Mauricio Aros and Sebastián Pardo have boosted the public awareness of Feyenoord in Chile. For Jorge Acuña it was a dream come true to hear that the UEFA Cup holders were interested in him. ‘My number one aim was Europe. I’ve had a very good year, in which I won the championship with my club Universidad Catolica, was selected for two teams of the year and made my debut in the Chilean national team. You set your benchmark higher and hope to make the next step. It would be great if it were to be Feyenoord.’
Acuña immediately realised the value of Feyenoord’s offer to come for a trial. Cutting short his holiday in the Dominican Republic, he took a twenty-hour flight back to Chile to connect with a next-day long-haul to Holland. ‘I’m exhausted,’ Acuña admitted, ‘but I’ll have to shake off that fatigue fast. Because I want to succeed at this club. I think I also have something to offer. I’m a defensive midfielder, I can use both feet and I have the right attitude. I give my everything for the team and for the victory.’
Acuña was unable to impress in Friday morning’s practice match, but there were obvious extenuating circumstances: a near two-day journey from the other side of the world and the freezing temperatures. ‘And I developed an enormous blister right at the start, because I haven’t played for a few weeks. It wasn’t all that pleasant, but I’m alright. And I can even handle the cold, if I it means I can stay at this club. I’m very impressed at how things are set up here and the way the other players have welcomed me. Those things are the mark of a top club. The standard is high and there’s a different rhythm to the game, but I think that it really suits my style of football.’
Acuña doesn’t expect many problems adapting to Holland. ‘Sebastián Pardo is helping me with everything and should I earn a contract then I’ll have my wife come over as soon as possible. Then I won’t have to miss anything about Chile. So I hope I can make my mark in the Canary Islands. Fortunately it’s a little warmer there...'