20th January 2017. By Edward Stratmann. Although not too many column inches were dedicated towards Sevilla defender Nicolas Pareja following Jorge Sampaoli's side's sensational win over Real Madrid, the 32-year-old's performance was undoubtedly nothing short of exceptional.

In a match where much was justifiably made of Sevilla breaking Madrid's 40 game unbeaten streak and Stevan Jovetic's dramatic stoppage time winner, the players in the less glamorous defensive positions Nicolas Pareja Sevillawere unsurprisingly overlooked.

While this was precisely the case for Pareja, the when Ronaldo dropped deep with his back to goal or received with his body open diagonally, only served to make life even more frustrating for the Madrid hitman.

Despite not being as quick or agile as his adversary, Pareja's mobility is still decent enough, but it didn't really matter here, for his situational intelligence, aerial prowess and hulking strength successfully made up for any of his athletic deficiencies.

His fine relationship with his right back, Mariano, was another highlight of his display. With the pair often required to undertake marking crossovers when Ronaldo ventured out wide and Marcelo drove infield, they did so seamlessly to negate any advantage that
fulfill my desire to renew with Sevilla."

Pareja, who's one of four remaining Sevilla members of the team that have won the last three consecutive Europa League titles, alongside Vitolo, Vicente Iborra and Daniel Carrico, then went on to add what an amazing influence Sampaoli's had on him, even if his high octane tactics, especially at the beginning, made things tough for him.

"Jorge gave me a lot of confidence and that to me made me feel like an important player on the field. He's restored confidence to my game. It's not easy to get back to your level so fast, but I've worked to be 100 percent as soon as possible," he insisted.

He then insightfully added this on his manager's methods: "First it cost us an awful lot, but we corrected some mistakes and the team is now balanced. This is shown by the fact that we have kept the goal to zero in more than 50% of the matches. We've now found the balance inside that attacking soccer Jorge wants."

Although he rarely grabs the headlines, there's no debating what an indispensable commodity Pareja is for Sampaoli. And his latest outstanding, all encompassing defensive masterclass suitably evidenced this.

Licence to Roam - another fantastic place for football news and stories.