FC Malaga City U17s forward Aleks Assenov admitted it was an “amazing feeling” to be back playing - as the side were edged out by the #FCMC New York side in Nerja.
Assenov, who is in his first season with FC Malaga City Academy, arrived with top-level experience under his belt - having been scouted by the likes of Watford, Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The 17-year-old was one of the leading scorers in December’s Inter-Academy Tournament and found the net, once again, in the first game since the winter break - and described how privileged the team feel to be playing.
“It was breath-taking, literally,” Assenov said. “I realise that fitness is a really big part of football, but it was an amazing feeling to be back out on the pitch and to be able to play a game.
“I feel like everyone felt the same, they were very happy to be out there - but we still have a lot of work to do and we know what we need to do to improve."
“We’re going to keep working and hopefully in the next game, and going forward, we will be better and better.”
He continued: “I went back to Ukraine for Christmas and I was talking to some coaches and old players and they said that it’s really hard for the leagues to start there and training isn’t really going on anymore.
“It’s tough and I feel like a lot of people are in the same situation all around the world with COVID-19. Everyone here at FC Málaga City are just really happy to be able to play and have these experiences while going through this crazy time we’re all living in.”
FC Malaga City New York, who are based in the Hudson Valley and compete in the USL Academy League, are currently on a three-month tour in Spain and picked up a 2-1 victory in their first match.
It was an entertaining game between two great sides and Assenov believes the New York-based side surprised the U17’s, but also explained how beneficial it was to go up against a top-level team.
“The game went well,” he said. “There were a lot of surprises, to be honest, we didn’t really know what sort of team we’d be going up against.
“The New York team were good, they came out with the victory, but it was a close game and our team played well.
“The style was different and that’s something that a lot of players realised. It’s just a different type of football and when you go against this style of football you also have to be aware of things being done differently and how you need to press and defend etc.
“Playing against this team was a good experience, being able to play against a team from New York when we’ve been going up against teams in Spain. It was a nice change for the team.”
“There were a lot of different type of players on their team and we also have a bunch of new players on our team.
“Being able to see those new players and how they’re developing is something special.”