When the rivals already shout the goal, when the fans already hold their heads, to celebrate or lament, when the narrators already release the ‘g’ that comes out powerful from their throats, when the cameras await the touch of the ball in the net , when the referee already makes the gesture towards the middle of the field and prepares the whistle, that is when he appears Leandro Castellanos, to thwart the whole goal ritual, to do his dirty work, to put his arms out and save, over and over again, Santa Fe. That is their mission.
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Castellanos throws himself at each ball like someone who plays his present, his future and his life in each auction. He launches into it confident, determined, skillful, attentive, timely. It seems to float in the air, as in an eternal postcard, while stopping shots that seem impossible. In this league his saves have been unreal, saves that win matches. He has barely received 11 goals. This Tuesday, Castellanos will have another battle of the arc, now against Alianza Petrolera (8 pm Win + TV), as Santa Fe continues in its eager race towards qualification.
Leandro speaks very seriously, as if in addition to auctions he was also tackling questions. He responds with the property of a goalkeeper who at 37 is full of hierarchy, but also humility. Avoid coming across as pretentious or self-centered in your words. However, he admits that he is living a great moment. He spoke to EL TIEMPO about that, he says that Santa Fe is back to fight for the title, and he confesses that his great dream is to return to the Colombian National Team.
How did you achieve this level that you have reached in Santa Fe?
The whole group has an important moment. It is a job for a long time, perhaps two years with the teacher Harold Rivera, with an idea, a sports DNA. The country already knows what Santa Fe plays, and that makes each of us feel confident when we go out on the pitch.
There are archers who win games. Do you consider yourself one of those?
It’s not up to me to say that, it would be self-centered. What I do try is to do everything well on and off the pitch, to be a good sporting element, personally and for the group.
The truth is that Santa Fe sleeps peacefully with you in the arch … what do you think is your greatest virtue?
I think that the fact of the experience, knowing the position, one feels comfortable, calm, does things a little more slowly, that is reflected in the team. We try to give security, and we express that confidence from behind so that the boys are loose in the style of play. We have achieved it line by line.
Leandro Castellanos, goalkeeper of Santa Fe.
Dimayor – Vizzor Image
If the goalkeeper is a figure, it is interpreted that something is wrong … Although Santa Fe has been solid for much of the championship. But what should the team correct?
Sometimes in the moments that the commentators say that I have left figure, we analyze the game with the teacher and the boys and we see that there are not many arrivals that make us, there are few clear ones and that makes the goalkeeper take relevance, but the The rival prepares to attack us and so do we, so when we attack a lot with our offensive phase so marked, there are spaces left and the rival tries to take advantage. We always have to improve, we will not have excellence, but we will have to reduce the margin, studying the rivals, respecting them and with work.
That triple save against Once Caldas has been perhaps the greatest demonstration of his moment in this League. With Pereira he had another exceptional …
The action against Once Caldas as such was decisive for the score, we were 0-0, it was the first minutes, if they score us that goal the game changes, they locked themselves in and we were going to attack and they were going to explode our back; then there was another save, then the penalty. They are those dreamed matches that one yearns to have since childhood and they were given to me with relevance because that makes you sound in the media.
When you have those performances, how do you receive the team, your family, your environment?
My family, my parents, my grandmother, my children, all are aware of my work, the close circle gives me peace of mind to be able to make them proud. In the team they receive him in a good way, it is a team without egos, they congratulate each other, but the important thing is the collective, the objectives. Win the next match.
In the team they receive him in a good way, it is a team without egos, they congratulate each other, but the important thing is the collective, the objectives. Win the next match.
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How does Leandro work, how does he train and what motivates him in each game?
We are fortunate to have one of the best goalkeeper trainers, Juan Carlos Quintero, who has been able to accompany Agustín, Rufay, Camilo and me a few years ago. He is one of those trainers who not only train the body, but also the mind, that is to be exalted. We enhance my virtues, be fast, and in my case that I am not tall, I exploit speed, intelligence, anticipation, go one step ahead. We work on that day by day: my potential.
Do you consider yourself the best goalkeeper in local football today?
That question was passed to you, the critics. What I do feel is that I am an athlete with regular performance, that I seldom get down. Yes I have had injuries, operations that took me away for many months, but when I am in competition and in optimal conditions I try to maintain my performance. There are always plays in which you are involved as a goalkeeper, more in our position which is one of exposure, but I try to have a good performance.
What is Santa Fe in this league for?
I see Santa Fe to fight, we have been in the process for almost two years working, we have already reached a semifinal, then the final that narrowly escaped us. We are working to get another title, the fans have not celebrated for a while and we are working to maintain that line to which the fans have become accustomed.
Leandro Castellanos celebrates the title with his children.
Héctor Fabio Zamora / CEET
Archers can also be idols. And the truth is that the fans already have great affection for him …
I think we have earned the affection of the Santa Fe fans game by game, every season, but in football the only way to sustain that affection, which is passionate, is by respecting the club and with good performances. And be ethically correct.
In addition to qualifying, you must also be thinking about the Copa Libertadores …
Yes. The return is coming after a few years abroad and obviously there is the desire to make a great presentation, to represent the country and the institution with dignity. Waiting for the draw and starting the participation preparing well and understanding that these competitions are at a different pace and we must be prepared.
In your professional career, what next goals do you have?
The usual goals, to continue defending the Santa Fe goal, which is a great team, to do it in a good way; the only way to guarantee yourself is to be at a good level, working to maintain ourselves, fighting the title head on. And we have been working for a long time aware of that responsibility to fight and dream with the Colombian National Team, as our teammates and journalism make us sound, it is a dream that is there. As long as we are in force, I have the dream in my heart and soul.
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Do you consider that the National Team has been unfair to you, because in your best moments you have not been taken into account?
No, I never see it that way, in recent years the National Team has had great participation with those it has, but the competition is difficult, the colleagues are at great levels, and they make it complex. I was also summoned for a long time and that makes me proud. Colombia has very good elements and that makes everything difficult. The important thing is to continue on the rise in Colombian football, go to the World Cup and have a great World Cup.
Is stopping abroad a differential factor?
The fact that David (Ospina), owner of the goal and with luxury, cut off in Italy, and previously in the Premier, makes him undoubtedly ahead of us. Now, Camilo (Vargas) is in Mexico and is a figure… That means they have other possibilities and they have earned them.
Do you still think it can be?
One is always excited, the teams help us with that hope, if we are well we will be more colorful. There are very good goalkeepers in Colombia and everyone looks askance at the possibility.
In recent years the National Team has had great participations with those it has, but the competition is difficult, the colleagues are at great levels
How was the experience when you had the opportunity to be in the National Team?
I enjoyed it. Being is not easy, obviously they are beautiful and complex moments. Those of us who practice this profession know of the pressure of day to day, of public exposure, it is a job that involves the passion of the people.
What do you think of Reinaldo Rueda?
As a Colombian, excited that the teacher Reinaldo, with his wisdom, will take us to the best level of each one of those summoned to go to the World Cup and make a great Copa América; that is the feeling of the fans. It has capacity, it has raw materials, good footballers …
What are your referents of the arc?
Our generation, in my case, the referents are Casillas and Buffon, and the local goalkeeper who caught my attention was Óscar Córdoba for his technique, his sobriety, his character, he is always there in my head, also someone I had as a partner like Rufay, with exquisite technique, character and conditions.
Editor of EL TIEMPO