Carlos Mateos Gil |
Sports writing (EFE).- They are the longest-lived goalkeepers but they still have their space. Age is just a number when it comes to getting under the sticks, at least in LaLiga, since there are several goalkeepers who, despite their seniority, are counting on a greater or lesser role in the two highest categories of Spanish football.
Perhaps the most mediatic case is that of Pepe Reina, who returned to Villarreal last summer and at 40 years old is defending the goal of the yellow box as a starter in the league after the departure in the winter market of Argentine Gerónimo Rulli for Ajax.
The Chilean Claudio Bravo (39 years old) also started out with Betis against Barcelona in a relevant scenario such as the Spanish Super Cup played in Saudi Arabia, an achievement that has given continuity in the Copa del Rey against Osasuna and recently in league against Espanyol. In addition, he also completed the Andalusian derbies against Sevilla and Cádiz and the cup match against Ibiza.
He is not the only experienced goalkeeper who has found his place in this latest tournament. The same has happened to Diego López, present against Mollerussa, Atlético Saguntino and Sporting de Gijón. In the fiefdom of the Asturian team he ended the participation of his team and now, at 41 years old, he will try to continue adding league games, where he only formed on the visit to Almería.
Veteran goalkeepers win their place in LaLiga SmartBank
In the silver category, what is happening in Leganés with Asier Riesgo is striking. The Gipuzkoan goalkeeper started the course on the bench, but Dani Jiménez’s injury gave him an opportunity. Since then the team has been in a good moment of results and the coach, Imanol Idiákez, continues to give him confidence despite the fact that his teammate is already recovered.
«The veteran goalkeeper is normally there to help, contribute and from his experience try to help or detect things. I have put it first, in the end this is a team and we are all so that the Lega is as high as possible and plays the best possible role, “he told EFE.
«The years go by, you see things, you have a better perspective on everything, you are more mature. And that makes you contribute more in other cases that are not the pitch. Normally we veterans should have more of that role of helping others in certain situations with the experience we have”, he adds.
For Riesgo, 39, the advanced age in his position is not something rare: «I always believe that they have lasted. I always had Cañizares as a reference, my idol when I was nine or ten years old. And he lasted until he was 41. I have also had teammates like Ricardo at Osasuna, who reached 40. There have always been goalkeepers with those ages ».
«Reina or Diego López are still one step above, at a higher level than is First. I see myself reflected in the fact that we are of a certain age and that it is not easy to endure so many years. We like it, we stay well and contribute; That has allowed us to continue playing », he reasons.
The blue and white goalkeeper is currently the longest-serving player in the category but not the only one aged 35 or over who has played numerous matches this season. Thus, Andrés Fernández has played everything with Huesca in LaLiga Smartbank at his 36th birthday.
‘Pichu’ Cuéllar, the longest-serving goalkeeper at Sporting
For his part, Dani Barrio (35), Cristian Álvarez (37), Manuel Reina (37) and Iván ‘Pichu’ Cuéllar (38) have played to a greater or lesser extent with Burgos, Zaragoza, Málaga and Sporting de Gijón. respectively. In fact, the last of them was recently the longest-lived to dress in rojiblanco with 38 years and 224 days, a record that he has increased after starting later in the first league match with Miguel Ángel Ramírez on the bench against Zaragoza.