Alvaro Negredo: The Beast is hungry again and feasting on goals

Manchester City's new striker found the net 31 times for Seville last season. He already has 12 this term

There are, according to Wikipedia, nine footballers, three wrestlers, one Colombian serial killer and the head of the Sicilian mafia who answer to the name of "The Beast".

The Beast of Vallecas is coming towards me armed with tea and biscuits. Up close, at Manchester City's training ground, Alvaro Negredo is not especially frightening, but Igor Akinfeev, the CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Negredo beat three times in the Champions League on Tuesday night, might answer differently.

Last season Negredo found the net 31 times for Seville. Already this season the tally for City and Spain is 12. The goals are often the same. He finds space in the area, anticipates the cross or the through ball and scores from close range with head or boot. His way of playing is very English; he is what Alan Shearer might have been had he been born in Gijon rather than Gosforth.

His nickname of "La Fiera de Vallecas" actually translates as "The Wild Animal of Vallecas" rather than "The Beast". "You know how it is," he smiles, "your team-mates give you a nickname and then the journalists make the name stick. 'The Beast' – I like that a lot more (than 'the wild animal')."

At least he is not saddled with "The Beauty of the Night", which is what they called Zbigniew Boniek at Juventus.

Vallecas is a fiercely working-class district of Madrid, where Negredo learnt the game alongside his two older brothers, Cesar and Ruben, who play lower-league football in Spain. Alvaro travelled further and higher, first to the local club, Rayo Vallecano, then after an unsuccessful attempt to break through at Real Madrid, Almeira and Seville.

That he should come to England was not a surprise. That it should be Manuel Pellegrini that signed him was. Pellegrini was the man who told him he had no future at the Bernabeu.

"I always knew he had confidence in me because he wanted me when he was in charge at Villarreal and Malaga," said Negredo. "The problem he had with me at Real was that I was very young and fighting for a place in the squad with a lot of world-class players.

"There was Raul, Ronaldo, Benzema, Van Nistelrooy and Higuain and so I really didn't have much of a chance because of the age I was. When Pellegrini sold me, he explained his decision. He said to me: 'Listen, I want you to go to a club where you can keep growing by doing well'.

"He helped me look at my options, so there were no hard feelings. If anything, I am grateful to him – and not just because he brought me to Manchester. He was honest with me, very up front with what he felt I should do. That is all you can ask from a manager."

The array of strikers Manchester City have assembled is almost as daunting as that which confronted him at Real Madrid. He was Seville's undisputed centre-forward. He wore the No 9 shirt for the world champions. Why risk it in a World Cup season?

"I like to set myself challenges," is the reply. "When I was down in Seville, I also had a lot of competition. There was Luis Fabiano, there was Freddie Kanoute. So we are all here, trying to do the best we can, thriving from the competition."

It would have helped that City had already signed Jesus Navas, the man who supplied him with his crosses. When in March Seville destroyed Celta Vigo 4-1 at the Ramon Pizjuan, the sports paper Marca summed it up with the headline "Navas Creates, Negredo Executes".

"We have been together for four years now, so we understand how each other plays," he said of his partner who has yet to match Negredo's impact at the Etihad. "I don't even look to see where he is going to put the ball. I just know instinctively whether he is going to cross to the far post, the near post or in the middle. That kind of simplicity makes it very easy for me."

There is not, in truth, very much of Manchester in Manchester City. Pellegrini did not select a single Englishman to start the club's last two games, although since Norwich and CSKA Moscow were thrashed 7-0 and 5-2 respectively, it was hard to criticise. Spanish is increasingly the language of the club. Could Negredo see La Liga's biggest stars, perhaps even Lionel Messi, coming to England?

"Maybe in two or five years' time he will get bored with La Liga, want a change and come here," he said. "I would recommend it to him. People do paint it a bit black but you know it is not bad at all.

"There are a few things to get used to. The first thing I did was to buy an umbrella and in Seville we eat much, much later, but my family have settled in well and that is really important to me. It is one of the best decisions I have made on a personal and football level.

"The city is not too big. There hasn't been a lot of time to do much wandering around but I have signed a contract for four years so I have a while to find out about Manchester."

Sunderland v Manchester City is on Sky Sports 1, kick-off 2.05

Alvaro Negredo is wearing the new F50 football boots, part of the adidas Samba Collection inspired by Brazil. Visit www.adidas.com or join the conversation @adidasUK #F50 #allinornothing

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Principal Engineer – Biomass

£45000 - £55000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil