"I had nothing to play in the U"

A player test allowed him, at 17, to reach Independent of Avellaneda. After five years of little continuity and different missions, Diego Churin made the decision to relaunch his career in the Prime B Chilean football, especially in United Curico.

In dialogue with AS Chilethe Argentine striker admits that he knew nothing about the tortero team and that they convinced him with the following words: “It’s not the passion of Argentina or the number of people, but it’s a city that loves football, that goes out into the field”.

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– In Curicó Unido he relaunched his career…

– We had a fantastic squad, on and off the pitch. Today, I speak with many from this campus. We had a great time in training and away. And it showed on the field. As soon as I arrived, we fought for promotion with the U de Conce, where we lost the final. Road enjoyment was also very good. In the adaptation, it helped me to also have an Argentinian coach. A bunch of things happened.

– After that, he went precisely to the University of Concepción…

– Yes, and there is a nice anecdote with Andrés Imperiale. Playing the promotion final at La Granja, I was playing at Curicó, we won 1-0 and they equalized us. We lost 1-0 in the first leg. We were there… the centers were raining on the U district of Conce! in the last 15 minutes the ball went through there and we couldn’t put it. Imperiale tagged me and told me ‘boludo, don’t run more than Vitamina (Sánchez) loves you, come with us to the first division’. And a year later, we met again, I reminded him of this anecdote and we laughed together.

– They won the 2014-2015 Chilean Cup and you are indispensable in several playoff keys.

– It was my first title as a professional. I scored the goal in the semi-final first leg. I felt comfortable. At U de Conce, I learned to be a substitute. I knew ‘Gabo’ (Gabriel Vargas) was in front of me, what he meant to the club, what he was, I was watching him train and the chances of playing were going to be complicated. I was preparing to play the minutes that touched me. I worked very hard during the week and if I put in 10, 15 or 20 minutes, I gave up, I gave 100%.

– Where did Ronald Fuentes seek to convince?

– We played good football, he had good tactical concepts, we had a great team to do it and the players to play what he wanted. We had skilful and fast wingers, like Pedro Muñoz, at an incredible level, we had good defense, experience in goal, Fernando Manríquez and a fantastic level, they scored goals from all sides. We had a good backbone.

– Then, at Unión Española, shortly after meeting Martín Palermo…

– The truth is that he is my football idol. He and the ‘Duck’ (Abbondanzieri). In addition to what they were as players, they are of a level of person that goes beyond, of a greatness that they show with great humility. They never got ahead of the group, they never mentioned what they were, on the contrary, they always look for the player to grow. We went to training happy. That year was, if not the best of my career, it was close.

– Then he goes to Cerro Porteño, where he won two titles in three years.

– We always want to grow, he had had good seasons and wanted to take the plunge. I said it at the time and it was almost given, I was far from playing in the U. After some thing that didn’t happen, the thing about Cerro came up and I had no doubts about it. It was going to a big club, which asks you, where everyone wants to fight you and it was a rather rustic change, because of the weather, the move and everything. We ended up becoming champions in 2017, playing in the Copa Libertadores and I think I’m done training, maturing as a player.

– In short, why hasn’t the U arrived?

– I won’t talk much more, but it was a matter of negotiation. Going to the U was my idea, I arrived in Chile with the goal of ending up playing in a big one and I couldn’t achieve it. There was the predisposition, everything, but we stayed there, we stayed in the negotiations.

– Is it true that you were the key to Joaquín Larrivey saying “yes” to the U in 2020?

– I don’t remember if he called me or not. I’m not going to lie to you and I’m not saying I’m lying. I followed his career at the U and the truth is that it made me sad when he left because I know everything he wanted to continue, he enjoyed and suffered in that time. He’s someone I like.

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