skip to content
Ivan Ramos, king of goal with a pawn’s heart
Ivan Ramos, king of goal with a pawn’s heart

The Catalan striker is enjoying football at Villarreal C, while at the same time developing a love for chess

When he wears the yellow shirt, Iván Ramos is a persistent and hard-working player. He is supportive and generous in his efforts. He understands football in no other way. Humble and always with a smile on his face, the young Villarreal C player from Lleida displays an exceptional competitive mentality both when he puts on his boots and when he sits in front of a chessboard. In this sport, as in football, the Catalan striker never gives up on anything.

In the game of pawns and kings, Iván Ramos has found one of his great passions besides football. He began to play chess when he was a child, under the watchful eye of his father, who taught him the basic moves. However, it wasn’t until a few months ago when, after playing a lot with his teammates, he decided to take the step of signing up for classes: “It all started because the Villarreal B and C teammates started playing on trips. From then on, I liked it more and more. I found out that there was a chess club in Vila-real and I signed up. I’ve been playing for three months and I’ve learnt a lot”.

Pancho Bonfiglio, Migue Leal and Diego Collado are some of the young talents with whom Iván Ramos plays chess the most. “Since I’ve been going to class, I’ve got no competition”, confesses Iván Ramos, who also admits that he is not the only youth team player who is seriously considering attending chess classes.

For the Catalan striker, football and chess are not so different sports and in some aspects they maintain the same essence: “Football and chess have similarities. When the opponent is attacking you, you have to keep calm and take the opportunity to counterattack. You have to keep calm in many situations and know how to play with your own weapons”.

The José Manuel Llaneza Training Ground, where he arrived at the age of 15, was the place where Iván passed on his love for chess to his teammates. Both his arrival and his adaptation to the club were easy for him: “I could say it was complicated, but it was all perfect. It was like a dream when I arrived. When you arrive here you realise that you have a lot of people working to help you with everything”.

Before arriving in Vila-real, the young player born in Cervera (Lleida), played for Nàstic de Manresa. As an U16 player, he caught the attention of the club’s scouts, as he finished fourth in the race for the top scorer in a competition where there were clubs such as FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol. He had several offers, but the determination of Villarreal CF and the influence of his father were key to signing for the Yellow team: “My father had always told me that they had a good youth academy. Besides, he was also very keen for me to come here”.

His father also instilled in him from a very young age the value of effort, something that the youth player reflects every time he goes out onto the pitch. Iván Ramos defines himself as “a very hard-working and self-sacrificing player”. So much so that he knows that hard work is the only way to success: “If one day we want to make it to the first team we have to do what they do, but multiplied by three”.

Villarreal C dreams of promotion

After landing in the new RFEF Third Division, Villarreal C are dreaming of achieving great things under Jandro Castro in their second season in this category. With more experience and the same talent, Iván Ramos stresses that the team will fight to reach the play-off places: “I think everyone’s idea is to play for promotion. Last year we were younger. It’s almost the same team as last year, but with a year of experience. We have the team to fight for promotion. The division is tough, but we have enough talent.

Although he is fully focused on his team, Iván Ramos recognises that both he and his teammates dream of making their debut in the second division, where Villarreal B are playing this season. Some players from the second reserve team, such as Abraham, Hugo and Rodri, have even had great opportunities under Miguel Álvarez: “The players who have come up have kept up with the tempo and have done well. Most of us who are here are players who could play higher up and if one day Miguel Álvarez needs someone he can trust anyone. It’s my dream to play in the B team and make my debut in professional football”.