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Nicolás Otamendi, with Clarín: "We see people happy with this team, that excites us and we enjoy it"


The defender, with a great performance in Qatar, talks about what the players felt at the Monumental party. Will he play in River?


Nicolás Otamendi

, Panama was not another rival in his life.

The Central American team leaves great memories for the Argentine central marker.

It is that, before the Panamanians, he debuted with the albiceleste and celebrated obtaining the World Cup.

Between the two games,

there are almost 16 years apart

and a journey that left marks until reaching the maximum that a footballer can aspire to.

"It's hard to explain, the memories of everything we went through come back to me until we got to the most important thing for a footballer, personally what I'm experiencing with the National Team is very important to me," Otamendi said after the win in

the friendly against Panama and the great celebration in the Monumental.

On May 20, 2009, also in a friendly match, but in Santa Fe and with a National Team made up of local players, a

21-year-old youth Otamendi made his debut with the Argentine shirt

, summoned by no more and no less than

Diego Armando Maradona

, who saw potential in that young defender who already excelled in Vélez.

And what if Otamendi had a hard time in the National Team, in which he went from illusions to blows, until history turned around and reached the top.

He suffered elimination at South Africa 2010

, where he was exposed by playing at right-back in the 4-0 win against Germany;

he was left out of the list for Brazil 2014;

He suffered the two finals lost to Chile for the Copa América in 2015 and 2016 and was part of the disaster in Russia in 2018.

But that -as the song says- is over.

Because the Copa América was won at the Maracana.

Because the Finalissima was achieved by beating Italy at Wembley.

And because the third came.

So, now the Selection is enjoyed.

“Weeks before coming to Argentina I already had the anxiety of being able to enjoy with people,

it was hard for me to sleep, I would wake up at dawn and I couldn't sleep.

And in three hours I had to go to training.

But that's the beauty of being able to enjoy our country, our people, the recognition.

We feel all the fans with us”

, Otamendi told


in the middle of the press conference that he gave in the inner ring of the Monumental.

And he continued talking about the people, with whom these players have a special communion:

“I think that this game was important for the people.

We know the effort they put into getting a ticket.

We were aware that they had sold out quickly, in two hours, and those who were here were lucky enough to enjoy the team.

And there were people who couldn't do it, but who also give us their affection.

It is a sign of affection that we live day by day, we see excited, happy people, from the youngest to the oldest, happy with this team.

And that excites us and we enjoy it

. "

Faced with this situation, Otamendi admitted that it was "complicated" to go out and play with everything that was experienced in the previous one, but

"we made up our minds to continue along the same line even though it was a friendly

. "

They felt that they should leave everything as usual and not relax because of the celebration.

In addition, it is the plan in the continuity of this successful process.

“We were focused, in the same line with which we faced the Copa América and the World Cup.

This selection is commitment and we want to continue in the same line to be able to continue competing and achieving things.

That's the idea

," said the 35-year-old defender.

Otamendi also referred to Messi.

"At one point it seemed that Leo was in training because he had free kicks left and he couldn't score them, like he was playing to hit the crossbar (laughs)... And that's the way it is, sometimes he kicks in and it's a goal in the first round and sometimes no, the good thing is that he keeps trying with the same ambition and wants to continue scoring goals with the national team and bring joy to the people”.

And he added:

“He It is crazy that he has scored 800 goals in his career

From him.

We are happy for what he does for us, and because he wants to continue giving everything ”.

Otamendi shared with Leo -and also with Angel Di María, the three remaining from the old guard- a thousand battles.

And since that distant 2009, he has defended the National Team shirt, the one he enjoys today more than ever after being world champion.

A future tinged with red and white?

Otamendi with the River shirt.

(River Press)

Nicolás Otamendi is a confessed fan of River.

He dreamed more than once of wearing the red band.

And apparently the great chance would be closer than ever.

It is that the central marker's contract with Benfica de Portugal expires in June and he still has not signed the renewal.

“I am a River fan, you already know.

And I am grateful to River.

It is a source of pride that a club of this magnitude praises you in the way they do, I receive a lot of love from the people and it makes me happy

, ”said Otamendi after Argentina's victory against Panama.

And although he remarked that he remains focused on Benfica, where he is competing for both the Portuguese League and the Champions League, in which his club is in the quarterfinals, an instance in which they will face Inter, he did not close the doors on a future tinged with red and white.

He even winked again at the institution of which he is a fan.

"The Monumental was very nice and enjoying it with the National Team is something very good because it can connect with us

," said the defender.

Otamendi's words are framed in a context: when he referred to the "praises" he not only pointed to those he receives from fans through social networks, but also to those of Martín Demichelis and the leadership.

In December, the River coach and former teammate of his at Manchester City and in the National Team, who had begun to tempt him.

"I came out world champion and then I came to River", Micho had sent Otamendi as a public direct message when the World Cup was still in dispute.

On Thursday night, before leaving the Monumental, he threw: "I know Micho, I know him and I am flattered by what he said about me."

After Demichelis, Franco Armani, Otamendi's teammate in the National Team, also tempted him.

"We are going to be waiting for it," he said at his first post-World Cup press conference.

And Nacho Fernández did the same: “There is a world champion that is being talked about who could come.

Let him come, we are waiting for him ”.

And the leadership also does its thing.

On Thursday night, in addition to giving Messi, the former River and Armani shirts, he also gave one to Otamendi.

Yes, Ota took his red band with the number 19 on his back to his house.

And he posed with a beaming smile.

Will it be the jacket that he will wear from July?

This story will continue...

look too

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A municipal employee presented a bogus certificate to go see the National Team, told it on TV and was fired

Lionel Messi has his own "Heroes": FIFA launched "Era el destino", the film of the World Cup in Qatar 2022

Source: clarin

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