When there is a corner kick, Vicente Moreno sits down and emerges a tall, long-haired figure that does not stop making fuss, to scream, to move and to jump with a passion of its own. It is Dani Pendin, former teammate of the Espanyol coach in Xerez, friend and responsible for a set piece that has given Espanyol six of the 14 goals he has accumulated. But behind his supporting role, the protagonist of a life with history hides.
Pendín was born in Rosario in 1974 and started playing soccer in ‘La Consolata’ together with Kily González, who later made a career in Zaragoza or Valencia. Raised in a middle-class family, with origins between Venice and Salamanca, his father was a mechanic and his mother took care of him and his sister Claudia. “I remember my father’s sacrifices to make ends meet and to buy some football boots”, explains Pendín, who entered the lower levels of Newell’s and who chatted with AS about his life a few weeks ago.
Marcelo Bielsa, in that Argentina that idolized Diego Maradona, was the coordinator. His wisdom changed Pendín’s life, as he himself recounts. “When I was 17 I started to take it seriously. Bielsa was already explaining to me how I should take care of myself. There was a day when I clicked “he commented. That click occurred one night at four in the morning. The Newell’s teams were summoned at that time to go play in Buenos Aires. Pendín, who had gone out with some friends to have fun, arrived a little late. “Bielsa scoffed at me. I saw my parents disappointed. He told me not to waste his time or my father. I didn’t go out anymore “he explained.
“I lived in a poor neighborhood, where drugs and other things were the order of the day. I have friends who fell, some were imprisoned and I was going to see them but I needed to leave my passport to be able to have dinner with them. Who says I wasn’t flirting … I was lucky enough to play soccer and get rid of those things “Pendin mused.
“The two face operations” and Pedro José’s gaffe
He was climbing the midfield until at the age of 19 he lived another unforgettable moment. Diego Maradona needed to prepare for the 1994 World Cup in the United States and Newell’s welcomed him due to his good relationship with Eduardo Solari (Santiago’s father): “For me he was an idol. I understand what Messi is, but Maradona is indisputable for a generation. He gave us Puma clothes, I still have things from him. We were his sparrings, we put ourselves as a barrier in fouls. We were flipping ”.
Three years after that “sleep”, Pendín traveled to Spain. He arrived at Oviedo but to join the subsidiary for his 22 years. In the second season, Luis Aragonés, who coached the first team, gave him the push he needed to consolidate himself as an important footballer in the Second Division. “He said, ‘Skinny,’ come here. You will not play with the first team, do not waste time. Go to a provincial capital team, they need to talk about you “. Luis Aragonés helped him go to Burgos. He scored the promotion goal, played three years and was an idol.
“He told me, ‘Skinny’, come here. You won’t play with the first team, don’t waste your time. Go to a provincial capital team, they need to talk about you.”
From Burgos he went to Xerez, where he quickly tuned in with Vicente Moreno. Bernd Schuster changed the game system so that both were coupled to midfield. The Argentine cost them 1.2 million euros. Then Castellón and Pontevedra before the withdrawal. But his career had not been rosy: “I broke my face twice.”
And, curiously, in all of them there was a footballer, Pedro José, who lived his best time in Primera with Extremadura. The first time was in a clash in a fortuitous action when he played for Burgos: “I was three months away”. And, the second, when he played in Pontevedra with Pedro José present on the field. “The third time I saw him I told him to stay away from me.” That set pieces aggressiveness (“I lived off my head goals, that’s why I have fractures on all sides”).
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