EXCLUSIVE: Former Sevilla scout on Monchi's impact at Aston Villa, Spain & more

Antonio Fernandez was a scout at Sevilla
Antonio Fernandez was a scout at SevillaSevilla FC
From Sevilla to Valencia, to winning the World Cup with Spain, Antonio Fernandez has long been regarded as among the best talent spotters in modern Spanish football.

Having broken into football as a scout with Sevilla, Fernandez would eventually take charge of international transfers and work alongside sporting director Monchi to help build arguably Sevilla's greatest team.

Fernandez is credited with bringing Daniel Alves to Spain as Sevilla's head of international recruitment, before also being influential in the arrivals of Jlio Baptista, Renato, Adriano Correia, and Luis Fabiano. A UEFA Cup and Super Cup would soon follow.

After a stop at Xerez, Fernandez was named technical director of Valencia and oversaw the additions of Hedwiges Maduro, Manuel Fernandes and ver Banega. Los Che would win the Copa del Rey in 2007.

Such a record eventually saw Fernandez added to Vicente del Bosque's Spain staff as chief scout and analyst. And just as with Sevilla and Valencia, silverware soon followed as Spain won the 2010 World Cup for the first time in their history.

Currently considering his next move, Tribal Football was able to catch up with Fernandez ahead of a planned scouting trip to the U17 Euros.

You've built some incredible teams - and on a limited budget - is there one that you're particularly proud of?

"I couldn't define one experience better than another since they are all enriching and I have fond memories of all of them. Without a doubt, Sevilla marked me a lot in my beginnings, first signings, first title.

"Xerez is my home and that brings extra added pressure. With the national team, I was a world champion and there is nothing greater. I think I had the most difficult time in Valencia, a complicated and turbulent club at times.

"Without a doubt, each signed player contributes something. However, discovering young talents that you see becoming stars is something unique. Clearly in my career two names linked to me will always appear: Dani Alves and Isco."

You mentioned Sevilla, where of course you worked with Monchi...

"Monchi is probably the best sports director in the world and having started with him at the beginning is spectacular. I learned and learned from him, we are great friends and when we work together we understand each other with a simple look. It is unique and special."

Monchi is currently President of Football Operations at Aston Villa
Monchi is currently President of Football Operations at Aston VillaProfimedia

So what about his work at Aston Villa?

"It is his first year and in addition to having had a great campaign, they have been able to shape the club from the sporting and financial aspects. They aspire to a lot and I think that Monchi's contribution is going to be crucial along with Emery for the development of the club in the coming years."

Things aren't always smooth between technical directors and coaches. How have you navigated that relationship during your career?

"I was lucky to work with great technicians. The closeness with them was always great since everyday life leads you to it. I always found similarities between Del Bosque and Pellegrini because of the way they manage groups.

"In the purely competitive field, each one of them with their approach have been excellent technicians. Perhaps the one with whom it was most difficult for me to be close was with Ronald Koeman in Valencia - but there was always great professional respect."

Speaking of Valencia, what have you made of this season?

"Well, this year is much better than last season. I think Baraja and his people are doing a great job and if they let them work, little by little they will recover the place that this club deserves to have on the national and international scene."

And Sevilla? It's been a tough old year, hasn't it?

"Sevilla is not living or going through its best moments. They are complex stages that fortunately can be corrected and football always provides opportunities to reverse situations."

Full LaLiga standings after 37 rounds
Full LaLiga standings after 37 roundsFlashscore

You're clearly very proud to be a World Cup winner. Takes us through that experience...

"Working for the national team is perhaps the greatest thing a professional aspires to. Doing it with a coaching staff led by Vicente del Bosque is something even more special. Those were three wonderful years full of learning and indelible experiences for the rest of your life.

"I believe that the future of Spanish football is guaranteed. It will be very difficult to approach the level of the 2008-2012 generation, but the kids who come push hard and the coaches are increasingly better prepared."

So what about the Euros under Luis de la Fuente?

"For me, there is too much of a rush to make young guys debut. At times you can even disrespect other veteran players capable of continuing to perform at a maximum level. However, Spain, even though it will be very difficult, is always the favourite to be among the best and maybe to win it."

Before we end, with all your success and experience, what's next for Antonio Fernandez?

"I'm watching a lot of football and recovering energy to start again. There's always an interesting challenge that usually arises. Today I have some options but nothing is clear yet. Next week I will be in Cyprus to watch the European Under 17s so as to keep an eye on the coming generation."


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