A versatile presence on the right flank of late, Ruben Aguilar is one of the leaders of this Monaco side. At 27, he was even honored with his first international cap on November 11, wearing the jersey of the French team for the first time. It was the result of plenty of hard work for the man from Grenoble, who joined the ranks of GF38 at the age of 12. On the eve of his facing the club where he started his training club tomorrow at the Stade des Alpes (2:45 PM, behind closed doors) in a Round of 64 Coupe de France match, the Rouge et Blancs’ number 26 spoke to the press before the match.
The Coupe de France is a great opportunity to show your abilities tomorrow.
Yes of course, I will do my best if the coach calls on me, as he has done in Ligue 1. I will take every minute that I am given, just like my teammates. The starting eleven will have everything to prove tomorrow, to show what it is capable of.
You have also played as a right midfielder lately, like in Montpellier…
Yes, I can also play higher up the pitch, as a wingback, like I played against Montpellier. It’s a fluid position in terms of defensive placement, I have to be able to help both midfielders. I’m used to playing as a right back. I’m working to be little more versatile in order to be able to have success in another position and to be able to keep progressing. No matter my position, I will give of myself fully whether it be as a fullback or winger.
Do you regret not facing the amateur clubs in the Coupe this year?
It’s sad for them indeed, who get more notice thanks to this Cup. I’ve played in difficult Coupe de France tires because of supporters who were close to the pitch. We are fortunate to be able to play this match, and we have to go as far as possible. A big match awaits us in Grenoble. I remember a difficult match with Montpellier at Pontarlier where we conceded a penalty and a red card, that’s the magic of the Coupe.
You must be happy to come back to Grenoble, no?
Yes, this is where my family lives, and it is a homecoming. But I’m coming back only with the intention of qualifying for the next round and leaving. I am a little frustrated with the pandemic, because I will not be able to see the Grenoble fans. I could have had all my relatives at the stadium as well. Having a good game tomorrow is the most important thing.
Talk to us about AS Monaco’s prowess on set pieces…
We have been working on them since the start of the season. They work well for us. Guillermo is a force in the opponent’s penalty area — he showed this last month by scoring four goals. He has a very good aerial game. It is Robert, the coach’s assistant and brother who takes care of that aspect of the game. He doesn’t talk too much either, but he knows what to do. He observes us a lot, working to improve things, and the tactics go through him.
Is the Coupe de France a bonus?
It’s a fabulous competition, you can’t be calculating and win. There is no home and away match, you have to give your maximum.
You impress with your physical abilities, what’s your secret?
I love to run, I was lucky from a young age to have this ability. Maybe it’s from hiking with my dad (smiles). I’m not calculating my efforts, against Montpellier I asked to come off because I was exhuasted, I gave everything. I don’t know if it’s a gift from nature. I work hard every day, and we do wonderful works with the trainers. The players have progressed on that side of things owe a lot to the staff, that’s for sure.
If the team is successful tomorrow, that would make eight straight wins.
It’s another competition, but every player has to be willing to win all matches. It is important to us to record an eighth straight victory, even if we are not talking about Ligue 1. Tomorrow, we will only be talking about the Coupe de France. Grenoble is a team that will be tought to play; GF38 are undefeated at home this year. They are third in Ligue 2. It will be necessary to be as efficient as possible to hope to pass to the next round.