Veteran forward Martin Palermo, the oldest member of Diego Maradona's squad, is living out a dream as he trains with Argentina in Pretoria ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The 36-year-old will compete in a FIFA World Cup™ for the first time, having been recalled to the Argentina squad for last year's qualifiers against Brazil and Paraguay, following a nine-year absence from the international scene.
"You cannot compare this to anything I have experienced before," said the Boca Juniors star. To be here is a dream and I am enjoying it to the maximum. To be among the 23 players is a privilege and I have to thank Maradona for giving me this opportunity. I am thankful to be among so many stars in this team."
To be among the 23 players is a privilege and I have to thank Maradona for giving me this opportunity.
Palermo admits he is mesmerised by the skills of his colleagues. "I keep telling my team-mates how amazing they are," he said. "I see what they do in training and they surprise me.It's incredible what (Lionel) Messi does with the ball - it's difficult to describe."
Palermo knows he must do well in training to impress Maradona, with Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Diego Milito all ahead of him in pecking order. "I'm not sure when I will be able to play and give my contribution," he said. "We will see once the tournament starts. But I am here to help my team-mates and when the time comes and they need me, I will be ready."
Argentina are in Group B alongside Greece, South Korea and Nigeria. They begin their 2010 FIFA World Cup™ campaign against Nigeria on Saturday in Johannesburg.