‘Although I haven’t played much these past few weeks, things are going really well for me. I really feel at home at Feyenoord and in Rotterdam. To a large degree that’s because I’m learning Dutch intensively at the moment. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but now I’ve started, I’m really enjoying it. I keep getting assignments from my teacher and it gives me a kick to achieve my objectives.
’Thanks to the lessons I am beginning to understand a bit of what people are saying, without being able to participate in deep discussions exactly. But at least I can follow, especially when it’s about football. Coaching on the pitch is also becoming much less of a problem, though it can take me some time to process things. But I’m definitely making progress. In footballing terms too, because I have learned a lot in training and in games.
’It’s obviously a pity I don’t have a first team place. I had a couple of less good games and to cap it all I fell ill in Kiev. Anthony Lurling took my place and he did excellently. Now I just have to wait for my chance, that’s only logical. I’m quietly hoping to play against Newcastle. I have good memories of the away game and anyways Shinji Ono is suspended. That frees up a place in midfield, exactly where I’ve always played. I would like to show what I can do there, but it’s up to the coach to decide how he uses me.
’I’m patient in any case, because I’m really enjoying it at the moment. Since I’ve known I’ll be here for a few years more, things have gone better. Right now my mother is visiting, so she’s able to see that Rotterdam is a good city for me. Because it is and I never thought I’d miss Chile so little. It’s all thanks to the way the club has welcomed me.
’A second Chilean will probably be coming to Holland soon. Waldo Ponce, who I played alongside at Universidad de Chile, has a trial with Ajax. I’m thrilled for him, though I’d rather he was coming to Feyenoord. Waldo is a really fantastic defender. A lad with the physical presence of Glenn Loovens and the footballing brain of Kees van Wonderen. I don’t think a defender could have a better combination of qualities. I’m convinced that he’ll be successful in Holland and I wish him every success. But, again, it is a crying shame he’s not coming to Feyenoord.
’So we’ll see each other soon, but my thoughts are on Newcastle now. Even though the possibility that we’ll progress in the Champions League is no more than theoretical, we have to pull out all the stops to win. Newcastle are a good team. They play at high speed. But we found the right weapons at their place to make the most of the space they gave us. Hopefully we can do the same at home. Whatever happens it’s going to be a fantastic night of football between two good clubs who have to win.’