Señor Marcelo Gallardo is featured in the April (abril) issue of one of South America's biggest sports (deportes) magazines (revistas), El Grafico (The Graphic). Gallardo speaks about his love (amor) for River Plate (the first club he ever played for and a team he brought numerous championships), playing for the Argentine National Team, the decision to move to MLS and numerous other things (cosas). The interview (entrevista) was conducted during pre-season in San Antonio, TX (Tejas).
If you want to pick up your a copy, look for the cover to the right - of course the cover had to feature a Boca player. Oops. At least Marcelo doesn't have terrible hair.
You can see the full, scanned article - en español, of course - via Video & Pics. You can also read the full article - also en español at elgrafico.com. Below are a few excerpts, translated for your reading pleasure. You're welcome.
Who nicknamed you “Muñeco” [doll] and why?
I think it was el Chapa Gustavo Zapata and Hernan Diaz who nicknamed me Muñeco. It was around 1992 when I started training with the First Division because I was the smallest one and had a baby face. Muñequito [little doll], Muñeco, they’d say.
What team did you follow as a kid? And today?
I am an unconditional fan of River – as a kid too. My father wanted me to wear a San Lorenzo jersey and took me to many games to become a fan but that ended when I was 11 years old and I started wearing the River jersey.
If you don’t come back as a player, would you come back to coach River?
If I don’t come back as a player, I would come back as a coach at some point, and if not, I’d find some excuse to come back because I will be a part of River for life and you always want to come back, even if it’s to say hi to the equipment manager.
Why did you decide to go to the U.S. instead of coming back to Argentinean soccer? Wouldn’t you like to play [Copa] Libertadores with San Lorenzo?
First, it was an interesting possibility, an opportunity for growth, where one can experience a new living environment. Secondly, not because San Lorenzo’s offer wasn’t good or that I wasn’t interested in playing the Libertadores but because I stopped and thought: I don’t see myself playing with any jersey other than River’s. I didn’t see myself playing in any other club in Argentina. It’s that simple.
How do you see your stint with the National Team? Do you think you brought something to it?
Yes, in a way I think it could have been better but I don’t regret the pride I felt wearing the National Team’s jersey. I got to play in two World Cups, even though unfortunately I wasn’t in optimal conditions. That obviously complicated things a great deal but in time, having spent eight years on the national team and having been in two World Cups, I value that a lot more now because I was part of the 23 players that represented the country. And that, in a country like mine, full of so many talented soccer players, is something that makes me very proud.
Why did you choose the MLS after playing in a very competitive league in France?
What really motivated me was coming to live a new experience in a place where soccer is developing and growing and has an immense growth potential. And here they noticed me as someone who could come and try to lend my knowledge and experience to the team, which flatters me.
Do you think the MLS will ever be an important league like any in Europe?
I’m still learning and seeing what the league has and wants to have. And without a doubt it has potential, if not to compete directly with the most important in the world, at least to become one where players will want to come. In the future it won’t be only Europe but many will want to come play here, without a doubt.
What has surprised you the most about the MLS?
The intensity you play with. From the outside it may not seem like it and you don’t know much about the level of play... but when you see it you realize several things: the athleticism is incredible, this is absolutely true; American players are good athletes. It’s true, they still have to fix some things on the technical and tactical side, but in time it will happen and they will develop their own soccer school. The organization didn’t surprise me because I expected it to be very well organized and they are. Another thing that caught my attention is that you live in a more natural way, without so many things to concentrate on. From that point of view there is more freedom for a player to balance their professional and individual lives.