At 34 years old, the Argentine Matías Dituro (Bigand, 1987) is one of the candidates rookie from The league. His performance is as amazing as his story. In the 2011-2012 season he went unnoticed by the Celtic B and a decade later he returned to Vigoloaned by Catholic University of Chileto appropriate a goal that seemed reserved for goalkeepers trained in To Madroa.
LaLiga is experiencing a parenthesis due to the South American qualifying phase for the World Cup. Does he dream of receiving the call from his national team on upcoming FIFA dates?
Yes, it is clear that it would be a dream for me to have that possibility, either for a break due to knockout games or to play friendlies. Putting on the shirt of my country’s team would be the most beautiful thing that could happen to me at this stage of my career. One works daily trying to do things well in the club that touches me and if he arrives I would be very happy. I also know that there are other goalkeepers who are in a very good moment and who deserve their place in the national team.
How closely do you see that possibility?
I don’t know, I didn’t start to analyze that. I work in my club to do things well and if it arrives it would be a huge happiness. It is the biggest dream of my life. Just thinking about it fills me with happiness.
And with the World Cup just around the corner…
I am excited about having any chance of anything, for a friendly or for any other FIFA date. Yes, the World Cup is close, but I see myself far away.
Is Argentina the top favorite for the title in Qatar?
I don’t know if I would tell you the maximum, but it is in a very good dynamic. A group of players has been formed that you can tell they get along very well and that the coach knew how to handle them very well. When there is that atmosphere within a team, I say this from my own experience, you are closer to achieving your goals and Argentina’s goal is to fight for the World Cup. I see her very well and a candidate.
An asset that works in his favor to receive the call from Argentina: many national team championships are decided on penalty shootouts and you are the world record man in maximum penalties.
In penalties there is a bit of everything: analysis, moments, minute, result… In a tie I always say that there is a very small percentage that a goalkeeper can cover a penalty, but I don’t like to leave that small percentage to chance. I like to study it to the fullest, analyze it. Then you have to be lucky enough to choose the moment well, taking into account what you think.
Have you always been a penalty specialist or is it a recent vocation?
I was lucky to stop quite a few at the clubs I’ve been through. It is something that I have liked a lot since I was little. She touched me like that and I enjoy it.
The strategy used by Celta to defend lateral fouls is striking, with their teammates stuck in the small area. Is it your decision or the coach’s?
El Chacho already did it last year, it’s something that the coaching staff likes on set pieces. We believe that we can be stronger like this and we work on it. He has his pros and cons. You take away from the kickers their references in terms of empty zones and all the defenders are in front of the ball, but there are also many people ahead and any deflection becomes very difficult for the goalkeeper.
Another striking aspect of his game is how much he risks with his feet.
Until I was fourteen I was a field player and I always liked it. Before, I wanted to have more precision because at the beginning of my career they didn’t demand so much short game. I was lucky to have coaches whose game system was based on superiority from the goalkeeper’s departure. The exposure is great, but the teams win a lot when you have an advantage and you can put the most unbalanced players in a heads-up or numerical advantage in attacking zone. There are always mistakes and when we goalkeepers make them it seems like death, but mistakes in passes are made by all field players. Here at Celta we mix it up a bit because we have a striker like Santi who is strong on the first ball and drops many. We vary a bit by seeing what each moment of a match requires.
When you returned to South America after playing for Celta B for a season, did you imagine a second stage in Vigo and as the first team’s first-team goalkeeper?
No, it never crossed my mind. That season was not my best personal moment. I think the conditions were very similar, younger and perhaps with more energy, but the difference is in maturity.
One can think that Celta did not know how to value him and let a future goalkeeper escape. However, I understand that you do not share that point of view.
It is clear that I was not at my best. Psychologically he was not the same goalkeeper that I have been for six or seven years. The change has been a process, a job, which has made me more focused on the games, living in the moment and trying not to move to the future or the past. If I make a mistake it doesn’t affect me, I immediately put it out of my mind and focus on the next move. That is the most difficult thing for a goalkeeper because we spend a lot of time alone. Living with the error is sometimes not easy and that can lead you to continue making mistakes.
“If I make a mistake it doesn’t affect me”
Did you return to Vigo wanting revenge?
No, far from it. Playing in First I wanted to prove to myself that I was qualified for one of the two best leagues in the world. There was no thirst for revenge with the club, I am very grateful, and the challenge is with myself.
At the end of the season, his loan ends.. Would you like to stay?
I am happy and I would like to continue at this level. We’ll see what happens in the future… I don’t like to think much beyond the day to day. Obviously, I would like to because I am happy at the club and my family is happy in the city, but I think it is soon. Hopefully you can give the opportunity to continue in the club.
“Hopefully I can give myself the chance to continue at the club”
Has the club management sent you any offer?
No, at the moment we haven’t talked about anything or at least my representative hasn’t told me anything.
Do you perceive that your performances in LaLiga have a lot of repercussion in Chile?
I always appreciate that affection from the people of Chile, from Católica, who give me enormous affection. I am also very aware of all the games they play and the messages they send me. That remains there, but the next day to continue working and sticking with it because LaLiga is long and we have goals, both collectively and individually.
Celta is in the middle of the classification. Do you look up or down?
We are in an expectant situation that depends on us where we want to aim. I always like to look up. I come from a club with which I have been champion in the last four years. Hopefully we can climb and position ourselves as high as possible.
Has the dressing room already overcome the blow of elimination in the Cup?
We were too excited about the Cup, we had a lot of desire and the illusion of fighting for it. It was a very hard blow that caught us at a strange moment. Without wanting to make excuses, we had many situations that happened to us internally. Now we only have to focus on LaLiga and the requirement must be to look up.
He is a debutante in LaLiga, but he is on his way to 35 years. Do you feel like a veteran in the final stretch of his career or a newcomer with rope for a while?
I like football a lot. I enjoy training and I don’t suffer from it. The years go by for all of us, but they happen to each person and each player differently. I have a challenge with myself: spend 40 playing and try to do it in a good way, not playing for the sake of playing. I take care of myself, train and rest for that. God willing and injuries are with me, I see myself playing for many more years.