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THE SPECIAL STAY. Those of us who are not going to the Cup.

The history of Peruvian football is, at times, too exquisite: Chumpitaz is evoked for his supernaturalness, Meléndez for his elegance, Reynoso for having been so up to par. All those who come later are destined to pass through that filter, as if football were necessarily a factory of robots and as if learning from sport did not depend, also, on natural talent, the minors teacher or the street where you tread. This note is also a mea culpa: journalists dream that all the promises arrive and become posters. And we forget that there are cases, such as that of Alexander Callens Asín (Callao, 29 years old) who have long since met their goals but one does not even count.

That is what the selection is also for: to try the good guys. Its use is not easy and it carries a series of conditions that make it – sometimes – very easy to enter a new piece – the Lapadula case – or very difficult – the Ruidíaz case. Callens He is one of the first, since Under 20. He waited 12 months to return to play an official match with the national team, and all his life to be the starter of the adult team in a America Cup. He played the 90 minutes against the Colombia of Duván, Borja and Muriel, had two interventions that avoided goals and his seriousness suggests that the team won one more center-back. He also did it without getting angry and almost without giving interviews that leave false headlines. He did it from building a career in silence, overshadowed by the flashes of other more media footballers in the position, and from doing the only thing Ricardo Gareca asks as a requirement to be: playing at the highest possible level.

SIGHT: The tears of Alexander Callens after the victory of Peru against Colombia [VIDEO]

Since he left the Boys in 2011 to go to Spain (30 games, one goal), confirmed by a tweet from the best of all Daniel Peredo, the only thing he did was that, play. In the subsidiary of the Real society he completed 86 matches and scored 5 goals. In Numancia it was similar (39 and 3 points), but it was in the MLS, in the New York City, where he has earned a place with his athlete profile: ideal size for a center back (1.87cm), impeccable physical condition and a more than useful experience in the soccer of the USA, which is still viewed with suspicion today by dozens of idlers with megabytes: In training he marked David Villa and in official matches he had to collide with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

CARSON, CA - MAY 11:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy battles Alexander Callens #6 of New York City during the Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against New York City FC at the Dignity Health Sports Park on May 11, 2019 in Carson, California.  NYCFC won the match 2-0  (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – MAY 11: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy battles Alexander Callens #6 of New York City during the Los Angeles Galaxy’s MLS match against New York City FC at the Dignity Health Sports Park on May 11, 2019 in Carson, California. NYCFC won the match 2-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)

Those of us who make origami will never have the back of a boxer. Nor will we know what intimidates. Our discipline is another. A brief tour of the biography of Alexander Callens Anyway, he returns to his neighborhood, San Judas Tadeo in Callao, where the first sport he encountered to save his life was boxing. He was ten, eleven years old, and he went with his friends to the ground floor of the old Telmo Carbajo stadium to learn one of the first lessons that are memorized in the Mar Brava: to be on permanent guard. The box inherited the rigor and although he wanted to be a forward, to take everyone as in the Supercampeones, more than a footballer his family had won an athlete. The next step was the Sport Boys, which was like being on the corner with your friends. In the same way that almost no one applauded his debut in the First Division, he had a chance to go abroad. After that, he went to live in Spain.

The personality is also educated. You learn from the leader of a barra brava or a world champion like Andrea Pirlo. After saying goodbye to Callao, his afternoons in the Pink Youth, Alexander Callens He was blessed to train with a man who paralyzes a nation with his eyes: Andrea Pirlo. “He has eyes on his back. When I first arrived (in New York City), I just said to myself: ‘Give the ball back to me, just give me the ball. Just give me the ball, just give me the ball…’. I learned a lot with him ”.

Just give me the ball. Sunday night, after the 2-1 triumph of Peru against Colombia for the Copa América, Alexander Callens cried. Not out of pity, but like those children who were left without playing in the neighborhood when they alone wanted to kick the ball. Just give me the ball. On Sunday they threw the ball at him and told him to play. Y Callens just played.

MORE OF THE SPECIAL STAY:

  • Peruvian national team: what the Lapadula, Paolo and Jefferson figurines look like in the Panini album
  • Gianluca Lapadula: the story behind the friendship with Christian Cueva in the national team

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