Cup hero Alvarez dreams of signing professional contract
MALABO - Reuters
David Alvarez became an unlikely hero after leading Equatorial Guinea to the last eight in the African Nations Cup. AFP photoDavid Alvarez became a national hero in Equatorial Guinea after his goal gave the African Nations Cup co-hosts a quarterfinals berth and the player a taste of the crowds he would love to experience regularly.
The defender was the toast of the tiny nation when his 94th minute stunner sealed a 2-1 win over Senegal last week, but the amateur can generally be seen playing in front of a few hundred fans for Spanish fourth division side Langreo. Alvarez’s father is from Equatorial Guinea and the 27-year-old, who was born and raised in Spain, believes it is still not too late for his exploits to earn a professional contract.
His side next faces Ivory Coast, who -like the Senegalese- boast an array of players from top European clubs, in Malabo tomorrow, giving Alvarez another chance to impress any suitors willing to pay for his services.
“I don’t need to earn millions and millions of euros, I would just be happy to have a professional contract and play football for a living,” Alvarez, who goes under the footballing name of Kily, told Reuters. “My dream is to play in England but I would be happy to go anywhere.”
Alvarez comes from the opposite end of Spain’s football spectrum to the millionaire players from clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona. Although he trains five times a week, his appearance fees do not provide a living salary.
“Football can be a very tough, ungratifying profession,” he said. “To be successful, a lot of things have to fall into place and you need a coach who has confidence in you.”
Playing for Equatorial Guinea in front of a home crowd is a world away from his regular appearances in the Spanish lower leagues.
“It’s a huge difference,” he said. “Usually, I play in front of 600 or 700 people. In Bata, we were playing in front of 40,000 with the whole country behind us.”
Alvarez started playing international football in 2007 after Equatorial Guinea began actively searching for foreign-raised players who had parents from the country.