The former Genoa full-back faced the Mexican at the Olympics. “Great buy”. Full defense even if there is the Mustafi-idea
Genoa – «Are Genoa taking Johan Vasquez? Really a great shot. You do very well not to let it slip away. ‘ From Brazil to Mexico, passing through Tokyo. To speak is Claudio Branco, not just anyone. The hero of the postcard derby promotes with flying colors the central defender arriving in rossoblù, who has just been closely crossed as a rival during the Games. “Vasquez reminds me of my old captain in Brazil, Ricardo Gomes. Bad in marking and has a great left footed foot. And you know that I know of left ones … ».
Fifty-seven years old, head of the green-gold youth teams, Branco has recently returned to Rio de Janeiro, after a 30-hour journey from Japan. “Tired, but happy.” The former rossoblù left-back, world champion in the USA ’94, has the Olympic gold won by his Brazil around his neck. “It was the only trophy I was missing“. Conquered in the year in which Branco overcame his “toughest battle.” In March I risked dying, but against Covid I won the game of my life. God wanted me to stay here also to win the Olympics ». Brazil won in the final against Spain, 2-1 in extra time, but one of the toughest challenges was the semi-final, won on penalties against Vasquez’s Mexico, then bronze medal.
Genoa in the heart for Claudio. And Genoa in the destiny for Johan. The negotiation between the rossoblù club and the Pumas is closing, with Vasquez who will arrive at Genoa on loan with the obligation of redemption, with an important investment. Last details to be filed, but from Mexico they give the defender born in 1998 who will soon arrive in Genoa. And among the clues there is also the fact that Vasquez has started following Genoa on Instagram. After Vanheusden another talented young defender with Grifo trying a Romero shot. Despite the imminent closure for Vasquez, even yesterday there were still rumors about the free transfer Mustafi, already probed in recent weeks. For now, however, the defense should be complete with the Mexican, with the possible arrival of the 29-year-old German ex Sampdoria linked to further possible exits.
Returning to Vasquez, «the semifinal against Mexico – Branco says – ended 0-0, we were unable to score. And he played very well. Brand with determination, leaves no room for attackers, and he kicks very well in fact he surprised me when he made a mistake from the spot, but he was unlucky, he hit the post ». But after the mistake, Vasquez took revenge in the final for the 3-1 bronze win over Japan, scoring a great header.
“IS good at aerial game – continues the former rossoblù – and with that goal he showed character. Also in football it is not easy to find strong left-handed central defenders. Ricardo Gomes, column of my Brazil, reminded me of. In marking he recalls the defenders of the past, such as Torrente to name one of Genoa even if Vincenzo was right-footed. Excellent purchase ».
Central defender, 185 cm tall, Vasquez’s specialty is not letting his opponents score but when he finds the goal he rejoices in a particular way, miming a phone call (but in Japan, exceptionally, he limited himself to “drawing” a heart With the hands). The right phone calls, this time, came from Genoa where he will be able to establish himself in European football.
“In September – reveals Branco – I will be in Europe for a U18 tournament and I will come to Genoa ». Where Claudio will be able to see Vasquez again, not as a rival, but in the Rossoblu. “I’m sure, he will do very well and Genoa will have an excellent season,” assures Branco, who was invited by Ballardini to Pegli in recent months for a lesson on free-kicks. For now Branco is enjoying the Olympic gold.
«As a footballer I won the World Cup and Copa America. As youth manager I had already won several World Cups and now this joy. The final with Spain was thrilling – closes – two technical teams, we won 2-1 with a play by Marlon. It looked like a World Cup final and we hope to really get there, in Qatar. It would be nice to challenge Italy, the European champion. I was sure you would do well with Mancini’s refurbishment. We hope to find ourselves in the final in 2022, but that it will end like in 1994 … ».
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