“Something changed in my head a few years ago and I was finally able to exploit the talent I knew I had,” said Raul Ruidiaz, reflecting on a time when he was not quite able to make the most of his goalscoring instincts.
The change came when he met Peru coach Ricardo Gareca: “He gave me the confidence I needed to make it at this level.”
La Pulga (‘The Flea’) made his senior international debut in 2011, having embarked on his club career with Universitario de Lima two years earlier. A short but productive spell then followed with Universidad de Chile before a return to Peruvian football in 2013.
The goals continued to flow for Ruidiaz, prompting Ricardo Gareca to comment, on calling him up for the first time in November 2015: “He’s in outstanding form.”
The forward has remained part of the Peru set-up ever since. As both a starter and back-up, he made 12 appearances in the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, scoring one goal in the process. He also top-scored for Monarcas Morelia of Mexico in each of the last two seasons.