In Botafogo’s victory over Flamengo, Gatito Fernandez left the Mane Garrincha Estadio the best of the match by a large part of the public and public opinion. Paraguay made successive defenses within the white team 1-0 in the Clasico. A ceremonial performance of the season’s start-up bonus that, in January, raised more doubt than certainty.
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Gattito returned to play in 2022 after a year and five months. A serious injury to his right knee made the goalkeeper miss the entire season that went on. As long as the athlete himself had doubts about his condition when he returned to the Alvenegra goal. First impressions dispel doubt, Shirt 1 matches both physically and technically.
Last Monday, Paraguay participated in Seleção SporTV, and after that, he attended ge report at Nilton Santos Stadium. He opened up about his concerns during the injury period and the help he got from his father, former goalkeeper Roberto “Gato” Fernandez, to train in Paraguay during the holidays and have prep time. The player was also asked about the contractual situation and the new requests of coach Luis Castro.
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Gattito celebrates Botafogo’s goal at Mani Garrincha – Photo: Vitor Silva / Botafogo
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To get this season off to a good start, I underwent a lengthy treatment due to an injury. Getting ready for the holidays is over, right?
On my vacation, I took five days off to spend with my parents. Then I started working the season. It was crucial for me to come back very well at the start of Carioca and to take this series of games every three days, practically. I was happy, I was able to play in practically every match and even return to the national team.
What was worse the moment you stopped?
The biggest drama is not knowing if I will ever get back to the level I did so many years ago. I had many doubts about my performance. I was able to prove to myself that I can be at the level I have already reached in Botafogo. I am very proud of the work that is done every day. It is a pleasure for the entire staff of the club.
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And in Paraguay you got your father’s help to continue training, right? How was that experience?
He had to open the chest to get the old “tools” (laughs). He was nice, he helped me a lot. I never trained with my dad, not even when I was young. This closeness was nice, and it was important for me to come back from vacation well.
A kitten with his father on a soccer field in Paraguay – Photo: personal archive
Speaking of time, your contract runs until the end of this year. Is there already a conversation to renew?
I have not been searched yet. The club is still in a new operation. I haven’t had any conversations yet, but I know we’ll sit down and talk when the time comes. I have never had a problem with the club in this sense.
Back on the field, there were some defenses against the Flamengo. Is there anyone who makes the list of your greatest career?
At least one of them will enter. And because it was a great and classic match, we didn’t concede any goals. Lazaro’s ball was the hardest. He had two shots, one of which went the ball far from where I was standing, it was tough. In addition to the speed of the ball very quickly.
Gattito talks about the best defense of the match against Flamengo
The move that I kept the most, which was very difficult, was in a match against Atlético MG, in Independencia, where Rafael Moura took a kick and put my hand in. It was the hardest save, except for the penalty kicks, which I also remember fondly. But throwing in the 90 minutes, that was the hardest.
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Speaking of the classic, how were those last minutes of choking for the goalkeeper?
We were very focused on the match. We who have more experience notice when the team is in the game. And we were all very calm. Of course we knew there was a very strong team on the other side, with a very strong striker. We knew it would take work, but there was confidence.
When we are in the field, time does not pass. For those who are at home, it can pass very quickly. Inside, no. The last minutes were very difficult and very stifling. They began to press even more, they even came with defenders. But it all worked out.
Gattito saves in a classic match against Flamengo – Photo: Vitor Silva / Botafogo
Games like this give a feeling that Botafogo Could he fight more than just stay in first class?
Thinking of staying in Serie A is very risky. We have to think more about an international tournament. We know we can do more for our cast, the team, and what we’re doing at the start of the tournament. Now, of course, it’s just the beginning of a championship, the beginning of a business. We have a lot to improve, but we need that bigger hope.
I hope it will be a year of many victories and achievements with the club. That we can reaffirm the work that we do, and that these new employees can be incorporated here to work on the business. It’s the best way to keep track of the year.
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Luis Castro’s style of play, which requires goalkeepers to work with their feet, is widely discussed. What is required of you in the position?
Demands that construction comes from defense. But he’s also not a completely closed person about it, he gives freedom. If it doesn’t, it won’t be. But the idea is always to get that build out of defense. Nowadays, in training, goalkeepers are much more involved in the work to develop this skill and provide support to their teammates. This daily work was already happening, and the big difference is the requirement in the game, to give confidence to have a goalkeeper as a passing option.
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