ANDRÉS NICOLAS D'ALESSANDRO
If question Andrés Nicolás D'alessandro about his passion for football and from where did the interest in being a professional player emerge, he will respond: "I think I was born with the football on my mind". That's how, with the certainty of his choice and the obsession with winning, that "El Cabezón" always took his life in the ball world. From the first steps in baby fútbol - species of indoor soccer in Argentina - to the touch of class with 15 Argentina National Team shirt, D'alessandro faced difficulties, but nothing at all that made him down or giving up his bright and stared destiny in football.
If Ale´s trajectory is not exactly a tango, full of drama and tears, as is common among football players, also cannot be summed up in the moths of Fito Paez. His parents, Gladys and Eduardo, early struggled to fulfill the son´s dream. "They always tell that I just wanted to see the ball. I played on the street, at home, anywhere ... They worked, but they made a very big effort for giving me the opportunity to play football", he remembers.
"I think it was the happiest time of my life. No pressure, no problem. There are not some things disturgin things of a professional player´s routine. When you're a kid, just has fun, plays with friends every day. I was amused, but never liked to lose, I think the football player is born with it. One thing I learned from my father was this: fight for what we like! I was never forced into anything, I did because I liked. You never know if you will be a professional, but my thinking has always been to play football. I saw on television the games in Europe and found that it did not exist, because it was too far away. The dream was to be named for the professional, but you never know when it's going to happen ".
And when was 9 years old D´Ale started his football career in River Plate's schools. "I've had more responsibility, with time for practice. My father went out in the middle of work to take me to the club. We traveled a lot to play for championships; we had a very good time! There was Javier Saviola, who had already at that age made a difference. Gradually I was growing up, I started to play with the biggest and the coaches were already starting to observe. I didn't play much at the lower division, because I was too thin, small ... Always spoke I was a great promise, but said also that it was very short, weak, I had to do physical work to grow. But I didn´t care about that, I just wanted to learn to play, did not understand anything. I never failed to play, when I was not called to play with the River, I played with my friends on street. Until, when I was in the "fifth division" at the lower division of the River, the coach Jorge Gordillo arrived. He already knew me, because he worked on the lower division of the Independiente and we'd already faced. He reminded me that I had decided a match against Independiente, and then in the first training he asked: 'Where's the left-handed, left-handed?', and it was then that I started to be more used. So I went to the "third division". Then I started getting more responsibility and projection. I was not even a year and I've been called for the professional".
Time went by and the boy who did not like losing was increasingly standing out more. On 28 May 2000, at the age of 19 years, the dream began to come true. D'ale entered in the field for the first time in the professional team of the River, in the second half of the match against Unión Santa Fe. The following year, another dream comes true, to play for Argentina. D'ale was one of the highlights in the conquest of the World Sub-20 acting alongside athletes such as Leandro Romagnoli, Javier Saviola and Maxi Rodriguez. Thereafter, became one of the great names of the River, being Argentine champion in 2002 and 2003
"I've always had the support of the family. All I got in football was by my parents. My father worked from 15 to 20 hours a day as a taxi driver, all I did was for them. After I raised my family and also I do for my children and for my wife. My parents gave me things even when they had no conditions, never left me lacking nothing. And now I'm glad to be able to give them good conditions, which is more deserved. I'm very proud to be who I am, and this is due to my parents. And I always think as well on my grandmother, Beatrice, who helped raising me, she stayed with me while my parents worked.
At the age of 22 years, in 2003, several European clubs were willing to hire the midfielder. In the middle of the year, the Wolfsburg, Germany, was the one who made the best offer to the River. There were three seasons in Germany and more than 70 games for the Club. D'ale still played one season at Portsmouth (England) and two by the Zaragoza (Spain), moving within great centers of football and who helped him a lot to grow in his career.
"I could talk a lot about all the places that I've been through. I really liked Germany, I was two and a half years there in Wolfsburg. It's very difficult to play football because it has a lot of physical contact. We had the best team in the history of the campaign up to that point. In England, was also very good, I came to the team in January, along with other players, and Portsmouth were about to fall, was 11 points below relegation line and we managed to be saved in the last game. In the penultimate, 8000 people attended game away from home. It was unforgettable! And the passage for England was also striking because my daughter, Martina, was born there. I was a short time, but a lot of important things happened. In Spain I guess I've been on the team with more conditions in which could act in Europe. Zaragoza had Diego Milito, Gabriel Milito, Ayala, Aimar, Sergio Garcia, Carlos Diogo, Ponzio ... I got there on loan, had also bid for Portugal, but I wanted to play in Spain. And the team was very well formed, qualified for the UEFA Cup, after a good campaign, and I was happy to have played in 36 of the 38 games possible. After that, the club bought me permanently".
