The only adjective that can used to describe the rise of Mexican Jose Andres Guardado is meteoric. Just turned 21, the left-sided attacking midfielder recently made his debut in Spain's La Liga with Deportivo La Coruna, having first tasted top flight football just two years previously with Atlas in his homeland. Yet in that short space of time, the Guadalajara-born player has appeared at a FIFA World Cup™, a Copa America and a CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Furthermore, his move to the Galician club this summer for a cool seven million euros set a new transfer record in Mexico. With the youngster quickly adapting to Spanish football and continuing to figure prominently in the plans of national team coach Hugo Sanchez, his stock looks set to rise even further. Six weeks into the new season, the player took time out to talk exclusively to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Jose, how are you adapting to life inSpain?
Jose Andres Guardado: Very well. I'm feeling more comfortable in the team all the time, while, off the field, I'm very happy in La Coruna. The quality of life here is very good.
Unfortunately, your new club have not had the best of
starts in the league. What is happening at Deportivo?
We struggled a bit in our early games but we're staying calm. Although we've only five points so far, just three points separate the teams in seventh and 18th place (note: the interview was conducted prior to Sunday's game away at Sevilla, which Depor won 1-0). I'm sure we'll make up ground over the coming games, although we know it won't be easy as we have some very difficult opponents like Sevilla, Valencia and Real Madrid. Still, we hope to be better placed in the table after those games. Good results against those sides would boost our confidence and motivation.
With the ultimate objective of making Depor one of the
league's top sides once more...
Getting Depor back on the road to success is what we're all aiming for. And while this might look a long way off just now, we're still in a transitional phase. There are a lot of youngsters in the squad but, bit by bit, we're growing in self-belief and adapting to what coach Lotina is asking of us. That will help us to play with more confidence and win games.
You had offers to play with several European sides, so what
made you choose Spanish football?
It's the most attractive and attack-minded league in world football, and for me it was extremely important to come straight to Spain. I had offers from other sides who are playing Champions League football and are perhaps doing better than Deportivo at present, but I wanted to come here and I'm happy with my decision.
You have already played at a FIFA World Cup, a Copa America
and a Gold Cup. How have you managed to handle those kind of
pressures at such a young age?
You have to try and approach everything the same way. I've had the good fortune to have played in several major international tournaments, and that's given me a lot of professional maturity for someone of my age. Of course, there are always aspects to improve, and I still have so many things to learn. I try to deal with things with humility and not rest on my laurels, and I still have to progress a great deal more to achieve my many goals.
Short-term, what sort of goals are we talking
At international level, I long to take part in the Olympic Games and take home a medal. With my new club, I'm hoping for a good year and, at the very least, help the team improve on last season's league placing (13th).
What did you learn from your adventure at Germany
It was a very intense experience and one that helped me grow. Above all, I value the chance I got to experience the preparatory phase with the team. I learned how a group is managed and it improved my tactical understanding of the game. All in all, the experience helped me enormously as a professional.
At the last GoldCup,Mexicolost in the final toUSA. Is it a case of your northern neighbours improving
greatly or ofMexicolosing ground?
Football in the USA has improved a lot, borne out by the fact that Mexico are finding it very difficult to go there and win. The final was very circumstantial: we were ahead before a series of errors on our part cost us the game. Still, I believe that performance was not indicative of the level we've been achieving internationally, both at the Copa America and the World Cup.
Has the Mexican national team set-up been very different
since Ricardo Lavolpe made way for Hugo Sanchez?
They are very distinct coaches, with different philosophies and personalities. All we players can do is try to adapt to the tactical schemes of the new coach and win his confidence. Personally, I feel very comfortable with Hugo and am grateful to him for continuing to pick me in the side. However, I also owe a debt of gratitude to Lavolpe, who taught me a lot. I'll always be thankful to him for giving me my chance in the team.
These days, there are more and more Mexican players trying
their luck abroad. What do you put this trend down to?
I think it's partly because attitudes are changing in Mexico, and also because the rest of the world now looks at Mexican football differently. Those of us who have emerged in recent times have proven we're capable of playing in foreign leagues. That realisation is opening doors for those talented and determined youngsters following in our footsteps.