Sergio Leon (Palma del Río, January 6, 1989) has recovered for soccer practice. After a couple of years in which he did not have many opportunities to play for Levante, in Valladolid he has regained his smile, enjoys quality minutes and the recognition of the fans, while showing off the maturity of a footballer who puts the team ahead before his personal show or his scoring mark.
How are you in Valladolid and what do you think of the snowfall that surprised us today (yesterday)?
I’m fine, it was snowing a lot in Pamplona too. It has been a nice awakening and we will have to get used to the cold a bit. We have worked indoors.
When your signing was announced, there was fear that you would come back, but your performance is still very interesting … Are you also surprised by your quick adaptation?
No, because I know the characteristics that I have. It is true that I had not played regularly for more than two years, without scoring goals, and I understand those initial doubts, but I think that I usually adapt very well to the places, to the changing rooms, because I am a very open person. I arrived with great enthusiasm, I knew quite a few colleagues and everything has been very easy. The rest I think I have. Now I have to gain confidence again, to feel like a footballer again. I believe that both the teammates and the coach are giving me that confidence and that is what you do when you enjoy yourself, when you do what you like.
Was Fran Sánchez too heavy to bring you as he said at the press conference of his presentation as a Real Valladolid player?
No, I think I was heavier than him to ask him about Sergi (Guardiola). Although I was quite aware, because we have the same representative, I insisted a lot. It was a restless couple of weeks, but it was clear to me that I wanted to come here.
That concern was not only his, but also that of the family …
Yes, one is not single, one has a family, a wife and children … but we really had everything ready with the move already in place at our house in Valencia; me with the suitcase ready to come first. I signed up late at night, I slept a little, not much, between nerves and that I went to bed late, got up early to say goodbye to my teammates and the coaching staff, I had breakfast with them, and I got in the car and left. I came here.
A footballer, what is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
The first thing I think about is drinking coffee (laughs) to wake up and enjoy the day, that you have to come to train, with your colleagues, do a good training and later in the afternoon you already enjoy the family more.
Are you very familiar?
Yes, I really like being at home with my family. The truth is that it is one of the most beautiful things in life. Having your wife, your children … I think they are the ones who give you the strength to get up, to go to training, to do what you like. They are the ones who are in the good and the bad.
How’s it going to change your residence every year or two?
Bad at first. When I met my wife she had never left Tarragona, I met her when she was playing for Reus. In addition, the first year we left we went to Elche, they transferred me to Murcia, I returned to Elche, then they transferred me to Llagostera … there were many changes. She had a very bad time, we had a very young child … but the body gets used to everything. I think that even children get used to changing and then it also happens that mine are open, it is not difficult for them to make friends in the cabbages, it is not difficult for them to adapt to new places and they get along well.
Do children understand daddy’s work?
At first it was a bit difficult for them because they are small, but when they have more use of reason and see you on television, playing, they understand that it is your job, they are sponges, they assimilate everything quickly. The boy saw me on TV the other day and my wife told me that the contrast caught her attention. To see me every day there in Valencia sad, of not playing, not wanting to do anything and, however, recently he saw me in a game that went very well and the boy said: “How nice it is to see dad happy again “. They are things that touch your heart. Coming home and seeing that your children realize that you are being happy again is impressive.
Impressive. Changing third. Does Pacheta’s way of playing benefit you?
I usually adapt well to what the coaches ask for in the teams. In some cases with more success and, in others, less. The truth is that I like this way of playing a lot because when playing with two forwards and one of them being Weissman, who is more of an area, while I like more to go out to receive, fall to the band, I like to move, Although also being in the area, as a forward that I am, I am feeling well, very loose, with confidence. And despite the goals, which took only two, I don’t care. I think I’ve already scored enough goals in my career and what I want now is to enjoy football, to contribute other things that I didn’t do before. He was more selfish, he just wanted to score a goal and with age you change your mentality, you look more for the team than for yourself and you look for alternatives.
Does that fill you up more now?
I am going home very happy. If I play a good game and I don’t score, I’ll be happy. On Mirandés’ day I didn’t score, it wasn’t a game that was very good for me, but I gave Weissman a good assist and that saved the game for me. Against Fuenlabrada I had a good game, in addition to the goal, with a lot of mobility, giving the team many options, holding the ball from behind, giving relief, having a lot of band, creating spaces for Óscar Plano. Now I do another football that I am beginning to like. I used to do it, but much less. Even if I don’t score, I’m going home happy.
Do fans recognize it?
The truth is that I leave the house a little, but it is true that I receive many messages, on social networks or when I meet fans on the street they tell me. And that’s nice because they value your work not just the goals. They send me a lot of messages on social networks saying “you’re shutting my mouth, keep it up” it’s nice because they are ways to turn the tables. When they bet on you even though you haven’t had much participation in the last two or three years and coming here to perform at a good level is nice.
The team has 25 goals, the second highest scorer, but it is also the seventh most scored. Do you think that this will give them to try to ascend or should they improve on defense?
We have to defend better, but not only the defenders, but everyone. We are working on it in training, but it is true that it costs us a bit because being such an offensive team and with such advanced defense it is true that when they make very fast transitions, whether you want to or not, they catch us in one. The Second Division is not very touch, but a couple of touches, long balls and it is true that we have a hard time. I’m not telling you that they are going to catch us 10, but in two they can catch you, but for that there are also the two goalkeepers, who are two greats, Roberto and Jordi, who are doing very well.
Are the aspiring candidates the ones who are more or less intuited?
I think it is too early to talk about that. The Second Division is very long, very even. You win three games and you go up and you lose three and you go down. You have to keep adding everything you can, do it well, fight for direct promotion positions and if not tie up the playoff.
On Saturday Cartagena comes to Zorrilla, what does he say?
It is a very good team, I was watching them against Burgos, they are good players and they have a great scorer like my friend Rubén Castro, we coincide at Betis. They have several very unbalancing players, it is going to be a highly contested match, they are not going to make things easy for us.
I was going to ask him about him, about his friend Rubén Castro …
Whoever has the goal in his blood until he leaves football is going to continue scoring goals. As a person he is a marvel, he takes great care of himself, he has devotion to his family, he is not a kid who likes to go out very much and the body appreciates that and makes your football career lengthen.
Will Real Valladolid go up?
Hopefully so, the Second Division is a very complicated category, highly contested and our dream and goal is to move up either directly or through the playoffs. You have to keep fighting, there are many days left, many points at stake.
If the team is promoted you continue …
Yes, and if not, I hope also …
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