Rejection of Lanús: “I already told it, but someone left Lanús and wanted to grasp that he was lying. I was in Independiente, and my father no longer had money to take me to train. They commented on the idea of testing in Lanús because there they helped the players to get to training, with a bus. He takes me to try and I said I was playing as ’10’, but someone on the list beat me to it. The only position that was left was “4”, and of course, nothing to do, I was going up. A disaster. I know that after training they call my father, and he later told me that there were no more tests left and that he had to return the following year. Then I had one in Quilmes, in which this time they did want to recruit me. But they told my father that he had to become a member of the team, so he had to pay, and he said no joke, of course ”.
A lawyer, a key figure in his growth: “He finds out that I was in the village and needed to get out. They help me get out financially, not the club. He took me out of the neighborhood, they bought me a house that was nearby. And with 10/11 years I am going to live abroad. At 13/14 these people have invested a lot of money in me that they gave me per month, a mess happened between them and Independiente that they did not want to recognize them. My father tells me not to go to train anymore and that we would respect the people who bet on us ”.
Signing for Atlético de Madrid and your doubts: “I honestly didn’t want to leave, because I was little, I was 18 years old. I am very familiar, and I knew that if I was going to lose all connection with my family. But in the end my colleagues from Independiente told me that I had to go, financially… I was going to Europe, to Spain. I did not want to at that time. I remember that when I go to sign I go with my Dad and my Mom, and she starts to cry. One from Atleti told him not to cry, that with Skype everything would be easier (laughing). In the end we all understood that it was the best for me ”.
Trip to Europe for the 2nd time and the help of Luciano Galleti upon arrival: “The first time I traveled to Europe was with Argentina’s U-20, at the World Cup in Holland, with Leo Messi. It was as a tourist, but this second when I traveled to Spain it was… Then Galletti told me to go home, since I was alone in a hotel, more boring… I thought, what am I doing here? At that moment the first months I wanted to go back to Argentina. But in the end you adapt to life in Europe ”.
Anecdote from the first months in Madrid with the car: “After 15 days the club gives me a car so that I can go to train. But one of the club with a very nice KIA, more than mine, came to pick me up at the hotel to train, and I asked him to drive it. The bridge that was next to the Calderón, arriving there unconsciously I look at the stadium, and when I look again I collide with an old man, who then came across another car and it was a chain. The one from the club told me to quickly pull back to pretend that it was he who was driving ”.
Reception of teammates at Atlético Madrid: “I had a very good relationship with Fernando Torres, because he got along very well with Pernía, Leo Franco, Maxi Rodríguez… But well. Obviously in the first training sessions you see that they are strong, they kick you … You have to hold on ”.
Rojiblanco stage: “The first year I played little, I came in a lot as a substitute. It was the adaptation, but you always want to play. I was getting hot. The fourth date against Real Madrid and I see that I went to the bench, I was very pissed off. When I saw that ‘El Fenómeno’ started to warm up, the whole Bernabéu applauding… I was amazed, seeing Ronaldo so closely. I had one occasion when I tried to sting the ball at Casillas and sent her to the moon. Then you learn, because anger influences your head. You realize that you have to play as relaxed as possible. Leo Franco also caught me and said ‘Come on, I like that you’re angry. That means you want to play, ‘and he left ”.
Goal with the hand with Atlético de Madrid against Recre: “I gave him with my hand because he did not arrive, he hit me with the stick. I celebrated with the goal and lifted my shirt because Maxi had just injured himself. I was going to be such an asshole to approach the referee and tell him that it was a hand. When I scored a goal I thought the referee saw it. Afterwards, people would whistle at me, that I was a cheater… You had to play the asshole celebrating the goal so that the referee wouldn’t catch you ”.
March to Manchester City: “There were other offers, but I was in the Copa América in 2011. So when the decision ended, my agent told me that I had this club or nothing. I had to go back to training with Atleti when I said back that I wanted to go. I did it because otherwise I was not going to leave, because the offers were being canceled by the club. I am honest and tell things as they are. I made a meeting and agreed on one thing, it is not fulfilled, and the first thing I do is that. I didn’t think about the people at Atlético de Madrid, who could affect them. That he was doing a bad thing to the fans. But hey, I never had a problem with them. The best moments were at the Calderón, crazy. In hot games, it was terrible. “
Arrival at the City and anecdote with Balotelli: “I arrived and was with Zabaleta and Tevez. I didn’t even know how to say hello, at first it was all ‘Okay, okay’… There were Silva, Balotelli, who spoke Spanish. Balotelli was very good, but horny. He scored the goal and I didn’t see what the shirt was wearing (‘Why always me? / Why always me’?). I said look, listen to me, if you’re always in all the newspapers. They took pictures of the car that was badly parked, that the neighbor complained that it was playing music… He also wanted to throw fireworks out the window, it failed and I don’t know if it burned his house. I asked a friend to cut me out of everything he had bundled up. So I came another day and showed it to him. He took everything from me and told me “that’s a lie, the whore who gave birth to you.” But it is not how they think, they judge because it is crazy ”.
About English: “It’s hard for me, it’s hard for me… I understand. Then players who speak Spanish began to come, we were a lot. Only four or five who spoke English. Mancini spoke Spanish to me, then came Pellegrini, Negredo, Javi García, Jesús Navas, Demichelis, Silva, Yaya Touré, Kolarov, Fernandinho… How are you going to learn English if more than half speak Spanish ”.
Experience with Guardiola: “He is very detailed, he analyzes who we are going to play against all the time, the spaces, how they attack… City has improved a lot at the football level. From there, many Premier League teams now try to come out playing from behind as well. Most didn’t usually have the ball all the time, just Manchester United or Arsenal. Not like in the Spanish league ”.
Argentina team and possibility of winning a World Cup: “I’m not here for now, but when I start playing if I do well, I hope they call me. If we don’t think we can win a World Cup, why are we going to go? And yes, we lost the World Cup final, two more of the America’s Cup… It was three years that we lost all the finals, it wasn’t easy, Obviously we wanted to get a title and we were almost done shit. It is to keep trying and as long as the coach continues to trust, continue at it ”.