Author’s note: if you want to read the Spanish version of the interview, go here.
Nota del autor: si quieren leer la versión en español de la entrevista, vayan para acá.
Adalberto Peñaranda surpassed the expectations that were bestowed upon him in just a couple of months. After leaving Venezuelan football to work his trade at Spain’s elite, many of us Venezuelans believed that the eighteen year old striker would we needing a certain amount of time to adapt, but the reality of the matter is that if there ever was a time to adapt, it was short lived. The kid born at Mérida has been one of the young European sensations at the humble Granada side with notorious performances and by scoring vital goals for his club, making him in the process the youngest player to ever score a double in La Liga –a record that a certain Lionel Messi used to hold. While he was shining for his team, he also earned a signing to Premier League’s Watford FC and already made his debut with Venezuela’s senior National team in the process. Things are looking very well for Peñaranda and yours truly took the liberty to contact his management for an interview where we discussed several topics. I can happily say that Adalberto accepted and answered all my questions in a very friendly manner. I hope you enjoy it.
KT: first of all, thank you so much for agreeing to do the interview, Adalberto, and welcome to La Soledad del Nueve.
AP: thank you for having the interest.
KT: obviously, because of your quick ascension, you have become in one of the new stars of Venezuelan football –first with Deportivo La Guaira at our country and now with Spain’s Granada. Tell me; what was the hardest ordeal in the transition of coming from the Venezuelan league to La Liga, one of the best in the world?
AP: the tactic level has been the hardest part. Playing football at Spain is very different to do it in Venezuela; the sprints and the touches have to be twice as fast and the pressing in the matches is also double.
KT: we have seen you play as a left winger and as a forward. Considering the success that you had in both positions at your club, where do you think you perform at a higher level and why?
AP: I like playing in both positions, really; if I am playing as a left winger I can run at my full back with much more speed and if I’m playing as a forward I have the freedom to attack while receiving major support of the team.
KT: a theme that is very recurring in sports forums and basically any place where La Liga is discussed is the very known economical unbalance that exists between the big clubs like Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético in comparison to the likes of Rayo, Eibar and your Granada side, to name a few. Is the difference palpable on the pitch or is it merely a cliché from the media?
AP: you can tell on the pitch. Great clubs buy great players; that has been like that since always and you can see that on the pitch.
KT: José Ramón Sandoval was the manager that gave your debut at Spanish football and you have mentioned the positive that he had in your development at several occasions. How did you take the news of him getting sacked and has José González’s arrival been a positive influence at a club with such a precarious moment as Granada?
AP: I took the news in a very professional manner. This is football and is a job; I’m very grateful to him for giving me the chance to play with the 1stteam and I will never forget that; and José González is a manager with a good character to guide players, I get along well with him and I understand the way he sets up matches.
KT: a while ago it was announced you’re signing to English league’s Watford. What expectations do you have of the Premier League and of the team managed by Quique Sánchez Flores?
AP: well, I have not even thought about it. Right now I’m playing for Granada and my goal at the moment is to get points with Granada.
KT: Does announcing that you are going to another team in the middle of the current season can be a conflict of interests, considering that the club is fighting for relegation and that you already have your future sorted? Or is it something that the player doesn’t think?
AP: the media thinks about it, but not me.
KT: Can you tell me about you adapting to the life at Spain?
AP: it has been pretty easy; they speak the same language as me, their culture is different, though, but thanks to God I have been treated in the best way since I got here.
KT: how do you see Venezuela’s National team in the upcoming Copa América Centenario, taking into consideration the negative results and all the controversy that has been around the team?
AP: I am positive about it. We are a good team despite the obtained results, but Venezuela has never been a favorite so we’ll have to do what we always do, which is working hard to improve ourselves.
KT: the National Team has been playing for many years now with two forwards, being one of them a much more physical and pivot like one, which is the case of Salomón (Rondón). Can you see yourself playing alongside Rondón as a much more roaming forward or would you prefer playing as a the focal element of the attack?
AP: I cannot decide that; that is the manager’s decision, but I’d do my best work at any given position, without a doubt.
KT: some mandatory questions: Who were your football idols and why?
AP: as a little boy, Ronaldinho, and right now I really like how Neymar plays; they are great players and their mobility all around the pitch is just insane.
KT: what other interests do you have, besides football?
AP: music. I really like listening to music all the time.
KT: the most difficult player you had to face and why?
AP: Messi; you just can’t reach him.
KT: who is the best player at Granada?
AP: I think Rochina is a wonderful player.
KT: the best moment of your career and why?
AP: my first double at La Liga because I broke one of the competition’s historical records.
KT: what are your personal goals in this sport?
AP: to play at a World Cup, win it and put my winner’s medal next to the Champions League’s one.
KT: how are you preparing your English for Watford? Hahaha
AP: I’m at level success (*a running joke at Venezuela because of a TV commercial*).
KT: thank you so much for this extensive interview, Adalberto. Any message you would like to say to your fans and our readers. Where can we follow you?
AP: @Adalbertopr7 at Instagram and Twitter and Adalberto Peñaranda is my fanpage in Facebook. I would like to say to my fans that I’m immensely grateful for your good comments and the support that I have been given in each one of them and that I will keep doing my best to keep giving you joy.
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