Pau Torres ready for Champions League and Aston Villa's new challenges

Aston Villa v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Aston Villa v Liverpool FC - Premier League / Copa/GettyImages

Pau Torres is relishing the opportunity to compete in the UEFA Champions League with his new club. The 27-year-old defender, who joined Villa from Villarreal for £31 million last summer, played a pivotal role in helping the team secure a fourth-place finish in the Premier League, earning them a spot in Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 1983.

Torres, who has been capped 24 times by Spain, was a surprising omission from Luis de la Fuente's Euro 2024 squad. However, the break has left him refreshed and ready to attack the new season. Speaking to reporters at Bodymoor Heath, where the team has returned for pre-season training, Torres expressed his satisfaction with his first year in the Premier League and his excitement for the challenges ahead. He told VillaTV,

"We have a tough season in front of us with a great challenge like the Champions League, so we need to be ready and prepare to play in the same way in all the competitions. The Premier League is so important but also tough. During the first months, we will play in the Champions League. We are excited and we want to play against big teams."

Torres, who reached the semi-finals of the Champions League with Villarreal in 2022, is keen to replicate that success with Aston Villa. He emphasised the importance of being prepared for the demanding season ahead, which will see the team compete on multiple fronts.

Aston Villa's pre-season campaign will begin with a friendly against Walsall next Wednesday, followed by a match against Spartak Trnava in Slovakia on 20 July. The team will then head to the United States for a series of friendlies against Columbus Crew, RB Leipzig, and Club America before concluding their preparations with matches against Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund.

The centre back highlighted the significance of these pre-season games in building team cohesion and readiness. He said,

"It's a good moment in the year to prepare for the new season and to spend time with teammates. We need to be competitive in the pre-season."

Reflecting on his first season with Aston Villa, Torres admitted that he needed the holidays after a tough campaign. He enjoyed his summer break, using the time to reflect on his achievements with the club.

The focus is on being competitive and ready for the challenges that lie ahead. The Premier League season is set to kick off on 17 August against West Ham, and Torres and his teammates are determined to make the most of their pre-season preparations.

With the Champions League draw scheduled for 29 August, Aston Villa fans are eagerly anticipating the team's return to Europe's elite competition. Pau Torres, with his experience and enthusiasm, will be at the heart of Villa's defence, ready to take on the best teams in Europe.