Víctor Ruiz: The understated defensive stalwart

A rock at the back. At 29 years of age, Víctor Ruiz’s experience and physical prowess give the Yellow Submarine plenty of security in defence. For years, our left-footed centre back has been a solid, well-known presence in the Villarreal back line, frustrating some of the world’s best attackers like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Among the Catalonian’s biggest strengths are his good positioning, ability to dribble out of the back and great vision to pick out his forwards with that sweet left foot of his. All these assets have made him a regular starter in the Yellow Submarine defence since his arrival in July 2015 from Valencia.

“What a player wants is to play, if he can play the most amount of matches possible, and if that can be every match, even better.”

Ruiz was born on 25th January 1989 in San Feliú de Llobregat, a small town located in the province of Barcelona, Spain. He showed a huge interest in football from a young age which led him to join his local team UD Cornellà. Then, his career skyrocketed when the 19-year-old signed for the Espanyol B team. His best qualities, such as marking his opponents tightly and good positioning, earned him a call-up to the first team and he made his debut on 6th December 2009 with Espanyol against Racing Santander. He made 37 appearances in 2009/2010 and the first half of 2010/2011 season, before being sold to Napoli for €6million on a four-and-a-half-year contract (31st January 2011).

The Catalonian did not spent a long time in Italy though, after getting an offer from Valencia in his motherland, he decided immediately to go back to Spain in August 2011. Víctor enjoyed some great moments upon his return to LaLiga, such as a 1–1 draw against Real Madrid at Mestalla and a 3–1 victory at the Sánchez Pizjuan against Sevilla.

After a few successful seasons in Valencia, Víctor signed for the Yellow Submarine in July 2015. During his first day with the ‘groguets’ he underlined how happy and excited he was to take up this new adventure which would definitely contribute greatly to his personal development as a professional footballer, telling AS: “I never saw any doubts in the club even though they might have been right to have them. I wasn’t playing much [at Valencia] and when I did play I wasn’t good and things weren’t easy.”

From that summer, the centre back has been a consistent, key player for the Yellows who very rarely suffers from injury. This is one of many traits that makes him so vital for the Villarreal first team defence. In the 2015/16 season Ruiz won the award for ‘The Healthiest Player’ of the season, as he played the most minutes for the Yellows; a total of 4,330 minutes in LaLiga, UEFA Europa League and Copa del Rey competitions combined.

Víctor has received awards time and time again over the years for his fantastic one-off performances or remarkable consistency throughout entire seasons. He’s no stranger to this though. Going back to when his professional career was proving to be quite promising as a 21-year-old, Ruiz was a member of the Spanish under-21 national team that won the European Championship after defeating Switzerland 2–0. He was destined for success at the highest level.

Undoubtedly, Ruiz’s commitment, excellent physical condition and great ability to play out from the back are the qualities that have made him a regular starter in the Submarine defence since his arrival. Throughout the years he has been a crucial player for his bosses Javi Calleja, Fran Escribá and Marcelino, and will hopefully continue this great from with new manager Luis García.

Rock?
Paper?
Scissors?

We choose Víctor (our rock at the back) every time!

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