The other side of the Indian Daniel Vega, former River goalkeeper: his political profile and the relationship with the aboriginal community of Neuquén

On many occasions, soccer players are classified as people who shut themselves up in their world full of luxuries and live far from reality. However, others seek to break that stereotype, that "bubble" and that their thoughts come to light.

This is the case of Daniel Indian Vega, current goalkeeper of the San José Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. The former River and Nueva Chicago, in dialogue with Infobae, he chose to show his political and social side. He expressed himself in favor of education and public health and supported the measures that President Alberto Fernández took in the midst of this pandemic caused by the coronavirus.

How is this quarantine happening?

Okay, with my family. Trying to fulfill everything they ask of us. Keep your distance, go out as little as possible. For now, all quiet.

How did you see the measures that Alberto Fernández took in Argentina?

I value them. I know this is a difficult time for a lot of people, but this is something that is happening worldwide. It is something that is out of reach for a lot of people. It is all trial and error. I know that we have to make a great effort as citizens. Then it depends on the responsibility of the people. I think we are the first responsible. The Government takes measures to take care of ourselves and we have to have the responsibility, each one as a citizen, to have empathy with the one next to us and try to take care of ourselves. Beyond any government.

At a distance, how do you see Argentina?

I have a great affection for my country. Although I have been away for a job for 6 years, I am interested in politics. I try to inform. We had a change, a hopeful change, after 4 years they were very bad for my way of seeing. We thought we were going to progress and we did not. Unlike. This year we started it with this pandemic, that the world itself is in chaos. This affects being able to find some progress this year. But I am hopeful that things will change. It is always hopeful to see a new president.

He said he is interested in politics. Do you see yourself as a militant in the future?

I like it, but I don't know if I'm fighting for a game. I don't rule anything out. There are things that I like about politics, and things that I don't. Being a fan of a politician seems very stupid to me. My father has been a Peronist all his life, has militated and participated in politics. I learned a lot from him, how the people in my neighborhood loved him and he tried to help all the people with a dining room for 150 people. I also saw how frustrated he was. I like the possibility of helping people. But there are also many interests, it is quite a dirty environment. If some day it touches me, I do not discard it. Today I don't think about it, because I want to stay involved in football, which is what I like the most.

We always have conversations with Matías. He has his point of view. I value a lot when you have your idea of ​​country, of government. When I argue with Matías, he has it. We had debates, because we have different points of view. We have different ideas, but I also have friends with whom I debate but I feel that they say things that others say, which is not what they really think. A certain part of journalism does society very badly. They think for convenience, they are not objective. And I say it on both sides. Both opponents and government officials. I have a hard time watching television. I try to draw my own conclusions. For example, The pandemic has become very politicized. Many want to profit or destabilize. It is undeniable that there are certain interests. Each one has to draw their own conclusions. I identify a lot with the policies that are taken, not with the politicians. That is what you have to know how to differentiate. One does not have to incline for the politician himself, but for the policies that each party uses. That is what makes me lean towards one or the other.

I like talking about this topic more than sports. Everyone knows how we are training. It's nice that people know what you think, because people think that we are all millionaires, that we live in a bubble. I heard colleagues say that. Live the one you want in a bubble. I don't live in a bubble. I choose my friends, I see reality. One of my friends works in a warehouse, another in an oil company, and they are my friends. They are the ones I eat with barbecue, and when I go there they don't try to take advantage of my situation as a footballer. I live with reality. I know that at some point this is going to end and I don't know if I will have to go out to work or if I can continue to live on football.

He said about the bubble, but few footballers dare to speak outside of football

I don't take my profession as a general. Whoever wants lives in the bubble. I try to look at everything, to inform myself of everything. I like to know about politics, religion, everything. When I don't know something I don't think without knowing, and I try to be objective with a lot of things. I have my political position, but when I see something wrong they say it. I am not fanatical. I'm versus this. I am a person who has no problem talking, I am a normal person. He may be known for being a footballer, but we are people.

It was made a figure of the soccer player that is not real. That we are all Europeans, or that we live with a Louis Vuitton bag under our arms or with an Armani shirt. And it is not like that. It will be a sector, but it is like everything. Soccer players are also said to be womanizers, or booties. And it is not like that. My wife does not have anything to boot. I have a companion who can stand me, who comes to the front of the house, who takes care of my children. She makes a great effort to stop studying to follow me. I value her very much, she is a great companion. He cares about me and my children. It gives me a little anger, we are not all like this.

