His father wanted him to practice baseball, but he liked it so little that he cried… And he ended up playing regularly in the yankee stadium. The Manchester City He tied him up very young, but he has been going around for years without a fixed destination. Soccer took him away from a dangerous life, but it offered him other temptations. This is the trajectory of yangel herrera (Guaira, Venezuela07-01-1998).
I’m going through Huescashone in the Grenadelanded on the Spanish after a summer marked by a tibia fracture in the America Cup and dreams of settling once and for all in a team this summer. in playing games of Champions as the semi-final of their citizens against him real Madrid. But before all this, and it’s not bad at all, he wants to sit down at the Bernabeu. Unlike his partner Thomas Rauldoes not even sign the tie, which would give the title of League to the whites. He goes strong, in his conversation with ACE.
As a Manchester City-owned player, did you enjoy or suffer from the Champions League match against Real Madrid?
It was a match. He was very clear, City was far superior to Madrid, which even so came out of England very well to go to the Bernabéu with all the confidence. And we already know how they become strong there in the Champions…
Is the open tie the best context to visit the Bernabéu?
It’s an ideal scenario for us to go to the Bernabéu with Madrid thinking about City and with the Champions League semi-final yet to be decided. Obviously, Madrid is always Madrid, and more so at home, but it suits us.
“City was far superior to Madrid, which still came out very well (…) It’s an ideal setting for us”
Having the League title so close, without the obligation of having to win for it to be snatched away, can you mislead them?
His mentality is to always want to win. It is true that they have practically done it, but they have the opportunity to certify it this weekend, and the sooner they close it, the calmer they will be. It would give them a point of confidence in view of the tie. But we are up front, we are the reverse of City’s coin, we see that they have the Champions League on Wednesday and that we have a unique opportunity.
One of City’s standouts was Kevin De Bruyne. Is it your reference?
I pay a lot of attention to him. He plays in the position in which I like to play and he is the prototype of the ideal footballer: he has the last pass, he hits with both legs, he is strong, he reaches both areas… It is wonderful to watch him play.
Does the departure of another midfielder, Fernandinho, give you hope of finishing once and for all at City?
I won’t know that until the end of the season, but we’ll see. It would be pretty nice. I have tried to do things in the best way to be able to opt for great challenges in the summer.
When you see City-Madrid in the Champions League, do you think you could be there?
Yes, of course. I dream of being on those stages, of playing Champions, knockout rounds. I hope one day I can get it.
Do you miss a certain stability in your career, changing residence almost every year?
Very much. It’s what I want most today. Settle into a team and be calm. These dates arrive and you are already with that uncertainty of where you will be. That wears out a bit. I’ve been at it for several years, what I’m looking for this year is to be able to settle in a team.
Is a second year at Espanyol a real possibility, as happened at Granada?
Well, very soon everything will start to move and then we will know exactly what can happen…
What did happen, in 2017, is that City saw him playing the South American U-20 with Venezuela and signed him.
I change my life. I was playing in my country and suddenly they signed me and sent me to New York City. It was a big leap for me at that time because it is difficult to leave Venezuela and even more so with a project as important as the one that was presented to me. So far it has gone well, I have been able to settle in Europe.
Gone are the days when your father wanted you to play baseball but you cried…
More than once. Where I was born (La Guaira), baseball was the king of sports, but as a result of my parents’ separation I went to live in a city where everything was soccer (Maturín), and I saw it differently.
Anyway, it ended up in Yankee Stadium, more than baseball impossible.
(Laughs) Yes, it’s true, I hadn’t realized it.
How do you live alone when you are 14 years old?
It served me well. He lived with some classmates, and walking alone at that age forges a different character, with experiences that give you a lot of learning.
Was he isolated from a very complex environment, from youth friends who ended badly?
I left behind a dangerous environment, but I also had to adapt and decide which friends to make, who to approach, because there are temptations everywhere.
Do you consider that football has saved your life?
Yes, I can say that yes, football has saved my life.
In New York City he took away the ownership of Andrea Pirlo. Did you precipitate his withdrawal?
