Real Sociedad winger Adnan Januzaj is looking forward to facing his former club Manchester United in the Europa League.
The Belgium international appeared destined to be a star when he broke onto the scene as a United youngster, marking his full debut with a match-winning brace against Sunderland in 2013.
The young attacker eventually fizzled out of promise and endured two disappointed loan spells at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland before leaving Old Trafford for Real Sociedad.
La Real, who signed Januzaj in 2017, take on the Red Devils in the Europa League on Thursday night but due to travel restrictions issued by the Spanish government, Sociedad’s ‘home fixture’ has been moved to Turin, Italy.
“I love United, a lot,” Januzaj told Press Association journalist Simon Peach, as per the Belfast Telegraph. “They’re my favourite club, and even to this day I watch every single game of theirs because I love the club.
“Obviously, when I saw that I would have to play against United, it was a bit of a weird feeling.
“But at the end of the day I want to play them and try to beat them, to show them also what they have missed and stuff like that.”
It will be interesting to see whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fields a strong team, but United also looking to finish as strongly as possible in the Premier League and win the FA Cup.
We should be securing top four in the league rather than relying on the Europa League as a route into the Champions League, but I still have fond memories from winning the competition outright in 2017.
Of course, Januzaj still has friends at United. He moved to the north-west of England aged 15 and it doesn’t surprise us that he has kept in close contact with a few of those still at the club.
“We play PlayStation together so we don’t really talk (then) – but sometimes I tease him a little bit via video call (about this tie) because we are in contact a lot,” Januzaj told UEFA.
“It will be weird (to play against him) because off the pitch we are amazing friends, and we have such good, close contact.
“We have known each other from a young age. We grew up at United together, we’ve gone through a lot of things.
“So having him in front of me – it’s good that we don’t play in the same position!
“I don’t think we will have much contact between each other, but obviously for my part I want to win that game.”
La Real currently sit fifth in La Liga and a very strong start to the campaign. Former Man City playmaker David Silva is another player who will be out to cause United an upset.
“If we beat United, then I think we have a bigger chance – the biggest chance to win the Europa League,” Januzaj added.
“For me, United right now – the United of today – is the toughest opponent in the Europa League that you could get.
“We know we can make everything happen in this Europa League campaign and we have a lot of things to show people.”
It sounds like Sociedad will be going out to prove a point tomorrow night.