Summary: Beitar Jerusalem - Bnei Sakhnin 1:2 (Sport1)
In about a month and a half Danilo Asperia will be 34 years old, but precisely in these months in Israel he experienced, at least on the numerical level and the enjoyment of football, one of the best periods of his career.
Last week, just before he took off from Colombia to Israel, he took the time to be interviewed and talk about his career - starting from Colombia, through Qatar, Bulgaria, Dubai to Beer Sheva and Bitar Jerusalem today.
Asperia spent the World Cup break with his family in his hometown of Medellin, where he will also return after his career.
Medellin is always associated with the drug cartels, but when Asperia is asked about it, he jumps in: "Today's Medellin is different from what it used to be. There are no more cartels and violence, now it is a tourist city, millions come here and to Colombia in general. The place is safe, not like 20 years ago. The country is under control today, it's amazing. It's not perfect, but everywhere there are problems, big or small. I too, who grew up in the 90s here, had a good childhood. I came from a normal family, I would go to school, play football in the street and after that In an organized group, that's also where my career started."
"Narcos" glorified Pablo Escobar.
"If you already mentioned Escobar, what they showed in 'Narcos' was not real. Although there was violence and a difficult time, but for example I grew up in the 90s in Medellin. There were problems, but I never saw someone kill someone else, it was nothing That you see easily like that on the street, they exaggerated a lot there. In the end, people like Escobar, but many here don't either. He did bad things for the people and the country, we want something different from that. In the series, people think that Escobar was good for the people, but it's really not Like that. It's a bad and dangerous history, today is much better in Medellin and Colombia."
Just what he needed.
Library (Photo: Danny Maron)
He was born in January 1989, a few months before Colombia passed Israel on the way to the World Cup in Italy.
"Yes, I read about the history of this game. Osorriaga, who is now dead, scored the winning goal, we won 0:1 and Israel went 0:0 on the way to the World Cup. There was an amazing team with Higuita, Rincon, Alvarez, Valderrama, Faustino Asperia and many other quality players. This was the most talented and quality generation of Colombian football. This team made people happy, gave people hope, including children like me. People don't understand in what period they played, under what pressure, threats and risks from home, it was almost impossible and they stood up to that pressure." .
Did you admire anyone then?
"Yes, Faustino Asperia. He opened the door for all other players to Europe, started at Parma, after that Newcastle, made history there. Family connection? It could be, the Asperia family is very large in Colombia, we come from the same city and there may be some kind of kinship."
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Asperia searched for himself throughout much of his career.
At a young age he was already in Brazil, in Qatar, he spent years in Argentina, but he made his big breakthrough at the age of 24-25 in the Bulgarian Latex Lovch, in Media Farah for two and a half years.
After them it was sold in January 2016 to Al Ain from the Emirates for 2.5 million euros.
Why was it sold in January?
The Colombian says: "It was in December, there was a derby and we were leading 0:1 from my goal, we got two reds and the owner called the sports director and asked to get off the field. I've never seen anything like this, the sports director entered the field and took us off the field. We were prosecuted and Lytex was relegated to the third division .It was strange, a few months after that the owner bought the biggest team in Bulgaria. I still don't understand if things were done on purpose or not, if it was planned or not, probably we will never know.
"What do we do now? The Bulgarian team wanted a lot of money, it was in the middle of the season, we had just stopped playing and I had to make a decision. For months I had an offer from Bologna, but the club wanted a lot of money and I had to make a decision in January. I returned to Colombia to think and Al Ein was offered I have a contract that you can't say no to, with a lot of money that has set me up in life, a contract more than 10 times what I earned in Bulgaria and at least 5 times what was offered in Italy. I played in Qatar already at the age of 18 and I knew what an Arab country was. I said, 'Let's come for a year or two and return to Europe ', but the money just kept growing and there were no offers from Europe that came close to that. I continued from the Emirates to Saudi Arabia and actually spent 5 years in Arab countries."
Did you have a chance to get an invitation to the national team over the years?
"When I was in Bulgaria I had wonderful years, I was put on the list of the general staff but I was never called up, and once I moved to the Arab countries there was no longer a chance. It doesn't bother me, I don't live it, I would really like it to happen but it wasn't the dream My dream was to be a professional soccer player and succeed."
So how did you get to Israel from the big money in the Arab countries?
"This is a story. About 20 years ago, Sharon Segron, Oren Segron's brother, who today is like my brother, I met him in Colombia, he had business here and he helped me a lot. He was like my second father, from whom I heard about Israeli football and Hapoel Bar Sheva, we saw Israeli football games together, I was interested, even when I was in Bulgaria there was a connection and they tried to bring me to Beer Sheva, but it didn't work out."
You have to give up a lot of money to come from Arab countries to Israel.
"Yes, people don't know that I gave up the contract in Saudi Arabia, a huge contract, just to come to Israel, to return to real football with a crowd and madness. I saw a video of Turner and the crowd, including the crowd in Israel, and I wanted to return to that atmosphere, I wanted to be there and I was ready to lose a lot of money ".
How did you feel when Be'er Sheva did not exercise the option after a year?
"It was disappointing, I did a good job and I waited for the option to be exercised and to try another year and get better, I gave up a lot of things to come here. But after they didn't want to, I said thank you and I decided that I would stay another year in Israel. As soon as Yossi Abuxis called, I immediately said yes. He started talking about it that there were financial problems and I said 'Leave money, I'm coming'. Everyone told me not to come to Beitar, they told me that there was nothing, that they were on the way to liquidation, it didn't interest me, I had to experience this madness again and the Beitar audience agreed with that. I trained with them for a month and signed just two days before the league, I played in the Toto Cup without a contract and I wasn't interested. I don't worry about money now, thank God I earned huge sums in the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, I just wanted to be in Beitar.
