The goalkeeper spoke ahead of Tuessday's Copa del Rey game against Sporting Gijon
Valencia CF turn their focus to cup competition this week, with a Tuesday encounter against Sporting Gijón. Jaume Domenech is likely to feature in goal, in a fixture that brings back fond memories for the shot stopper: It was against the Asturian side that he made his debut for the first team back in 2015, keeping a clean sheet in a victory for VCF.
Domenech spoke with VCF MEDIA ahead of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 1st leg, to remember the day of his debut.
What did that day mean to you?
"It was a reward for dedicating my whole life to that moment. I'd been working towards debuting for Valencia CF my entire life. It was a game in which everything went perfectly. We scored a goal in the last minute, I was praised by the team, the coach and my goalkeeping coach, and it was an enormous joy.
Have you kept any souvenirs from the game?
I have my shirt and gloves from that day.
There is footage of you at the end of the game, shouting and dedicating the moment to your grandfather. What did he mean to you?
"I always remember him when I step onto the pitch. He was an enormous source of support for me in both my career and my life. He always instiled the values in me that have made me who I am today. When the game finished, it was liberating to have achieved that small objective, and it came into my head to dedicate it to him. It was a shame that he couldn't see me play, because in my worst moments he was there, supporting me and telling me to stay calm and keep working. He was a very important person for me."
Have you watched the game again?
"I haven't. I want to find a special moment or day to stop, watch it and be able to say 'Here's where it all started.' However, for now my aim is to look forward and become a better goalkeeper every day, achieving the many objectives that I still have. I'm an ambitious person, a fighter and with many things still to do on a group and individual level."
This is your fourth season with the first team. How have you changed since your debut?
"I think that I have much more experience now. I can help the players who join Valencia CF, or the younger players, and explain to them what the club means and what the responsibility is here. On a personal level, I think that I'm a more experienced goalkeeper, and that I've improved in every aspect."
The Copa del Rey is an exciting competition.
"It's a competition in which we put all of our focus. You saw that last year, when we just missed out on the final. We're very motivated and we have the desire to get the fans and ourselves excited about the competition. We will always be humble and give 100% in every game, because there is no margin for error."
Despite Sporting being in the Segunda División, it will be a tough game.
"They are an historic club. We are playing away first, and El Molinón is a tough ground to go to. We know how difficult it is and we are going to prepare for the game with the concentration that it requires."
What is your experience of the Centenary year?
"You can imagine the responsibility that one feels this season. It's my boyhood club, I'm a Valencian, I'm a captain and one of the players who has been here the longest. It's very nice and exciting. I like the responsibility. It's nice to form part of Valencia CF history and it's up to us to change the dynamic and give the fans the good season that they deserve. We lost in Vitoria, but we are recharged and excited about having a good second half to the season and advancing in all three competitions."
What is your message to the fans?
"The team are very focused on keeping working. We have never stopped fighting or believeing, even though the results haven't come. This is the Centenary year and the fans want to enjoy it with us. We need to give them as much joy as possible in such an important year."
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