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'I'm one of the best wingers in the world' - Villarreal & ex-Bournemouth man Danjuma makes bold claim

9:11 pm AEST 6/4/22
Arnaut Danjuma Villarreal 2021-22
The Dutchman believes he has taken his game to new heights since swapping the Vitality Stadium for El Madrigal

Villarreal star Arnaut Danjuma has boldly claimed that he is "one of the best wingers in the world" based on how he has performed in 2021-22.

Danjuma joined Villarreal from Bournemouth in a £14 million ($18m) deal on August 19, 2021, having been targeted by the Spanish outfit following a stellar Championship campaign at the Vitality Stadium - during which he scored 17 goals.

The 25-year-old has since proven to be a bargain addition to Unai Emery's ranks at El Madrigal, recording 13 goals and four assists in his first 28 appearances, and he now feels he should be considered among the elite performers in his position.

What's been said?

Danjuma is currently preparing with the rest of the Villarreal squad for a huge Champions League quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich, and is excited about the direction his career is heading in.

"If we look at what I’ve done this season it’s quite fair and factual to say I’m among the best wingers in the world,” he told The Guardian when asked to assess his first season in Spain.

“To be the best you need to aim for more, and there’s so much I still want to achieve. I’ve made mistakes so there’s so much for me to develop. I think I’m in a good place at the moment – 25, at Villarreal, playing in the Champions League.

"We’ve got a good team and La Liga is an amazing league. But I’m not done yet. It begins with believing in yourself.”

Danjuma credits Emery for helping him to maximise his potential, as he considers the Spanish head coach to be a shrewd man-manager and an expert tactician.

“Unai was very clear when he explained how I could learn from him,” he said. “With my mentality of trying to be the best every day I am very eager to make sure I get the most out of my career.

"I knew working under Unai would give me a boost because I could understand the game better. He is busy with me on a daily basis and I have a lot of conversations with him about how to better myself.

"He is a strategy mastermind.”

Danjuma on Ronaldo

Danjuma has already appeared in eight Champions League games this season, including Villarreal's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in the group stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo netted a stoppage-time winner for the Red Devils to settle that fixture, but Danjuma fulfilled a long-held dream by playing opposite the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner at one of the biggest stadiums in Europe.

“Old Trafford was a bit personal because I’ve always wanted to play there,” he said. “You just feel the atmosphere. I’ve always been a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, so stepping onto the same pitch as him was a big motivation."

Danjuma added on why he looks up to Ronaldo: "He’s always been an idol for me and it’s not necessarily just his play.

“It’s easy to say he’s scored goals. But the thing that stands out is his intelligence, because how many players are able to adapt from what he’s been to what he is now?

"He was the most enthusiastic player that’s played on the wing and a couple of years later he’s turned into a goal killer. Your intelligence level needs to be of such a high standard to see you need to change your position. It’s insane.”

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