"I've landed on my feet in the Premier League with Swansea"
Soccer player Michu on his new life in Wales
The club stores have printed vintage-style t-shirts depicting his goal celebrations, 70 replica match-day shirts bearing his name are sold each day and there is not a single person in Swansea who doesn't know who Miguel Pérez Cuesta, Michu, is. Signed from Rayo Vallecano in the summer, Michu is currently the Premier League's joint-top scorer with Manchester United's Robin van Persie, having netted four goals in three games. In just a month Michu has found a house, learnt to speak English well enough to communicate and has earned the respect of Wales and England, as well as the locker room at Swansea, which plays quick-passing football under the tutelage of Michael Laudrup.
Question. What did Laudrup say to convince you to sign?
Answer. He said he was interested in bringing me in and offered me a good contract, and it was a chance to play in the best league in the world. He didn't have to twist my arm because I'd always liked the Premier League and this type of football suits me. It was great because he was my idol when I was a kid. His philosophy of possession-based play also convinced me.
Q. Does he use the keep-ball training technique a lot?
A. You can note his past, yes. When we do a rondo [a circle of players with one in the middle trying to win the ball] he is by far the best at it. He obviously wants us to play with the ball. But he doesn't talk much; he gives his players freedom. Personally, he told me to play like I always do, as I had last season.
Q. It seems to be working...
A. Yeah, I've landed on my feet in the Premier League. I'm happy because here my characteristics can come to the surface. Games are open, there is a lot of space and, above all, there are more chances.
Q. You sense the fans love you?
A. I don't know. I guess they can see that I try to leave everything on the pitch. Sometimes it goes well, other times no, but I never leave the field without giving my all. The fans sing all the time but what really impresses me is that five minutes before the game and five minutes after it the stadium is full. That really makes you want to give them a show.
Q. Swansea is the only Welsh Premier League team. Do you feel a bit like the Gauls in the Asterix books?
A. A little, yes. The day I signed they told me that the big teams feel uncomfortable in our stadium because the fans get on their backs and because it's rare that they get good results. Being modest maybe gives us more strength.
Q. Do you think in Britain there is more of an attempt to knock the ball about?
A. That's Barça's fault, and the national team. You can see that this type of football brings results. But it's difficult to play like that because those players are the best in the world.
Q. Do you get fouled more for trying to play with the ball?
A. English football is more physical but you end up with bruised legs wherever you play. It's true that you can stick the boot in but players are nobler. There's no play acting and opponents rebuke you. I don't dive. If I complain, it's because I'm hurt.
Q. Is Swansea different to other Premier League clubs?
A. It's a family. There are people who have been here for a long time and they are respected, but it's a small club. Also, there is a rule book and those who break it have to pay a fine that I guess later we'll use to go out for dinner. I had to pay one for arriving late to training one day.