Monchi, Sevilla’s sports director, bet heavily this summer on the hiring of Rafa Mir (Cartagena, 24 years old). He decided to face an investment of 16 million euros, the highest of the club in this transfer market, for a footballer who finished his contract next year with the Wolves. The executive saw, however, an opportunity to seize one of the most promising strikers in Spanish football. In Wolfsburg this Wednesday night (9:00 p.m., Movistar Champions League) the first big test has come for Mir, who will start in the Champions League for the second time in his career due to En-Nesyri’s injury for several weeks. Sevilla, after the draw at home against Salzburg (3-3), need to win in Germany to keep up and continue to aspire to the first place in the group, completed by Salzburg itself and Lille, French champions.
“Mir is one of the footballers who has impressed me. He is a very tall boy but he runs a lot. He is a real horse ”, his colleague Papu Gómez tells this newspaper. Both will be headlines in the tough game that awaits Sevilla with Wolfsburg, third in the Bundesliga and training by Mark Van Bommel, former player of Barcelona and Milan among other great teams.
Mir, according to Sevilla coaches, responds to the new profile of powerful forwards and sprinters that flourish in European football. Saving the distances, he is in the wake of attackers like Haaland, sprinters with goals and an enormous power with a great stature (1.90 meters for the Sevilla player). “Beyond the success that sometimes the strikers have and sometimes not, what I value the most is the work. When you work a lot, like Rafa does [Mir], the success comes behind ”, says Julen Lopetegui about the good moment that the forward is going through.
Sevilla have tried to pamper Mir since his arrival. The first detail was of great impact. The forward would play with the number 12, the number worn by Kanouté, one of the attackers with the most reach in the history of the Sevilla entity. “I hope to be up to the task,” said the forward in his presentation, after confessing that the French striker with African roots was one of his favorite attackers in childhood.
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Sevilla want Mir to channel his career at the age of 24 in the capital of Andalusia after a career plagued with transfers. His relationship with the goal was always fruitful. In the Andalusian club he has participated in six games, five in the League and one in the Champions League, but only in one was he a starter, against Valencia. Mir responded with a Vaseline goal after a great pass from Fernando. Against Espanyol, last Saturday, he came out after En-Nesyri’s injury and made it 2-0. In 174 minutes he has scored two goals, one with his right leg and the other with his left. In his debut against Getafe, on matchday two, he was key in Lamela’s winning goal (0-1) after a shot at the post on the last play of the match. Mir averages more than two shots per game.
Rumors have reached Nervión that they place him in the pools of Luis Enrique, national coach, to include him in the list of players who will face the final phase of the Nations League due to the injuries of Álvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno. Spain plays the semifinals against Italy, the European champion. Mir, silver at the Tokyo Olympics, where he was the top scorer with three goals alongside Oyarzabal, has also been an under-21 international 10 times, scoring five goals.