explained how his departure from the club came about: "I'm not leaving Sevilla by paying my release clause. Sevilla have reached an agreement with Aston Villa, paying more than the clause because they wanted me and considered that I could be important for the project. My pocket thinks the opposite. Everything that Aston Villa have paid I have stopped earning, as I said it is a personal issue, not an economic one".

Finally, he expressed his gratitude for the messages he received from the squad and for being able to say goodbye to what has been his home: "I have received messages from many players wishing me luck. A lot of affection from the squad. I thank the president for the opportunity to say goodbye here, it didn't make sense to do it somewhere else. I finish as I started, I wish it had all been a nightmare. I have tried to defend my image and identity."