For me, Jerusalem is the holiest, most beautiful and most important city in the world, it's a dream come true for me to be there."
"When the owner and people in the club pass in front of you and don't say hello, it's clear to you."
Barkat (Photo: Liron Moldovan)
In the cup final with Beer Sheva against Maccabi Haifa, you had a big miss towards the end.
If you score do you stay in Be'er Sheva?
"It's hard to know, but they gave up the option before. They decided on it, I also felt it energetically with the people at the club, I understood where it was going. When the owner and people at the club pass in front of you and don't say hello, it's clear to you. A winning goal would have changed the That? Maybe, you never know. At least I took a trophy. When I missed the penalty in the final I still knew Glazer would do the job and take it, in all the cup finals I participated in I scored on penalties and we lost, this time it was the other way around."
And how is Beitar? You had an amazing round but the team is at the bottom.
"For me, and not because I play in Beitar and try to flatter myself, the crowd is the best there is.
When we lost the first round 4:1 to Netanya and after that 5:0 to Be'er Sheva everyone stayed to cheer and I was shocked, it made me happy and I realized that I must do everything to make them happy, get the club back on track, put the team together, once we are together things will improve.
Look what happened against Sakhnin, when everyone is together in the team and in the crowd amazing things happen.
After the 1:1 against Sakhnin everyone knew we would score the second, the madness in the stadium won the game, it was impossible to stop it.
You saw that Sakhnin can't stand the pressure of the madness and that's why I'm in Beitar."
Have you ever scored 7 goals in a round?
"Close, not like that. 7 goals in 13 games is a very high rate. Are you saying that in the games I scored we scored 12 points? Amazing, can you feel better than that? There is no greater satisfaction, you make so many people happy and take part in something so big A club like Beitar should be in higher places in the table and I think we will be.
In the beginning it was very difficult, many players did not prepare with us at all and joined on the fly, not all of them were in shape, also in terms of coordination and method.
In the last few games we are better, we understand each other and believe in ourselves, things take time."
"I explain to Shua, you always have to want to show more" (Photo: Danny Maron)
Nicolescu is the 9 you were missing.
"Yes, he fights, runs, jumps, he makes the game easier for us. Jordan Shua plays the 10 and on the wing and knows where to put the ball so that someone can score. I talk to him a lot and explain to him, also to other young players. They always need Wanting to show more. In the last two or three games, Shua has been tremendous - he passes, he runs, he fights, chases defenders when needed, chases full-backs, plays with his back, gives everything he has and it makes the game easier for me. When he's in the right mood, he helps the team a lot, he sees things that no other player sees. He and Lever Cohen have an extraordinary ability to put the ball where they want."
Does Bitar have an option for you?
"There is an option, yes, but in football you never know what will happen tomorrow. I hope to stay at least another year in Beitar, but I learned that in football you must not plan too much.
I've been out of Colombia for more than 10 years and every year I think maybe it's time to go back to the family."
Where did the crocodile movement come from?
"It came from Dubai.
One day, before the Asian Champions League final, our second goalkeeper used to do this all the time in training and he said to me 'if you score tomorrow I have to do it, because you look like a piece of crocodile'.
I scored, I did the movement and since then it has been going on for 6-7 years.
It's special, a bit of a fun celebration, people deserve it, don't they?"
Why do you call everyone in the club "Pappy"?
"Yes, it's from Colombia, everyone's name is Pappy, even if it's not your father, to everyone, I put it in the BTR and everyone repeats This. You have to leave a mark, don't you? What is 'brother'? Pappy is much prettier."
Could end up in Europe.
Rotem Hatuel (Photo: Maor Alxalsi)
I saw that in 2016 you abused an opponent's goalkeeper and he punched you and stepped on you.
"It was funny, because the guy is my friend. It was 0:3 or 0:4 for us, I wanted to score, he closed the nearest corner and I wanted to pass him. He thought I was laughing at him and boxed me, after that he got a red and also stepped on me After the game he apologized, explained that he was under pressure, they were in last place and he conceded a lot of goals that season, I forgave him. He paid for it, was suspended for ten games, was fined $50,000, paid dearly."
As someone who played in Qatar at a young age, is the World Cup there the right choice?
"I played in Qatar at the age of 18, it was difficult as a young man to get there. Regarding the World Cup, I also said in advance that there would be problems. They live in a different world, too many things are not allowed there, too many restrictions. Maybe the fact that they now see people from other cultures will change something. It would be better if they held the World Cup in Colombia or in countries more advanced than Qatar."
By the way, you're a pretty quiet homely type in Beitar. In Beer Sheva there were too many reports about you being on the line.
"Nobody saw me, they just wrote because they heard something."
Maybe it happened because I was with Rotem Hatuel a lot and they decided to put things together, going to parties and things like that.
It really wasn't like that."
Maor Malikson wrote in his book that the person who translated it into English was Rotem Hatuel.
Asperia laughs out loud and says: "That's strong, Rotem the great.
The truth is, his English is slowly improving, after a long time with me he improved a little in English and Spanish, and also in soccer.
He is in an amazing time with Be'er Sheva, last year he was not happy and did not play, now he is showing all his talent and it could also end up in Europe.
May it continue like this."