2016 is no ordinary year for Club America. The Mexican giants are celebrating their centenary, and would have liked nothing better than a league title to mark the occasion. When that failed to happen, they set their sights on some end-of-year success, with the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 providing them with the perfect opportunity to toast their 100th birthday in style.
With that objective in mind, Las Águilas, who have won the last two CONCACAF Champions League titles, strengthened their squad in the summer transfer window. Among their acquisitions was striker Silvio Romero. In the countdown to his side’s opening match at Japan 2016, he gave an exclusive interview to FIFA.com.
*Expectations are always high at America, which means new signings have to bed in quickly. While Águilas *fans are vociferous in their support, they are also very demanding when it comes to performances on the pitch, with Romero being expected to provide a quick return on the club’s investment. Some even said they wanted to see a bigger name than him at the club, not that it worried him too much. Well aware of what he can do with his feet, *El Chino was confident he could make the move a successful one.
“This is a club that always has to win and fight for titles,” said the 28-year-old, whose previous employers include Instituto de Cordoba, Lanus, Rennes and Jaguares of Mexico. “It’s the centenary this year, but that doesn’t really change things that much. The situation will be the same next year. Everyone’s made me feel very comfortable since I came here and luckily I was able to settle in very quickly.”
Romero has responded to the welcome. An exciting forward with a powerful shot, and a tireless first line of defence, the Argentinian has answered the doubters and earned the love of the fans by scoring ten goals so far in the 2016 Torneo Apertura. “Club America are one of the biggest clubs in Mexico, without question,” he said. “The fact is, I’m very proud to be involved with them and to make my contribution by trying hard, working hard and scoring goals.”
*Japan 2016 will be Romero’s first taste of an international competition. Though he was with Lanus for five seasons, between 2010 and 2015, he missed out on their 2013 Copa Sudamericana campaign, on account of being out on loan to French club Rennes that year.
“I’m not looking at this as a chance to set the record straight,” he explained. “This is a new adventure for me, and it’s totally different to the one three years ago. We need to go out there determined to do better than last year, and we’ll be working hard to make that possible.”
Romero’s team-mates have already briefed him on their experiences at last year’s Club World Cup, where they finished fifth. “They said it was a fantastic experience,” he commented. “Obviously, they felt very down about getting knocked out, because the game slipped out of their grasp in the last few minutes. The lessons have been learned, though, and we’re going to try and have a great tournament now.”
Should they win their quarter-final, the Mexicans will face Real Madrid, a prospect that excites the striker: “It’s a great motivator to have Real Madrid on the horizon, though we need to focus on our first match and not get distracted by the future. So for the moment we’re concentrating totally on Jeonbuk Hyundai.”
The most successful club in Mexico and the CONCACAF region, America are ready to write another exciting page in their glorious history. Romero wants to be part of it and to leave an indelible mark on the club’s annals: “Doing well in this competition would be a wonderful way to end the centenary year. It would be a great gift for us and for the fans who give us so much support.” Having had a huge vote of confidence from the *Águilas *faithful, Romero is determined to repay them with victories and goals.