Villarreal legend hails Ibrox - but hopes Spaniards down Rangers

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European Championship winner Marcos Senna has praised Ibrox and Rangers ahead of his club's opening Europa League fixture against the Glasgow club.

The former Villarreal captain and Spanish international suggested that Rangers were one of the bigger names in the tournament, but said that despite a faltering start to the La Liga campaign he hopes that the Yellow Submarine will rise to the occasion.

Marcos Senna made over 350 appearances for the Yellow Submarine (Photo: Getty)

Marcos Senna made over 350 appearances for the Yellow Submarine (Photo: Getty)

The 42-year-old said “The game is a great start for us because they are one of the more famous names in the competition.

“The draw was good because the travelling is pretty straightforward and the weather shouldn’t be too bad when we go to Scotland!

“Rangers are a good team and we have history against them before, of course. We know enough to expect a tough game against them, home and away.

“Villarreal ended last season really well. But this season hasn’t started in the same manner, even though we won our first game of the season at the weekend. It depends which Villarreal turns up.

“I believe that there is a good generation of new players coming into the team and that’s exciting for a club like ours.

“The players want to play in the big stadiums of Europe, like Ibrox. There’s no question of the club taking these games less seriously than La Liga. I know they will want to get off to a good start against Rangers."

Rangers a 'tough opponent'

Now a club ambassador, Marcos Senna faced off against Rangers 12 years ago in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

He recalled the 'tough' tie with fondness: “The season we played Rangers in the Champions League back in 2006 was a good one for us.

“We had finished top of our qualifying group, which contained Manchester United. We played Rangers in the first knockout round but we couldn’t defeat them.

“We drew 2-2 in Scotland then they went ahead in El Madrigal but we equalised and went through on away goals. That was a really strong Rangers team and they were tough opponents.

“After that we beat Inter Milan but lost to Arsenal in the semi-final — they were two very tight games.

“We lost 1-0 in London and couldn’t find a way to score in the return, so they went on to the final.”