I think not (laughs). I enjoyed that year that I played with him, it was an honor with all the admiration one can feel for players of such world stature.
He also coincided with David Villa. Are you still in contact?
We keep the relationship. He impressed me a lot as a human being. I knew his quality as a footballer, his career, but sharing a dressing room with him, I was amazed at his humility, how he taught the youngest.
From your weeks of training with Manchester City, at the end of 2018, what most caught your attention about Pep Guardiola?
The intensity with which he works, how clear football is. He is the best or one of the best coaches in the world, it was an honor to learn with him for a couple of months.
Your best years so far are the ones you played for Granada?
Yes, of that I have no doubt. What I did in Granada was one of the best of my career. My memories are beautiful.
Do you understand that Diego Martínez is without a team?
I’m sure it’s a personal decision, because I’m sure you’ve had options. He is an excellent coach, he will have had offers without a doubt.
Do you think your tibia injury in the Copa América was decisive for joining Espanyol?
It influenced a lot. I finished the season with a spill in the rectum that prevented me from playing the last five games in Granada, and when I had recovered, in the Copa América, the tibia thing happened. With the entire summer and the start of the tournaments injured, it was decisive for the transfer market.
What do you feel you have lacked this season to be Granada’s Yangel Herrera?
I feel like I’ve lost my rhythm. I finished the games with a fairly great physical capacity, I ran a lot and I felt good, but after the injury I had a pretty bad time, I came quite right at the end of the games. Now I am finishing them well, and I hope to finish the season in the best way.
“I feel like I’ve lost rhythm. After the injury I had a pretty bad time, I came quite right at the end of the games”
An unbeatable way would be to win at the Bernabéu, right?
A victory at the Bernabéu would allow us to finish the season in the best way, as the group deserves after the work of the whole year, due to the ups and downs we’ve been through. That is what we have to look for, and our way of thinking.
They have lost in their four games against Madrid. So difficult?
Surely. But I’m looking forward to beating them this Saturday.
From Madrid, do you see a mirror in Casemiro?
Undoubtedly. In that midfield position, ‘5’, he is very good. He is very noticeable in Madrid when he is there and when he is not.
“It shows a lot in Madrid when Casemiro is there and when he isn’t”
A tie would give the Whites the title. Do you sign it?
What result would you sign, then?
Has it been a good season for Espanyol?
Espanyol came from ascending, it was a year to first achieve salvation and then aspire to what they could. We must be proud of the season we are having, that the team is practically saved at this point and with the mentality of finishing well, and next year we will see if we can aspire to bigger projects.
What can the parakeet team aspire to, with or without Yangel Herrera, next season?
It has to be an ascending project, an evolution, not expect changes overnight. This year the team has been saved. It is a very big club and it deserves to always be in the First Division and aspire to Europe as well.
From what you say, has the magnitude of Espanyol surprised you from within?
I already knew that it was one of the classics of Primera, that it was great, but seeing it from the inside, you are surprised by what the club, the team, is worth. It is large and at the same time the atmosphere is familiar and close.
What have you learned from Vicente Moreno?
I have learned tactically, when it comes to positioning myself on the pitch. He sees football differently, he has very clear ideas with the ball. It is a different kind of football from the one we played in Granada.
Is Darder one of the most creative players you have met?
Yes. When I arrived, as I was injured and I was watching the team from the stands, I realized that he was a benchmark, with a very important capacity. And then I enjoyed it, playing with it. I am very happy about his great season, he is being a very important player.
At the national team level, is it frustrating for a runner-up in the U-20 World that the absolute red wine is last in the World Cup qualifier?
That’s right, because at the beginning of the qualifying rounds we were very optimistic that this could be our year. There was a generational change and we started from scratch. But from the beginning there were many problems and they were reflected in the results. The new coaching staff is first class (Pékerman is the current coach), it has brought us a lot of hope, just like the new federation board. We hope you can help us in our goal, which is to take Venezuela to its first World Cup.
Would you rather qualify for a World Cup or go down in the books as the best Venezuelan footballer in history?
That Venezuela qualifies for a World Cup, that is clear.