Aurier has been a fixture in top level European football for the best part of a decade, but here are five things you might not know about the Ivorian.
Villarreal CF have this week made a late addition to their 2021/22 squad, signing free agent Serge Aurier following his departure from English side Tottenham Hotspur.
From his time at Lens, Toulouse, PSG and most recently Tottenham, Aurier has built up a wealth of experience and will help the Yellow Submarine as they compete on multiple fronts this season. Here’s all you need to know about him as he looks to make his mark in LaLiga Santander.
His idol is a LaLiga legend
Playing in LaLiga Santander means Aurier will finally be following in the footsteps of his childhood idol: Roberto Carlos. Though the 28-year-old is a right-back and has also expressed his appreciation for Cafú and Dani Alves, Aurier has stated on many occasion that his favourite player to watch as a kid was the great Roberto Carlos. With the Real Madrid legend now working in Spain as a commentator, some of Aurier’s matches may even be called on TV by the iconic left-back.
He brings captain’s leadership to the table
Aurier will bring even more leadership to the Villarreal dressing room. With a decade of professional football behind him, he’s also the Ivory Coast national team captain. The Ouragahio-born right-back has captained Les Elephants for the past four years and has won international titles with his country, most notably scoring in the shootout in which Ivory Coast defeated Ghana in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final. That’s quite some pedigree.
His quick thinking potentially saved a life on the football field
In a World Cup qualifier between the Ivory Coast and Mali in 2016, Aurier rushed over to help opponent Moussa Doumbia when he suffered an epileptic fit on the pitch. Aurier helped ensure that Doumbia didn’t swallow his tongue, later receiving thanks from the Mali coach Alain Giresse.
He’s tremendously versatile
Serge is primarily a right-back but has played in every defensive position over the course of his career. At Toulouse, he was used almost as frequently at centre-back as he was on the right, while he even played centre-back in the Champions League knockouts for PSG during his time in the French capital. At Tottenham, Aurier also played as a left-back and as a winger on occasion under Mauricio Pochettino. It’ll be interesting to see how Unai Emery uses his new addition.
He compulsively watches his performances back after every match
Unai Emery is known for producing detailed video clips for his players to learn from their past performances and to study upcoming opponents, but Aurier takes this a step further. He has revealed that he watches back his full performance after each game, a post-match habit he has held since his days playing for Toulouse. Back then he would ask his agent to send him the recordings so that he could learn and improve after each appearance.