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FIFA 17 Interview: Osmar Ibáñez Barba

We sat down with FC Seoul defender Osmar Ibáñez Barba for a game of FIFA 17 and to ask him a number of questions sent in on Twitter and Facebook. We were inundated with responses, so thank you all for them. Unfortunately, we did not have time to include them all in the video, but Osmar was kind enough to sit down with us after the match and go through some more of the questions you wanted to ask, which are now available below.

This first Tweet comes in from Tim Barnes. He asks, "What's it like playing in the new VAR era?"

It's not too much different but I felt in these two months with VAR, I can feel a little bit stressed with referees. I can see them, they don't know what to do but, on the other hand, I think the players don't complain too much, they just wait. The referee makes the sign and [the players] wait for confirmation. For players, there's not too much difference. Maybe it is a question for a referee. Maybe it is easier for them.

Have you found yourself in a contentious moment asking for a video?

No. We were told if we do this it would be a yellow card. If you ask the referee to check the video it would be a yellow card. So you can say "It was a foul", but you cannot say [about the video]. As soon as they hear "video", they will book you.

It's kind of a smart rule I guess, otherwise everyone would be asking to go to video.

Well when they made new rules, they have to adapt the game. So probably, if they don't change this, there would be many asking for "video, video, video".

I'm personally against video, I think it slows the game down too much. What do you think?

Well, football has changed. But we need a little bit more honesty in the game. We dont need to complain too much just play and show who is better and does better things and has better tactics. That's it. Let the game flow.

Do you think it will eventually help with diving and things like that?

Well I hope this can stop these kind of actions. But I have to say, in my opinion, it can make the referee more [of a] main role in the game, which I don't like as well. In many games, you just go home thinking about the referee was the main person in that stadium and people go to watch football for players, not the referee. Its negative and positive.

This one is from our Paul Neat. What was it like when they told you, you weren't going to be the captain this year?

Well [when I was selected] I thought it was a joke, because we had a meeting in the meeting room. Everyone was seated. Nobody knew what the meeting was about and just the coach said, he'd just decided to choose the captain, and it would be me. And I just turned back to the translator, "What did he say?" and he told me "He said you're the captain." Even he didn't know if it was true or a joke! Then I stand up and say "Thank you coach, and I hope I will do a good job" but it was, after that, really nice. I had some difficult moments, because when we changed the coach, and I'm not blaming the coach, we were going in one direction and then we changed directions. It's not an easy moment to control, to change the coach. Players want to show they can play again. You have to control everybody off of the pitch.

So was that part of the explanation why the manager went with Kwak Tae-hwi this year? Did he tell you that was coming?

He told me in the pre-season but I knew. Last year, the last two months, I knew. I knew this coach wasn't too comfortable with a foreign captain like the former coach. As a captain, I understood. This is not my country, not my house, my home, so I can understand of course. Honestly, I don't care about wearing the captain thing, just I know I will be in the best eleven, I will be in the main group of players, so whoever the captain is, I don't care.

And now you don't have to go over and argue with the refs!

Yeah, I will just go behind in the second line [of players] and watch [laughs]! So, I knew they would come and he [Kwak] is national team player and veteran player, and with how things work in Korea, I knew him and [Park] Chu-young would be the captains. For me, nothing changes. I'm still playing games.

Kind of following up on this is a tweet we had in. You did captain your team to a championship last year. One of the questions we had come in [from The K League Kilt] was, do you think last year's title was a deserved title?

That's a tough one. I cannot say. On the one hand, as it has happened in other leagues in Europe, Jeonbuk should play in the second division. I don't know about all the case and all the trials, but I know that they proved they did something, and it had happened before [with Gyeongnam] so they should be relegated. But if we count the league without Jeonbuk, we were the best team. If we count the league with Jeonbuk, we were not the best team. But this nine points cut happened, whether its deserved or undeserved, I think the answer is whether you agree with the Jeonbuk penalty or not. if you agree, we're champions. If you don't, they're champions.

You can only play the games that are in front of you. Even if Jeonbuk had nine points taken off, they still had a five point lead which they then lost. I always saw it as Jeonbuk lost the title because of this part.

Well, we messed it up first!

When you changed the managers?

Yes, but it wasn't the manager's fault. We didn't control the situation and we were fourteen points different with Jeonbuk. We lost everything there and then we started praying for the penalty [laughs]!

Well, there was five points with six games to play. Jeonbuk still had the lead and threw it away.

We thought the same. We knew about the nine points. We thought it wouldn't be enough for us. I mean Jeonbuk don't drop too many points.

We had a couple of similar tweets here [from Dolsot Dan our own Scott Whitelock]. Who's the most difficult player you've played against and the other one is specific to defend against? So first, who's the most difficult non striker you've had to play against?

Non striker, I had some, not problems, but Korean midfielders are lower and most of them use two legs. For me, it can sometimes be hard to catch up with them on time. For me, [now FC Seoul player] Lee Myung-joo, when he was at Pohang, he was difficult, because he was smart, he plays one-touch and when you go for him, he disappears. I had some problems with that in a few games.

Were you playing as a defender or a midfielder at that point?

Midfield. When I was playing midfield, I have a lot of space all around. And if the players are not tight, there's too much space for one man. When this type of player is around, he is smart and good.

As for the striker. I didn't play too many times against him but Edu, from Jeonbuk, he's tough to play against. Of course, [Kim] Shin-wook, because of his height, but when the ball is on the ground Edu is kind of hard to defend. He is smart, he has technique, and he uses his body really good. He just puts his hand on you and, even though my legs are long, I always try to touch the ball and make players uncomfortable, but he knows how to make distance. So, it's kind of difficult to take the ball from him.

I suppose that explains his longevity then, because you don't have to necessarily be the fastest if you can be the smartest.

Yeh, and then in the box he will score. You cannot give him one metre.

This is the last one, it comes in from Laura Coates on Facebook, would you consider a move to Serie A, to Hellas Verona?

Move to where?! [Laughs]. Ah, here is where the Korean player from Barcelona signed, right? Lee Seung-woo? Well, she can enjoy watching him play there. I think Europe for me is over. I mean, who knows, but five years in Asia closed many doors in Europe.

We'd like to thank Osmar once again for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come and do this interview. If you have not yet seen his valiant attempt to take down our columnist Ryan Walters on FIFA 17, then you can watch the video, as well as hear the answers to other questions, below or by clicking here.

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