Now Trump rules in the United States, which does not have an encouraging look for Latinos. Are these topics discussed in the San José locker room?

Although I have lived here in the United States for 5 years, I still have not found someone who is very involved in North American politics. There are many things that are good here, but also many that are not. All countries have their good or bad things. In that sense, in the locker room the boys do not speak. They come out of college and are very prepared. They have a title, which in our football does not happen. Most do not finish high school because they dedicate themselves to soccer. There are some who love the president, others who don't, but they don't give you much foundation.

Many idealize the United States. Do you think it is a model that should be adopted in Argentina?

There are things that work very well here, really. There are others with which I do not agree, or shock me a bit, such as health or education. University is very expensive, health too. You acquire a debt to be able to get there. There is also insecurity. Not like the one seen in our country, but it looks. However, it is a country that I really like. There are things that cannot be implemented in Argentina, I think it is a bit late. Culturally we are not prepared for such a change.

So are you in favor of school and public health?

Yes always. It is something we have a right to. I think it is a right that we should not lose. If you get sick you need someone to take care of you. You need to study. The government gives you tools to help you grow. I am very in favor. It should be given more importance and value.

On one occasion he gave a talk for an aboriginal community (for Colipilli, a small town in the north of Neuquén)

I had the opportunity to go with my dad. Now that I go little to Argentina it is difficult for me. I was invited by a friend of my dad, who collaborates with people from northern Neuquén. I grew up as a boy going to listen to Rubén Patagonia, the Berbel brothers. Those things are lost. They taught us a lot about our culture. I love those things, they fill me up. I am curious, I love to know how they live, how they think. When I get those kinds of invitations, I don't even doubt it. My wife knows that she takes away a day of vacation with the family, but she knows that I like that kind of thing and she accepts them because they fill me up a lot.

I am indebted to them because I couldn't go back. I have to go again, it's a promise I have. They invited me to a very private party they have, where they thank Earth. I wanted to participate, because almost no one is invited. I couldn't go for work, but it's a very nice thing.

What catches your attention?

I am very struck by how they live, the union they have. They do not live on the material. They live without the unnecessary worries that we have. The world evolved a lot and they have remained in the most essential, like light, gas … They are also a forgotten people, because they are visited only when there are elections. I was interested in a lot of things about them. How they are culturally organized, what they do to live together.

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Your nickname is Indian, but you have no aboriginal descendants.

I would have liked to, but no. The nickname is for my facial features, which are obvious. It was from a person at the boarding house who told me that he looked like an Indian from the movie The Ship of Fools. It's a nickname that I love. I wear it with great pride.


How do you see the team for this season?

We had started. We only played two games. Then we got on the subject of the virus. For this season we were excited about the playoffs, but now we will see. This changed everything. We went back to zero. There is uncertainty about how and when we will return

What surprised you about the league?

I really like it because it is very organized, down to the smallest details. I also like that my family can go to the court and they can enjoy the show. There are no fights. People come to see a show. This is how it should be taken. My wife and children really enjoy it. There is also a lot of competition and pressure from the team owners. It is not a relaxed league, like to enjoy your last years of career. If you don't give up here, they let you know. It is a league that demands a lot.

He faced Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. How was that experience?

We are the classic Los Angeles Galaxy. When we play against them we change stadiums because the people who come are impressive. Zlatan surprised me how giant it is. It is big, but when you see it it is really big. My goodness, it's a giant. I also had to play with Rooney. They are players that one admires for their career and everything they have won. I am grateful to have played against them

Several famous celebrities live in California, did you come across any?

No, the truth is that I'm not going out much. I don't really like going to the city, I like going to the outskirts more to see the landscapes, the lakes, some old city. Here near where we live the new Matrix movie was supposedly being filmed. And they say Keanu Reeves was having ice cream. But we didn't have a chance to cross any of them.


Were you surprised by anything in the city?

