Jesus Navas “learned a lot” from his time at Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola considered to be a coach who “has everything”, but the Sevilla winger is now chasing down La Liga and international goals.
At the age of 33, an experienced performer is back where it all began for him at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
A return to his roots was made in 2017 after four productive years in England which delivered 183 appearances, a Premier League title triumph and two League Cup successes.
Andalusia native Navas initially found life tough away from his homeland, but grew to relish his time in different surroundings and now looks back fondly on his spell at the Etihad Stadium.
He told Goal of that experience: “I had four very good years, not only in football, also personally.
“I learned a lot, I grew up in all aspects and that's something very nice. We won the Premier League the first year, two cups and I am very happy for everything.”
He added on the Catalan tactician: “Very good. As a coach he has everything, he knows how to work with the team and he helped me a lot personally and in football. They are very good people there.”
Navas retraced his steps to Sevilla as a free agent and is currently in the process of chasing down another top-four finish in La Liga.
“We are hoping to achieve important things and hit our remaining targets,” he said.
“We will try to qualify to play in the Champions League, for us that would be really good. Every game is very difficult. There are several teams that are fighting and it's going to be a beautiful battle. We have to do all we can in the last few matches to fight for this.”
Securing a seat at European football’s top table for 2019-20 would aid Sevilla’s cause in the summer transfer window, with the club having recently welcomed Monchi back to a sporting director post.
He enjoyed considerable success during a previous role with the Liga club, before heading to Roma, and is expected to make another important contribution over the coming years.
Navas said of a familiar face: “Very happy to have him back, we know how he works, he is very close to us and he will do good things for the team. He knows this club and that is an advantage that he has, he will help us.”
While Monchi will be looking to make an impact off the field, Navas intends to continue shining on it.
His trophy collection includes World Cup, European Championship, Premier League, Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup honours, but there are still targets for him to hit.
Asked what his goals are at this stage of his career, Navas said: “To continue enjoying each game and try to get a title for Sevilla again, as that would be something very special. In the national team, I want to be there at all times, that for me is a source of great pride.”
Navas has returned to the Spain set-up under Luis Enrique, taking his haul of international caps to 37.
He said of that recall: “It's unique. To play with the national team is the ultimate goal for any player. I have really enjoyed being there again. Seeing old friends again, the confidence that the coach has given me, I only have words of thanks.”
“He's like a brother to me,” Navas said of the 32-year-old defender.
“We have lived many years together in Sevilla, in the national team and now to be with him again is a very special thing.”
Ramos and Navas are hoping to help Spain land more major honours before they walk away from the international fold, with Euro 2020 the next tournament in their sights.
Quizzed on whether a side which swept the board between 2008 and 2012 can return to the top, Navas said: “We have a good team. There are players who are young, who are contributing a lot and the idea of the coach is very clear, what he wants we are showing on the field. We just need time.”