Opinion: “League 1 had all the symptoms of death, in FPF they were responsible for doing all the wrong things but the fans and players resurrected it”
-When and why did you leave Peru to settle abroad?
I came here 23 years ago, on May 1, 2000. The truth is, I got married in December 1999 in the United States. My intention is to live in Peru as I did for the first 33 years of my life. He is in the programs Panamericana and Radio Ovación. I’m comfortable, I’m fine, I have a job, I have credibility. People recognized my work. But hey, sometimes you have to take risks, get out of your comfort zone, and look for career advancement opportunities. That’s the purpose.
-You started working at a radio station when you were 13 years old. What do you remember from that time, from the beginning?
I started when I was in school, in elementary school. I do this as a hobby because I love recording myself and hearing my own voice. I do it as music first. That’s why I joined Radio Liberty together with Jorge Eduardo Bancayan, to whom I am always grateful because he was the first person who gave me the opportunity to join the station. I experienced an award. They called on the radio, I called, I won, and then I went on the radio to claim my prize.
-Have you always dreamed of becoming a journalist?
I want to be a pediatrician, but I love the world of communication. He gave me a chance and he integrated me into his plans incredibly. So I started rotating because I hadn’t finished school yet. Then I would take the 59 bus around the corner from my house to listen to the radio. He has a show in the afternoon. I stayed there for six months. Then, in the summer, I started working at Radio Miraflores. It was normal before school started, and I only went to record shows twice a week. So I threw myself into it, and a few years later, I changed my intention to become a journalistic pediatrician.
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-You have participated in seven World Cups, from France 98 to Qatar 2022. Which World Cup left the deepest impression on you?
You will always remember the first one. Micky Rospigliosi put together a great Pan Am team in France 98. Mickey, like his father Bojo, is used to doing great things. Every evening, Francisco Maturana and César Luis Menotti would comment around the dinner table on segments about what was happening at the World Cup. Miguel Kompany was also there. I learned a lot from the story of Elejalder Godos. The first World Cup will always be fondly remembered. I had to cover the opening game, the final and big games like Argentina vs Netherlands in Marseille. Then, in 2002, I moved to two different countries, South Korea and Japan, with all the difficulties that come with time zones. and communicated with great figures such as world champion and runner-up Dr. Carlos Bilardo. It was a great learning experience to be narrated and have a world champion coach as the commentator who saw everything coming.
-In the last two World Cups, you have been accompanied by Teófilo Cubillas in Telemundo matches…
Russia in 2018, sitting with Teofilo, looking back at the three games in Peru, seeing the goals scored by Guerrero, Carrillo… It was very satisfying because Cubilas is a Idol.
-Talk about Nene Cubilas. Do you feel like icons like him are not valued in Peru? What does your image look like on the outside?
They say it well: the greatest enemy of a Peruvian is another Peruvian. But not just in sports, but in all fields. With Susana Vacca, Eva Ayllón, Teófilo Cubillas, Hetor Chumpitaz… we don’t value our people. First, having lived here for so many years, interacting and working with so many friends and colleagues from other countries, you see the value of things. It makes you angry, it makes you itchy, and you don’t understand why someone doesn’t value it. We went to the World Cup in Russia with Nene Kubilias. He is a member of FIFA Legends and after three games in Peru Teofilo terminated his contract with us and returned to the United States where he lives, but he told us: see you in the semi-finals. FIFA invited him. So that gives you an idea that we underestimate our people. We have characters who transcend borders on an international level, but they are grossly undervalued.
-What do you think about the national team in your region, Peruvian football? What do they think of us?
I will first tell you how I feel about other leagues in Peru because I had to talk to a lot of colleagues who criticized the national team for having a friendly match against El Salvador, or Honduras. This happens due to the same lack of knowledge as we only see our league and a few leagues from Europe. I don’t think Peruvian football and the national team can see anyone below this man. This bothers me because I know the leagues in El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica and they have similar levels to the Peruvian league. What Ricardo Gareca did was a miracle, an oasis, where instability manifested itself due to the level of the Peruvian league, a competition where there are no substitutes, the club does not play minors, there is no reserve championship… …so the praise from Here is what Gareca did. That’s why everyone – myself included – thinks the biggest mistake FPF made was not renewing the contract of Ricardo Gareca.
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-What are your thoughts on Peru coach Juan Reynoso after the first qualifying game?
To me he seems like a great coach. Be serious, responsible, keep pace with the times, and understand the principles. He triumphed abroad and 23 years later he won the title for Cruz Azul despite problems within the club, which was a pot of crickets. Juan Reynoso did it. I believe Juan will lead this team to great success.
-For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Gareka scored one point in the first four games of qualifying, but he remains in the job. Today, the same statistics are shared by Reynoso’s team. Should Reynoso regain his trust like he did with Gareca?
Scheduling is difficult. In fact, the first six games this year are complicated games. His opponents are the powerful Brazil and the world champion Argentina. I think Reynoso must be given the right measure and inference of innocence. He was criticized when he traveled to Germany to try out a different tactical system in a preparation match but it didn’t work out well in the first half. But what do we think? Can we beat Germany with a four-man squad? I do not believe. He was wrong, yes. But that’s what prep games are for. He hasn’t played like that since, not even against Brazil. I think you have to be patient. Unfortunately, Peru did not renew the contract. They talk about players, but what international experience do they have? They play in our league, but our league is unstable and uncompetitive.
-That’s why 39-year-old Paolo Guerrero is our current starting striker…
Lapadula was injured. And Paul, but he kept playing and kept his pace. What other nine could replace the two? Unfortunately no. Farfan retired. We could name a lot of names, but when push comes to shove, on the pitch, they make no difference.
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– Moving on to another topic: Is Maradona’s version in Mexico ’86 better than Messi’s version in Qatar 2022?
The comparison is very complicated because it’s another kind of football, another style, another speed. I think we have to let everyone have their own time. It’s not worth comparing them. Better to enjoy them. My father met Di Stefano, Pele and Maradona and he always spoke highly of Saeta Rubbia to me. They kicked Maradona to death, they didn’t treat him with the rules and VAR like they treat Messi today. Messi has great things, he is undoubtedly the best player in the world, just like Maradona at the time. And he has also changed in terms of leadership, although not to the level of Diego, but he is obviously outstanding. It’s the best in the world. But going from there to becoming the best of all time is very difficult.
-How much has the emergence of Messi changed the United States?
Messi’s arrival on a sporting level will have a back-and-forth process. Not football, but sports in general in this country. Better than Pele or David Beckham at the time. Because you’re talking about a player who, when he arrives in the United States, is seven months away from winning the World Cup. That said, it’s completely valid. I also compare him to American sports figures such as Michael Jordan in basketball, Tiger Woods in golf, Tony Romo in American football, and Muhammad Ali in boxing. I’m talking to you about many of them being born in this country. In other words, the revolution caused by Messi is incredible. He changed the history of Inter Miami and football here.