Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis has compared Premier League football to rugby, but insists that he loves the speed and aggression of the English game.
The Argentine international, who joined his former Malaga boss Manuel Pelligrini at City prior to the 2013/14 campaign, struggled in his first season in the Premier League, but enjoyed his first taste of the English top flight nonetheless.
"It seems that rugby is closely related to football here," the 33-year-old told Goal.com. "They like this game of knocks, of aggressiveness, and you can see it on the face of the fans, when they cheer and shout. It’s a way of experiencing it and it’s good...
"A kick hurts in England, in Argentina, in Spain or any place - in that sense the league is super strong but also I understand that it’s the way the English interpret football. It’s how they were brought up. It’s what they like, getting kicked and getting up, whistling a player who simulates a foul or stays on the ground."
Demichelis also insists that the fast-paced nature of the Premier League, coupled with the expectation to win the title with City, is the best thing for him even at this late stage of his career.
"Team-mates are always asking me how I manage to carry on at my age with so much enthusiasm and with so many responsibilities," he said. "I always say that, the bigger the challenge, the better I feel...
"Here, where you play 60 games, three or four defeats in a year - which in any other place would not be a lot - here it can make you lose the league, lose titles, lose prestige, so because of this I love this type of challenge."