The Universidad Europea is a step above the rest.”

Eduardo Álvarez is an Alumni of Physiotherapy at Universidad Europea from 2001. From that moment, he’s been building a stellar career, working with athletes of the likes of Mikel Artera and Santi Cazorla. After several years working as a member of staff at Manchester City with Pep Guardiola, he now works for Real Sociedad as David Silva’s trusted physiotherapist. 

Eduardo Álvarez is an Alumni of Physiotherapy at Universidad Europea from 2001. From that moment, he’s been building a stellar career, working with athletes of the likes of Mikel Artera and Santi Cazorla. After several years working as a member of staff at Manchester City with Pep Guardiola, he now works for Real Sociedad as David Silva’s trusted physiotherapist. 

Please tell us when you studied and which faculty and campus you were at. 

I studied in Madrid at the Villaviciosa de Odón Campus, in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and I did the Bachelor’s Degree in Physiotherapy. I graduated in the year 2000. Although the University now offers the Double Degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences & Physiotherapy, I studied Physio only. 

How was your journey after completing your studies at Universidad Europea until becoming a member of staff at Manchester City? 

It was a long journey. I was lucky that my first job was with who is now the physiotherapist for the Spanish National Team, Lorenzo del Pozo, and with Dr Antonio Maestro. At that time we worked for the Covadonga group in Gijón. I later joined them to work for Isastur Gijón Baloncesto, who played in Spain’s ACB league at the time, which was my first contact with the world of sport. It was a really fun era, because I was able to travel around the whole of Spain. You might say I landed on my feet, I was so lucky. 

I later moved back to my town in Asturias to open a physiotherapy clinic. Since then I’ve been tied to the world of sport, working with both national and international players. 

Now, I’m working in San Sebastián. I’m working for Real Sociedad, as I came here with David Silva when he was signed by this team. The club wanted to hire a new physiotherapist and Silva wanted me to go with him, so we moved after an amazing time at Manchester City. 

Ultimately, it’s been 12 years since I worked with Hércules football players. I remember Manuel Ruz, a severely injured player whose injury I treated. Manuel was a friend of David Silva and I met him there and started to work with him too. It all began with David and it’ll end with him too. 

When Manchester City signed David Silva, I went to see him every month, and I also worked with Arsenal players like Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta. When Pep Guardiola was signed by Manchester City, Arteta became their assistant coach and Dr Cugat, who I also had a good relationship with, also went to work there.  All this led to me becoming part of the Manchester City staff. 

Is your current way of working very different from the way you worked before returning to Spain? 

Everything evolves, and careers in healthcare do so at an especially fast pace. I think the worst thing that can happen in the healthcare field is to live by the mantra of “we’ve always done things this way”. Every year my way of working changes. You need to adapt, take advantage of new technologies and apply them to your everyday work, to try to evolve and not be left behind. In the case of football, while it is a lot of fun, it can be difficult sometimes. 

How do you think the world of Physiotherapy has been impacted by the development of new technologies? 

Everything has changed since I started out. I remember the first time I got an ultrasound machine in the clinic and everyone looked at me as though I were crazy. Nowadays, using ultrasound is totally normal. 

However, I’m someone who believes that the main tool should be your hands: clinical reasoning, active therapy, etc. But there’s no doubt that, thanks to new technologies, today we have tools that we didn’t have years ago. 

Tell us a little more about your work. What do you enjoy the most? What challenges do you face on the daily? Do you have an anecdote you would like to share? 

I’m a very social person. I love interacting with others and I really enjoy it when I treat people while we chat and ask each other things. The connection you create in those situations is very special. In this profession you gain new experiences and friends, which is what I love most about my job. 

Maybe some physiotherapists would be mad at me for saying that, but I think we often believe we have more of a starring role than we actually do, especially with the boom of social media. Our job is about lending a hand. For example, when I was at Manchester City, if you asked what percentage of success each one had, and you added it all up, you got 400%. We must accept that everyone has to lend a hand in their respective roles. And the most wonderful thing about my profession is the power to help people. Whether it’s so that an elite footballer can play every Sunday or so that an 80-year-old woman can have a better quality of life. 

I always remember my University professor Leonardo saying that “often the patient gets better in spite of us”. We have to keep our feet on the ground, know where we can help and contribute. That’s the biggest challenge for me. 

When did you know you wanted to become a physiotherapist? 

I used to play football and did sports. But I once tore my meniscus and I had to go through rehabilitation. I was 17, at that age you’re really impressionable, and it piqued my interest. 

I have a niece who visited the Universidad Europea open day last week, and I get the feeling that nowadays it’s really difficult to know what you want to be. My 14-year-old daughter told me she wants to be a physiotherapist. So I asked her if she wanted to be a physio or just to do what I did. Because the reality is not always about travelling to New York for pre-season training or dealing with elite footballers. Nowadays, following your passion is difficult. Maybe it’s social media’s fault, but now it’s not enough to do something because you like it, it also needs to be something that sells well, and that’s difficult. 

In your case, why did you choose Universidad Europea? 

One of my friends from my town knew someone who worked at Universidad Europea, so we went to visit her. I was so impressed, I saw a totally different concept of university, with spectacular facilities and top-level teaching staff that were more in tune with the current reality, with a more innovative concept. 

My daughter might not know what she wants to study yet, but she knows where she wants to study: at Universidad Europea. I think this university is miles above the rest. 

What values and characteristics do you think it has that have contributed to your professional development? 

It’s contributed towards everything. If it wasn’t for Universidad Europea, I wouldn’t be a physiotherapist today. The University also provided me with a more modern, current perspective of physiotherapy, giving me more career opportunities. I discovered there were many fields other than those I already knew about, lots of branches and specialisations that weren’t viewed as such years ago. 

What is your best memory from Universidad Europea? 

Without a doubt, the friends I made. What a great time I had. I have millions of memories, all of them great. Anyone who comes from far away and integrates into university life will see just how enriching it is. 

When I hear about the University, about the activities that go on now such as the club fair, I think… if the University was spectacular 20 years ago due to what there was at that time, I can’t imagine what it’s like now. There’s a club for everything, with so many interesting things to do. It’s almost like a city. You don’t need to leave the campus to have fun, to have interests and work synergies. 

What advice would you give to those who have just finished their studies and are now going out into the working world? 

I’m not going to tell them to study, nor that they have to be the best. I’d say just have fun, enjoy this time, work hard, of course, and be happy. My time studying was the happiest time of my life, so I’d tell them to make the most of it and do whatever they enjoy doing most.