Ibanez focused on Albion challenge
PABLO Ibanez has put aside any thoughts of earning a recall to the Spanish national team to focus on his Albion career.
But it won't stop him admiring several of his fellow countrymen when he sits down to watch Barcelona host Real Madrid in 'El Clasico' tonight.
Ibanez, who has 24 caps for his country, now also has a fight on his hands to battle his way back into Roberto Di Matteo's starting XI after being replaced by Paul Scharner at centre-half for Saturday's 4-1 win at Everton.
But, with Baggies team-mate Gabriel Tamas acting as an interpreter, he insists he is enjoying life in England on and off the pitch.
"The Spanish national team is very, very good at the moment and always winning," said the former Atletico Madrid ace.
"I would like to play for my country again - but it is very difficult.
"Playing in the Premier League is a big opportunity for me to comeback because the world watches the Premier League.
"But my first priority is West Bromwich Albion and I'm looking to have a good season here.
"The players are very competitive here and I think we can stay in the Premier League a long time."
Ibanez will be backing Barca in the Nou Camp clash as the race for the La Liga title hots up.
"I will be watching the big game in Spain tonight," he added.
"I prefer Barcelona.
"I know a few players from the national team who will be playing in the game.
"It is a massive game in Spain because they are the two teams that always win the league.
"This match is very important.
"I think Barcelona will win the league because they are stronger."
But the 29-year-old defender has revealed he generally likes to take his mind off football when he is away from the training ground.
And he is kept on his toes in the Ibanez household, helping wife Maika looks after their 22-month-old son Adrian and nine-month-old daughter Paula.
"I have bought a house and my two children and my wife are over here living with me," he said.
"In truth, my wife does almost everything!
"They are very important to me because they help me take my mind of football.
"We don't normally speak about football and it helps me relax.
"I like to go shopping or visit the park or indoor play centre with the children."
Ibanez has also thanked the Albion fans for their support in settling in at The Hawthorns.
And he was delighted to earn precious point for them by scoring the equaliser in the 2-2 draw at West Ham earlier this month.
"It was a special moment," he added.
"It was good for the team because we got an important point away.
"The fans follow us in big numbers away and that is very important for us because it makes the team feel stronger.
"In Spain I scored a few goals.
"If I can score goals it is better for the team - but my priority is to stop the opposition scoring."