A short Q&A with Uruguay and Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez
The centre back who scored against Ireland on Sunday chatted to Team 33's Raf Diallo on Saturday18:26 Tuesday 6 June 2017, 18:26 6 Jun 2017
On Sunday, Uruguay defender Jose Gimenez scored for his country against Ireland at Aviva Stadium in an international friendly, although the Boys in Green went on to win 3-1.
Before the game, he took the time to chat to me on Newstalk's Team 33 about his career for club and country including playing in a strong Atletico Madrid side and playing alongside
We will also play out an English language interview with his Uruguay team-mate and ex-Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates but here is an English translation of that chat with Gimenez.
In 2013, you moved from Danubio in Uruguay to Atletico Madrid just as they began the journey that took them to the 2014 La Liga title and two Champions League final appearances. When you arrived did you expect such success so quickly?
Moving from Danubio to Atleti was a sudden change but also important for my career and it has been very good, truthfully, because it's a team playing at the very top level. It's been a beautiful experience. The expectations at the club now are always a case of aspiring to achieve the maximum both in the Champions League and in La Liga. The year I arrived we went on to win La Liga and also reach the Champions League final. This was a spark for the club to continue growing. The following year we didn't quite match that but we continue to demand the most from ourselves and it has been important for the club to reach two Champions League finals in three years and it says much about what the club and players have been doing.
Atletico's manager Diego Simeone is a fighter. What is it like working with him?
The last few years have been the best in the club's history and that has a lot to do with the influence of the manager. He has implemented a philosophy in the team day to day and match to match that helps us to achieve our objectives. It's something he has already pressed home to the players and it has caused the club to grow in these 5-6 years that he has been in charge.
Is he the type of manager that uses an Alex Ferguson type hairdryer in the dressing room. Or is he a calmer figure than the one we see on the sideline?
During a match we see the manager's intensity and he connects with the fans. He's a manager that really lives through a game. In the dressing room, he is calm but motivates the players. And when things go wrong, in general he is not the type that gets angry and puts his points across calmly but also tells things as they are.
Uruguay's Jose Gimenez celebrates scoring against Ireland at Aviva Stadium ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry
At Atletico and for Uruguay, you play with one of the world's best defenders, Diego Godin. What is it like to play alongside him?
Diego has taught me a lot and I have him by my side in two teams. Everything he teaches me, I try to take it on board in the best way possible in order to perfect my own qualities and to keep learning and growing as a player.
Playing alongside him is a plus and an opportunity to make the most of.
You play against Luis Suarez at club level but alongside him for Uruguay. When you're facing him, is there a strategy you employ to try and stop him?
Players like Luis are totally different and among the best in the world. If they did the same things all the time, they would be easier to mark. But the qualities these players have - not just Luis but Messi, Neymar and the other elite players - they have an incredible qualities that make them difficult for you to control.
But you study the physical qualities of each player that you face and with that you adapt yourself to the different ways they can attack you.
Gimenez of Atletico de Madrid reacts during the match between Real Madrid CF vs Atletico de Madrid as part of EUFA Champions League at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 10, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images
Uruguay is a small country but has won two World Cups, numerous Copa Americas and also regularly produce players of the quality of Suarez, Cavani, Godin, Forlan, Enzo Francescoli... why do you think Uruguay has been able to punch above its weight so consistently?
It's very difficult to explain "the why" but Uruguayan really live football in a different way to Europeans. From childhood, we are born with a ball at our feet and we play at any given moment from the age of 2 and a half. We have the passion for it in the blood. And from childhood, we sacrifice a lot to achieve our sporting aims and reach the highest level that we dreamed of from a young age. That's why I think Uruguay always aspires to the most possible.
Uruguay is in a tight battle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and in August you have matches against Argentina and Peru. Is there a confidence that you will get over the line in one of the three remaining automatic spots?
As many of my team-mates who have taken part in previous campaigns have told me, it's never easy and this time the points gap is very close between us and the sides around us from second to fifth in the table. There is little to separate us in the table.
I think the South American qualifiers are the hardest in the world because any team can beat the other. The four games to come will be tough but we won't rest on our laurels and will try to achieve our main aim which is to get to the World Cup.
I see you have many tattoos. How many in total?
I think somewhere around 50 (laughs)!
The interview was conducted in Spanish so if you speak the language, you can find it below in audio form as well as on iTunes:
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