“You put it in and I’ll cover it up”, he told his teammates before the penalty shootout. Knowing his virtues, feeling the hero that he is. And he kept his word: saved the first shot. Unfortunately, Pedro Gallese he couldn’t do more. His tentacles did not reach another Australian auction and Peru, after the failures of Luis Advincula and Alex Valera, ran out of tickets to the Qatar 2022 World Cup after losing to Australia.
In hours where easy-going brings out the worst in this society and a few idlers, from the comfort of their sofa, take their cell phones to attack those who would beg them for a photo, a greeting or an autograph; it is fair and necessary to value this generation that made us daydream. To this group of players who took us to a World Cup and made us experience a Copa América final. And among them is Gallese. Or Piero for friends.
We arrived in Qatar thanks to the goals and assists of christian cave, the most decisive man in attack. But also for our goalkeeper, the only one who played the 1620 minutes of the 18 games of the Qualifiers. The one who saved a decisive penalty in Caracas for Peru’s historic victory, the one who closed the doors of Colombia’s goal in Barranquilla for that triumph with a goal by Edison Flores. The one who was sure against Australia in a match in which fear and inaccuracies reigned.
“It’s a pretty tough time. We had the illusion of seeing our flag in a World Cup”he said, still shaken by defeat, Pedro, the goalkeeper with the most appearances in the national team (91; with 30 clean fences). Leader and captain. Because he doesn’t mind taking shots with the smell of a goal from the angle, nor does he wear the tape on his left arm. At 32 years old, at the perfect age for a goalkeeper: still young to reach impossible balls, experienced over the years.
“Pedro is one of those goalkeepers who arouses enthusiasm in the little ones, one of those players who will pave the way for the new generations. It is very important for Peru that there is a goalkeeper like him”recently pointed out Óscar Ibáñez in a exclusive interview with El Comercio. A praise that was not from the goalkeeper coach of the national team towards his goalkeeper, but from one historic goalkeeper to another.
To look forward with Pedro in the arch
The pain is immense, almost the last thing you want to do is think about what is coming. But it is a duty to look forward. The Qatar World Cup will be played between November and December, but it is very likely that the Qualifiers for the next World Cup start in March 2023. That is, right there, in less than a year. There is no time for eternal regrets.
With the majority in base three, we are surely nearing the end of this generation. And it is time to look back, to those who have been rowing to get a place in the selection. But, beyond deciding who will come or go, it must be more than clear that Pedro Gallese is the first to be the basis of whatever comes. With him in the goal, there is plenty of security.
Australia didn’t get much. In fact, he had just two clear shots on goal. But those two shots that could have ended in a goal were saved splendidly by Gallese.
Teams are assembled from the back to the front, some technicians say. And yes, the attackers win you games, even championships. But the goalkeepers, the Pedro GalleseThey make sure you don’t lose them. From there you already have a certain advantage.
“I would like him to stay. He is a coach who has taught us a lot, who has changed the mentality of the players”, said our captain about the continuity of Ricardo Gareca. Today, despite the defeat, all of Peru wants the “Tiger” to stay. And with him, Gallese, his first squire.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.