Correction: This note was originally published on December 6
If there is a gesture that today represents Alliance Lima, is the smile of Jefferson Farfan. A new year begins and the 10th is the great hope of La Victoria, for what it can give on the field of play and so that it can convince Paolo Guerrero to return to the club.
The two were together at the New Year’s celebration and Paolo Guerrero’s 38th birthday. Childhood companions and soldiers from a thousand battles with the Peruvian team, at some point they hope to have the opportunity to share the Blue and White, since they could never play together in Primera with Alianza Lima.
– What feelings of being champion again with Alianza?
Happy for the goal achieved. All this was achieved thanks to the effort of the group, the unity that was in the establishment, the great work that was in the team. There were many important factors that led us to the final and we can win it.
—This final Alliance fought it more than it played it. He was more prepared for ‘war’. For skilled players, on a good footing, is the effort double?
Actually, yes. Those of us who like to have possession of the ball are a bit complicated, but there are times when we have to fight. This time we had to fight the game and we fought with our heads held high and we were able to get the title, which is the most important thing.
—You saw in that play that Castillo narrowly deflects the title goal from you. It would have been amazing to score there …
Castillo took the ball from me inside the goal. Often happens. Now it’s time to wait soon to be playing with Alianza again and enjoy. Let this beautiful group continue.
—If Alianza didn’t live in 2020, would you still come back? Or did you feel more vindicated by what happened last year?
I already had in mind to return to Alianza. It was already in my head, it was the moment, I wanted to enjoy Alianza and for my family. They were 17 years out of the country and I needed that family warmth.
—There is talk of positive leaders within the campus. How about assuming that role with other players like Barcos and Míguez?
I think we try to be leaders in every way. We are the most relevant for being the oldest. I think that with our experience outside, before each council, the boys have taken it in the best way and that has made the group much stronger and has been important to get the title.
—It shows that your relationship with Barcos is one of friendship that can be seen on and off the field. How was this union of leaders born?
From the first day there was that “crush”, as they say Creole. Barcos has an important tour abroad and we had almost the same thoughts on the field and it was very easy to play or be close.
—A lot of times we talk about the egos of the stars within the teams. How was that worked? How did Carlos Bustos control it?
The most important thing about this group is that there were no stars. If you have noticed all the equipment was putting, there were many variants. If there was no starter, a boy came in and did it very well: Montoya, Gallardo, Valenzuela, starter in the two finals. Canales, Moyano. Players who have shown that they have risen to the occasion and that is important for a club as big as Alianza.
—How does a player in your hierarchy feel who has to accept that he is going to play half an hour of the game?
Thank God, at the moment, it has not been easy. I have had to prepare myself mentally. Never in my career have I been a substitute. I have always played, I have been a starter. Now I have to be in the bank, support the group, encourage them. From my part to give my best every time I go in, to contribute to the team.
– What motivates a player to do the rehabilitation you did? What motivated you to return? Your career has been so successful that if the injury bothered you, no one would criticize you if you decided not to continue.
It has been tough. What is known about my injury is what is known on the outside, they do not experience it as I do. Mentally I have been very strong. Family environment is very important in my life, my children, my mother, the people close to me. That gives me a lot of strength to keep going and not break down.
—The victory in the classic or the 3-2 over Binacional, two totally different rivals. What game was it that told you: “we are here to win”?
I believe both. It was a special moment. I couldn’t play the classic, but the match with Binacional was incredible. In the 90th minute we scored two goals. It is something that makes you think something different, that something is going to happen later.
—In the 2003 title you were totally the protagonist, even with the goal in the final. Today you had less presence, but do you feel it more relevant?
All the titles feel the same, whether I score a goal or not. It was a match to fight, you had to work the match. I lived it the same way I lived many years ago.
—How do you see Alianza as a club? The champion women’s team and a great role in the Libertadores, its U18 finalist and the first champion team
Alianza is doing things well, seriously. The managers have improved the club. Mistakes have been made like everywhere else and now things are being done well and we have to admit. Last year things happened as they did, perhaps due to lack of experience, perhaps it was not in the best way. Now things have gone well in every way, we must admit. It leaves me calm, happy and hopefully next year will be better.
—Paolo Guerrero assures that he will evaluate offers from abroad before thinking about Alianza. Would waiting until 2023 be a long time or do you wait for it to retire together with Blue and White?
And he would be the happiest man if he comes next year, but that is already his decision. I feel like he still wants to be abroad.
—Aguirre, Farfán and Guerrero …
“The Rogue Alliance still has its representatives.” Cornejo, Concha, Mora … there is still that style at home. What is expected of them for the future?
I think they are very talented players. They have shown it in the year, but they can give much more. They have a lot of quality. They will acquire that experience, that game over time. They are young, but they have to get it into their heads that they can give much more. Their goal is to reach the national team and that can open the doors for them to go abroad.
Selection and the World Cup
—Four life-and-death matches in the Playoffs. Does it depend on ourselves, generates more pressure or gives peace of mind?
The group is doing very well, they have been working hard. He is aware of what is being played in the four games, there are going to be four important finals, life or death. We will go for all possible points.
—In League 1 you also play with the weight of the name. In selection it is totally different for that reason guys like Peña, López and Lora himself have entered well. What does that union of generations generate for you?
It is an important generation. There are leading players, with experience, who have played in the World Cup and guys who are starting out who are going down that path. They have all the possibilities and the quality to return to a World Cup and see what a beautiful experience it is to be there.