At 38, the midfielder enjoys Independiente del Valle, a different team on and off the field. The project of the Ecuadorian club that has its seedbed in Sangolquí, a Spanish coach and ties with Qatar.
When he arrived in Sangolquí, Cristian Pellerano knew the same thing as most Argentines: it was the team that had eliminated River and Boca from a Copa Libertadores. Two years later, the captain of Independiente del Valle says he has never seen anything like it.
“They have things very clear. It is a project, but not a project from the discourse, it is a real project, you see it every day on the premises. There is the real success, in the lower ones. There is a game idea that develops from the youngest to the first team. And beyond the fact that the club reached the final of the Libertadores or that last year we won the South American, it is not moved by the sporting result, it is not the most important thing “, portrays the Argentine who at 38 enjoys a different team on and off the court.
-And what is it that moves it?
-Convictions, maintain a line of play in all divisions. That led Ecuadorian boys to come to try Independiente today. And in the long run it will also generate more fans, that the club grows. The infrastructure that exists here I did not see anywhere.
The school is attached to the high-performance venue in which all categories train and in which around 120 boys between 11 and 18 years old live. 30% of the annual budget is invested in the formation of the inferiors and they have 37 soccer schools scattered throughout Ecuador. Youth that does not study, does not play. Pellerano compares it to his beginnings and, from the final stretch of his career, remembers that last chip that was played when he went to test in Atlanta.
He was 16 years old, they had already released him at River and All Boys. But the tape goes back a bit further and reaches 12 when his mother died and the family was divided. “It was very hard because the three brothers separated. I went to live with an aunt in Belgrano, Hernán (today he plays in Melgar, Peru) with another aunt and the oldest (Daniel, representative of the two soccer players) stayed with a cousin in Palermo in our childhood home. . At that time, football was more than a distraction for me, it was what allowed me not to get derailed, not to fall into temptations ”.
He jumped without problems from one category to the other in the lower River, but played little. They told him that he had quality, that he showed conditions, but that he was too skinny to reach professional football. That is why he assures that the one who played in Atlanta was his last tab. Two buses, two hours one way to Villa Celina and two hours back, every day. And there it started.
He went through Defensores de Belgrano and Nueva Chicago. He made the leap to Racing, he played in Colón, in Arsenal he raised the Suruga Bank Cup in Japan and in Independiente he won the South American. He spent five years in Mexico where he was champion of the Concacaf Champions League with América. Until he reached Sangolquí, 14 kilometers from Quito, a city with an agricultural tradition, in which they made a monument to corn and in which they also plant players.
-Did you find an ideal place for the final stretch of the race?
-I think a place like this is ideal for any moment of the race. But the team’s style of play benefits me a lot. If our game were more physical, if we had to go back and forth all the time, with a long team … there it would be much more complex for my performance.
-How would you define that style?
-For me it is the best way to play football, with short routes, with possession of the ball, with a clear idea of always being the protagonists. And that motivates a player, makes you feel that you are important. It was shown to me that it is the only way to beat the best. There are games that require a higher degree of difficulty, of course. But if I reached a final playing in a way who assures me that by changing or being more cautious I will win it. We don’t go out onto the court and see what happens. It is the result of all movements that we train during the week. We already know what we are going to do, who we are going to face and how we have to play. Then you can win or lose, but with your weapons. No matter what rival we have in front of us, we are going to keep the essence.
-What do you think when you hear that “you have to win anyway”?
-Nonexistent. What is winning anyway? It is an obvious phrase, an empty phrase. Before the final of the South American I heard another similar phrase: “the finals are won.” Yes, of course, we all want to win but for that you generally have to do things better than the rival. If you play worse than the rival, out of 10 times you can win one or two. I don’t want that for my team.
“The team was born very poor,” says Marco Sandoval, one of the founders and former goalkeeper. “It doesn’t have any fans either because it’s a new club. Although he clarifies that he once filled the field. It was in 2016 when he decided to donate all the proceeds from the tickets to the victims of the earthquake that shook the coastal area.