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Latin America, a destination little explored by European soccer players

The French André-Pierre Gignac, figure in the Mexican League, and the Italian Daniele De Rossi, from Boca Juniors, have been some of the most recent cases .

Daniele de Rossi and David Silva

It is very common for Latin American players to stand out in Europe and, on the contrary, European players are rarely seen playing in Latin American competitions. / Photo: Football.ua

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: Latinoamérica, un destino poco explorado por futbolistas europeos

Modern soccer is characterized, among other things, by having its epicenter of stars in the old continent due to the level and prestige granted by its leagues, and it is, in fact, the destination that Latin soccer players propose as a goal. It is very common for Latin American players to stand out in Europe and, on the contrary, European players are rarely seen playing in Latin American competitions. This is because it does not have the same prestige as in Europe, also the social and cultural ecosystem is very different.

However, the passion generated by events such as the Argentine Super League, the Brasileirao, the MX League in Mexico and the Copa Libertadores, give a special additive to these lands. That has been seen by players like French striker André-Pierre Gignac, and two world champions: Italian midfielder Daniele de Rossi and forward David Trezeguet, to mention the most recent cases.

Spain in Latin America

The most representative case is that of the great Alfredo Di Stefano, although it must be said that he is a South American who later took Spanish nationality. "La Saeta Rubia" was born in Argentina and took his first steps as a professional in that country with River Plate and Huracán, then at Millonarios de Colombia before giving way to his successful career at Real Madrid.

Another more recent example is that of the Basque Gorka Elustondo. The former Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao player signed for the Liga Águila de Colombia with Atlético Nacional, although he barely played 9 games and 600 minutes. Currently, he works for Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish Second Division.

Another Spanish case is that of Manuel Balda, a 25-year-old striker who stands out with his goals in El Nacional de Seria A in Ecuador, after starting his career in Spanish Second B teams. Two other Iberians passed through the Envigado of Colombia, although less renowned, Manuel Reyes and Juanra García, who had little impact.

In 1992 in the Venezuelan League, the top scorer was a German, Andreas Vogler. He played for Caracas FC in that country until 1994 after wearing the Hertha Berlin uniform in the Bundesliga. In the South American country, he scored 49 goals in three seasons before returning to his nation to close his professional cycle at Spandauer SV in the Second Division.

Gignac breaks the schemes

The French attacker is already almost Mexican since he arrived in that country in 2015 to reinforce the Monterrey Tigres and he is still very happy in those lands after almost six years. A very atypical case, especially since the Frenchman was 29 years old when he arrived in Central America and was still frequently called up in the French national team.

Gignac does not hide his passion for Mexico and showed in a video on Instagram his knowledge of banda music and chile. In detail, the forward uploaded a conversation to Instagram and in it is appreciated when he says "ready?", Then he takes out an uncooked green chili, takes a bite and says "chin ... chin ...".

When he felt the spice, the attacker began to cough, then he began to sing and said "no stains, you can't", while showing that he had gotten chewed, this as one more attempt to interrelate with this culture. In fact, he posted a caption that read "I'm still hot, thank you."

Also read: The toughest defeat in European football in the hands of two Latin Americans

Gignac has accumulated more than 200 games for the team since 2015 and 123 goals, more than all those he made in his four previous teams, Lorient, Pau FC, Toulouse and Marseille, with which he scored 113 overall. No one can doubt that this long passage through Mexico has been the most important stage of his career.

De Rossi fulfills a dream

Daniele De Rossi, a former tireless player in defense and excellent in the ball exit, closed his career at the beginning of 2020 at Boca Juniors in Argentina, a club with which he has been uniformed for six months since July 2019 after a long and successful step. for Roma in Serie A.

De Rossi wanted to take his experience to an unknown land but it was not what was expected for the fans since after a good performance and even adaptation demonstrations just six months after his arrival and after seven games and a single goal he said goodbye to his race and the South American adventure.

The player finished a career of 20 years lived almost entirely in his hometown team, playing 616 games and scoring 63 goals. Although he was not the biggest winner, as he only won three club trophies: two Italian Cup titles and one Italian Super Cup won during Luciano Spalletti's management in 2006-07 and 2007-08, his great success came with the “squadra azzurra ”in Germany 2006 with the world championship.