Mario Hermoso has been one of the revelations of the early La Liga season. Espanyol have been flying high at the start of the season, sitting 5th in the table, only a point off of Real Madrid. Mario Hermoso has been an essential piece to their success at the heart of the backline. His great performances have seen him linked to his former club, Real Madrid, who do have an option to purchase within his current contract.
In an interview with Spanish publication, AS, the center back reiterated his happiness at Espanyol: “There always has to be something to talk about, but the truth is I am very happy here (at Espanyol). I have a fantastic opportunity to continue growing and continue demonstrating the level that I can give. Espanyol has given me the opportunity to compete in the first division, and to fulfill my dream of playing at this level. I will always be grateful to the club, and while I am here, I want to enjoy it to the fullest”.
When pressed further about the Real Madrid rumors, Hermoso stressed the importance of ambition and character—which could be taken in two ways: he does not want to stunt his development by leaving for a big club or he has the ambition to take that next step: “One of the fundamental parts of my personality is my ambition and character. I do not want them to put a ceiling on me and I won’t put a ceiling on my own abilities. No person has the right to put a ceiling on anyone. That ambition and that desire to achieve important things runs deep inside of me” Hermoso stated.
What currently keeps Hermoso motivated is taking on the big boys—Real Madrid, Atletico, and Barcelona. “Wanting to catch the teams that we have ahead of us is something nice and to truly compete with teams like Barcelona, Madrid, and Atletico is magnificent. Our budget may be eight or nine times smaller than them, but to compete and play with them is something that motivates you and keeps you growing” Hermoso concluded.
It is clear that Mario Hermoso has a good head on his shoulders. Throughout his interview with AS, he stressed the importance of growing and developing as a player. Despite the high levels he has already shown this season, the 24-year-old Spanish center back still feels there is room to grow even further. Given the lack of depth at the center back position, it would not be a surprise to see Hermoso given a chance with one Luis Enrique’s next call-ups. Hermoso was linked with a late switch to Madrid in the summer, with Loeptegui potentially asking for a left-footed center back, but the rumor did not gain momentum. It seems the Spanish capital still have their eye on the former youth player and if the good performances continue, a move could be on the table.