The goalkeeper of Sporting Cristal, Alexander Duarte, will complete his second year in the celestial cast. At 27 years old, he aims for this season to be successful both on a personal and group level, and thus give joy to the Rimense fans.
However, he analyzes with Infobae Peru what will be the start of this new season in League 1 and in the Copa Libertadores. In turn, he thanked the Rimense fans for the support they offered them in the final against Alianza Lima, where unfortunately they could not win the national title.
who knows closely Alexander Duarte can attest to the professionalism he has: he sleeps early, takes care of his diet and tries three times in each training session to be at a good level.
How is the preseason work going with a view to Liga 1 and the Copa Libertadores?
We are training hard. Sporting Cristal is characterized by having very professional players, there is a lot of demand in the club and every day we give 100%, since the preseason is a time to train hard, and we are taking advantage of it quite well.
Since you talk about the demand that is in Cristal, do they take revenge this season to win the national title that was elusive last year?
In a team like Sporting Cristal every year you have the responsibility of being champion and that is the only goal you have to pursue. So just like last year, we are preparing with both the local tournament and the Copa Libertadores in mind.
What do you think about the fixture that Cristal has had for the start of League 1?
I think that the fixture, now that it is decentralized again, is going to be more complicated for most teams due to the issue of traveling and playing in different stadiums. Hopefully you can play with the public again because the fans have an influence. It’s going to be a different tournament, very demanding with rivals who are going to become strong in their locality, something that we see as a nice challenge because Cristal is always looking for the championship.
That same requirement that you tell us, will it make you be considered again in the Peruvian team?
I have always said that I try to focus on my club, to do things well in my team and then there will be one or more people who decide who they call up. That does not depend on one in the end, but on those who make the decisions. The most important thing is to focus on yourself and improve yourself every day.
How is your relationship with Professor Roberto Mosquera?
It’s very good. The teacher is a winning person. As a footballer he was champion with Cristal and as a technical assistant and coach, too. Someone who knows that the requirement can lead to titles is Professor Mosquera. Having him on a daily basis, demanding us, advising us and directing us, is a privilege.
What is your evaluation that you put on since you arrived at Sporting Cristal?
My first half of the year was very good because we achieved a lot of goals and I played a lot of games at a high level. Then, I am aware that in the second half of the year, in some games I did not respond in the best way and that left me unsatisfied. I would have loved to maintain the level of the first part of the year throughout the season. However, I think I had good games in the second half, and I knew how to recover quickly when perhaps a game did not go well for me. In the end, it was a year with a positive balance: it left me with many lessons.
What did you learn from those ups and downs you had in the arc?
I think that one of my virtues is that I have always been quite regular in my performances. As I told you, in the second half of the year I had some matches where I couldn’t be well, and it was something that hadn’t happened to me before. So, it was a challenge to be able to overcome that and recover quickly for the next game, that makes me happy and it remains a lesson for me.
Arriving with a number of important games, does it give you peace of mind to compete in the Copa Libertadores?
That is a very positive thing because last year we played our first Copa Libertadores game with only four games in the local tournament. As the Copa Libertadores progressed, we became stronger as a team and were able to have good performances. I think that this year having two months of competition before starting the Libertadores is very positive for the club.
The good thing is that Sporting Cristal very rarely makes drastic changes to its squad. Do you think that the base that has been maintained for a few years will be enough to compete in this Copa Libertadores and give its fans peace of mind?
It has been possible to maintain the base of the team and that is good because we have an idea of the game, we know the working method of the technical command, who already know how each player on the squad can respond to it. In addition, we have added good reinforcements that will also help us to be able to repeat the good performances of last year. It was a great year, in the end when you lose the final, that’s where it is valued differently, but taking that result, 2021 was a year where many times we finished the matches hugging each other for having achieved some important goal.
How do you take the exposure that the Libertadores can give you to emigrate abroad again?
As I also told you about the national team: going abroad I see it the same way. If in the end you focus on doing things well, on a day-to-day basis, in any case, you will have a better chance of being able to achieve individual things. But you always have to prioritize collective achievement. If your team is doing well, everyone has more opportunity to grow personally.
Was losing the final one of the hardest moments in 2021?
Losing a final is always hard. We felt we had many chances of being able to win it, we knew that we were going to dominate the process of the game and we were going to have more opportunities than the rival. Unfortunately, football is unpredictable, since in the two games before the final, we had scored five goals against Alianza. However, in the finals we couldn’t score a goal against him, I think that was the difference and that’s the way sport is. They became strong and resolved by posing the game better. In sports, you can’t always win and you have to go through those bitter pills, take lessons about it and keep looking forward.
So, the match on the second date will be special for you
I don’t think it’s special because once you win or lose a final, that match is never played again. For me, the next game you play doesn’t count as a rematch; the final result has already been given, and winning or losing the duel will not change the result. We are going to face Alianza Lima on the second date of the 2022 tournament and we will face it responsibly.
Any message for the Sporting Cristal fan?
Thank them for the support and gesture they had in the final: at the end of the game, despite the defeat, they stayed to applaud us and accompany us at that moment. It was a great gesture, and to tell you that we are glad to have you with us this year. We hope that the issue of being able to play with the public will be enabled quickly because they will really help us achieve our goals.
Do you think it was a good decision that the tournament was decentralized again or did you prefer to continue playing in Lima?
I think that it is good news for Peruvian soccer that it is once again decentralized. That brings interest and passion for soccer in many cities of Peru. In addition, it is an opportunity for new Peruvian values to emerge in our league.