During his journey in Europe, D'ale was also frequent figure in argentina team. In 2004, he participated in the conquest of the Olympic gold medal. He was still in the America's Cup the same year.
After five years in Europe, D´Ale would return to Argentina in 2008 to play for San Lorenzo. With Ramon Diaz, his first coach, in charge, played in the Copa Libertadores. "The idea was to come back, because I wanted my second son was born there. In England, we had gone through some difficulties, when my daughter was born because we were alone, far from our country. And then came the possibility of San Lorenzo, everyone thought I was going to get back to the River, but I ended up going to the San Lorenzo. The idea was not to return and settle in Argentina, but only go through this important time in my country. I ended up staying six months on loan from Zaragoza, and it was great! We fight for the local title and also for the Libertadores, was the best campaign of San Lorenzo in Copa Libertadores history. It wasn't easy facing the River inside the Monumental. We just eliminated from the Copa Libertadores for the team that later won (LDU, Ecuador) and on penalties.
With the end of the hiring, came a new challenge. D'Ale would play in Brazil, by the international. And was in the neighboring country where he won more titles in his career and where he became the Colorada nation´s idol. At Inter, midfielder turned 10 shirt, Man Gre-Nal, captain and reference.
"It's like a fairy tale, because I never thought I'd be here and even more with the love we all have for me. The most important thing is that people recognize the player as a human being. We do things on the field, but we also have the life out of it. I get on well with all supporters. I never imagined winning Libertadores, South American... fight for four or five titles in the same year, as it was in 2009, almost champions of the Brasileirão. I knew it was coming at a great club, but I never would have guessed that, in so little time, we would get everything we could get. For me it was the most important club I've been to, along with the River. These titles will stay in my memory forever, but nothing compares to the Libertadores, because it's a very complicated competition. We had already won the South American, but nothing compares to the Libertadores. I think I was lucky to come to a team that was already formed, and with a lot of quality players. Alex, Guinazu, Nilmar, Magrão, Edinho... All quality players and they already knew each other. So I joined the team that was already ready by Tite, and managed to help. I came, I played the Brasileiro, and just soon in the Gre-Nal we won the classic, then to win the South American, the Gauchão. Of course, I haven't always been the best of my level here in Porto Alegre, sometimes that yield falls a little, but I'm happy, because even in bad times we fought for every competition we enter."
With Inter's shirt, D'Alessandro won seven Gaucho Championships played. He took part of the South American Cup (2008), Libertadores (2010) and the Recopa (2011). He quit the club with another title: the Gaucho Recopa, in 2016.
"There were 340 matches in that I dressed the colorada shirt with the world biggest pride. I stared in a Gre-Nal, I was very happy in the classics that played, we dominated thr Gaucho Championship, I even was a scorer. The moments experienced in the Libertadores 2010 will be forever memorable. At Inter, I was chosen the best player of the Americas and I began to play again for the team My story at Inter broke the barrier of the four lines. I was the whole time here not only by the identification that grew up with the club. It was much more than that! In Porto Alegre, I took roots in. My family was very well treated here. We, Argentinians, with any rivalry that is said between the two countries, we lived wonderful years here. I can say I'm Gaucho! I am from Porto Alegre (I even won the title of citizen). My son, Gonzalo, was born here! He is Brazilian, Gaucho and sure Colorado".
In February 2016, D'Ale would wear the shirt of the River once again. After 13 years, I was hired to play the Argentine Championship and the Libertadores Cup. And, of course, to be a champion. On 25 August, with D´Alessandro on the field, the River won the South American Recopa title.
"These are things that we didn't expect and have no idea. Feeling of relief and great joy that I lived. A title that I wish too, a special moment with my wife, children, parents, brother and friends who've been with me and I know how much I wanted everything came out like that. Thanks to all that were always beside me, to the group that made so much effort to achieve this title, to the River for letting me live this career moment and enjoy the good things, which quickly pass".