Don’t you love it when you turn up at exactly the right time and win three cup finals?
Leicester’s Vicente Iborra could well be the luckiest man in football when you look at the trophies in his cupboard and the amount of time he played in the finals.
Iborra is an expert at winning Europe’s top prizes — despite playing just TWELVE minutes in three massive finals.
Now the Leicester City star wants to add FA Cup glory to his impressive honours list.
Iborra bagged a hat-trick of winners’ medals as La Liga cup specialists Sevilla became the most successful Europa League winners in history — helping the five-time winners to success in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Yet the midfielder seemed to be unlucky on cup final nights — admitting he probably clocked up more kilometres during three triumphant laps of honour than he did on the pitch in those showpieces.
Now the vastly experienced Spaniard, 30, is ready to run himself ragged against Chelsea on Sunday as he targets a Wembley FA Cup semi-final date in his debut season in England.
Yet there is not any shred of bitterness when Iborra reflects on his three Europa League final experiences.
Speaking exclusively to SunSport, Iborra revealed: “I have nothing but happy memories from the Europa League.
“Every final was a positive experience for me because I know the part I played in getting us there.
“When I joined Sevilla I wanted to win trophies and that’s what I achieved.
“We created history in the Europa League and made a lot of people very happy.
“I scored important goals along the way. We wouldn’t have reached two of those finals if I hadn’t scored in big games against tough opponents like Monchengladbach and Villarreal.
“For three amazing years, no one could beat us in the Europa League. But that was down to the success of the team, not individuals.”
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side were stunned this week when Sevilla slayed them at Old Trafford to kill their Champions League ambitions stone dead.
But Iborra knew better than to write off the formidable cup fighters and added: “I have so many great memories.
“These were really important, famous games for us and we beat Benfica, Dnipro and Liverpool in three amazing finals.”
As a defensive midfielder, Iborra was hugely important for Sevilla’s away ties en route to the final but was usually sacrificed for the final itself as attack-minded Unai Emery looked to go on the front foot to win silverware.
He said: “I stayed on the bench for the first success against Benfica, came on for the final few minutes of the second against Dnipro and played for the last three minutes against Liverpool in 2016.”
Now Iborra, who scored in Leicester’s 4-1 win at West Brom last week, hopes some of Sevilla’s cup expertise rubs off him for the Foxes.
And he is even willing to overcome one of his phobias if Claude Puel’s side goes all the way in this competition.
The strapping 6ft 3in star confessed: “I’m a bit of a softie — I’m scared of heights.
“I’ve played in great arenas like the Nou Camp, Vicente Calderon and La Mestalla but I wouldn’t be able to watch games from the top tier there.
“However, I would make a massive effort to get up the steps if it means winning the FA Cup at Wembley in May.”