Everyone says Miami, Miami, but I was not entirely surprised. It is not a city that shocked me. If I had gone on vacation I don't know if I would have come back. I do not know if I would choose it as many do to go on vacation every year. The weather is harsh, there is a lot of humidity. I think California is the best state in the United States, because of the climate and the landscapes it has. Miami has its own for youth, but for married people it is complicated. Miami has that, it is one more city to go as a boyfriend or a single. You have sin there, you live with temptation. I am very calm, I never went out at night.

Alessandro Nesta was his coach. How was the experience?

Yes, it was my coach and the owner of the club was Paolo Maldini. I had a great relationship with Alessandro. He started his career there, it was his first experience. We won a tournament with him. He is a coach with a great future. Today he is in a second division team in Italy, which is fighting for promotion (Frosinone is currently in the Playoffs zone). I really liked having him as a coach. Thanks to him I was able to meet great players, great figures. It was a nice experience.

Costacurta came to see him. Also Ciro Ferrara, Ronaldo, Vieri. All the Italians who passed through Miami would visit him and watch the training. When we were training, Juventus came to play a friendly tournament and made the preseason in our training fields.

Did you cross a word with them?

With Dybala I spoke, we knew each other from having played against. We remember that B Nacional tournament when we played. He was a very humble boy. I also have a nice anecdote with Trezeguet. One night he sent me a message to accompany him to a dinner, when he was here with Juventus. It was a camaraderie dinner for the Juventus campus. I had to have dinner with Shevchenko, Paolo Maldini, Vieri, Nedved. Inside it said irá look at all the players who are here ’. They told anecdotes from their past. I tried to listen and enjoy the moment.


What do you remember of your time in River?

It was a very hard time for us as players. We suffered it more than enjoying it, due to the pressure that there was to return to the First Division from all sectors, be it fans, leadership, journalism. We had to absorb all that and it was hard. With time I hope it is valued a lot, because it cost a lot. If we had not succeeded in that first year it would have been very difficult to return to First because it was going to be played with much more pressure. It was a goal that we managed to achieve and that we suffered more than we enjoyed.

He had to take the goal at a difficult moment for River, do you think that played against him?

I had to play the National B, and there people need to change too. I think I had completed my cycle at River. When everything is renewed for the first lap I think I needed the change. I felt like I had completed my cycle at River.

Why do you say River's descent taught you to enjoy soccer?

Because before, I made a lot of trouble about what a journalist or fan could say on a social network. I learned to live with all those kinds of things, knowing that any moron can tell you anything. Those people are not the ones who will stay with you tomorrow. You do not have to give importance. In soccer there are also interests, and some criticize with bad intention, with bad milk. Today you cannot watch many sports programs. I learned not to get into trouble. It was very difficult for me to be a soccer player, to fulfill the dream of most people in Argentina. And I had to play in River, which is one of the greatest things that can happen to you. In Argentina you dream of being a footballer, rather than a doctor or engineer. Right or wrong, I fulfilled my dream. I learned it big, and it helped me in my performance.

When Cappa said "look at the ball this one took out without hands", how did you take it?

It was something not for me, but more for him. When was someone subtitled to lip read? Never. It was the first time and it was my turn to be the goalkeeper. That image speaks of the damage you want to do. That is what I don't like. Then I discussed it with him, we had a good relationship at River. I understood. They tell us without hands since we are little. It is a language that is incorporated into the wardrobe. It did affect my old man. At that time me too, but today I laugh. Tomorrow, when I am old, I will be able to say that I played so long in the First Division and in River. I am in the history of River, whether you like it or not. The memories will stay in my head. The nice and the bad will remain for me.

At the time Almeyda said that River was going to be the Barcelona of South America, but several laughed

It is the custom that we have as a society. First we laugh at something, we don't believe in someone else's ability. Matías should be more valued for what he did. Inexperienced she put on a very heavy backpack and returned it to Primera, and the way she did, uniting the group. There are many things that he is not going to count, but he did many things to stabilize the club. He wanted the union for the club. What he did should be more recognized. I am very fond of Matías, he knows a lot about soccer. He is very intelligent

Matías was in all the details. If we were fine, if we charged. He was looking for the union between the leaders, he was looking for all of us to push forward. There are things that one will not count because they are irrelevant, but he was always thinking about River. Over there the Cavenaghi and Dominguez issue affected him, but there are things that people do not know and coaches must make decisions; one may or may not agree.


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