What will be Natxo Insa's cup final ritual?

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Johor Southern Tigers
Find out how Johor Darul Ta'zim's Natxo Insa will prepare for the final showdown against Kedah.

In what is undoubtedly the longest season in Ignacio 'Natxo' Insa's footballing career, he now has a chance to cap 16 months of non-stop football by helping Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) to the Malaysia Cup trophy on Saturday. 

Since Insa began pre-season training with Levante back in July 2016 to moving to JDT in the middle of 2017, it has been a whirlwind year for the 31-year-old who is aiming to get his third winner's medal in the year.

Now firmly one of the key members of Ulisses Morais' JDT side, the final hurdle for Insa before a well-deserved break will be Kedah at Shah Alam Stadium. It has been a smooth transition for the midfielder coming into Malaysian football.

Some footballers have pre-match rituals whether it's the left or right boot to be worn first to motivational songs that they always listened to saying prayers - none of it is relevant to the experienced Insa. What gets him going is drinking in the electric atmosphere that a cup final can generate.

"No....no, I don't have anything special. Just for this kind of special match like a cup final, I prefer not listening to music. When I get to the stadium, I want to feel the atmosphere, the people. Because everything is different. It's more emotional for everybody. I want to be in the moment to get my focus," said Insa in an interview with Goal.

Nerves do kick in for some players when it comes to a big match and it doesn't come bigger than a cup final scenario. Rather than be bogged down by the intensity or the pressure going into a cup final, Insa turns the pressure into a positive factor for him.

"I think it's more like a motivation for me. Because we will play in a nice stadium with full supporters. A lot of people from Johor come to support us. The motivation will be to give them a nice trophy to celebrate on top of being a good match."

"The preparation is a bit different because it's a different match, a special match. You want to control more things than normal. But we prepared very well and we're are very confident," added Insa.

 

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