The tunnel of terror, the journey that almost ended in tragedy and the soccer tournament with Romario: the adventures of former River Andrés Ríos

Andrés Ríos is one of the figures of the San José Earthquakes, where he met again with goalkeeper Daniel Vega and technical director Matías Almeyda (@ andyrios9)
Andrés Ríos is one of the figures of the San José Earthquakes, where he met again with goalkeeper Daniel Vega and technical director Matías Almeyda (@ andyrios9)

Andrés Ríos emerged in River As one of the promises of the quarry, but due to different factors, he could never establish himself in the first team. After the return to the highest category of Argentine football, a real journey began around the planet.

The striker of the San José Earthquakes of the Major League Soccer (there he met up with Matías Almeyda and Daniel Vega), in dialogue with Infobae, he remembered his time in the Millionaire and he told some of his funniest anecdotes, ranging from a trip that almost ended in tragedy to the day he met Romario, one of his idols.

What do you remember of your time in River?

I grew up there, really. I was almost 8 years old. I have the best memories. I was champion twice, which is something that marked me in life

Why couldn't it settle?

In the moments in which I had to be, the club did not go through a great soccer or managerial moment. I didn't have as much room either. When I played I did well, but on other occasions not so much. So I can not make excuses, one is the one who pays or not. In large teams, if you don't always do well, you have to give way to another. So I had to leave the club.

Andrés Ríos emerged from the River quarry (PHOTO NA: AGENCIA ROSARIO)
Andrés Ríos emerged from the River quarry (PHOTO NA: AGENCIA ROSARIO)

Did you go to see the Promotion with Belgrano?

I got there right, because I came from being on loan in Poland. I felt that it should be there. It was hard, because I got along well with the younger ones, like (Erik) Lamela, (Facundo) Affranchino and (Roberto) Pereyra. When I went down I found them very sad. It was hard.

What do you remember about that wardrobe?

It was a painful moment, that no one expected, that no one believed could happen. As much as he was outside, he followed them. It was unfortunate to come to that. Everyone was hurt and surprised by what had happened

Is it true that you became a fan of River at that time?

I lived my whole adolescence there in the club, in the school of the club. That happened happened to me. Then I stayed and I could make my contribution to return. I felt the passion, I felt it strong.

How did you experience the process of the National B?

I enjoyed it a lot. Far from suffering or suffering that we were in B. I felt part, I played games, I scored goals. I felt happy. We went back to Primera, which is where the club deserved to be. It is an important brand in my life.

At that time River was playing well, but before a draw it was a catastrophe.

In that year we knew it was normal, that we weren't going to win every game like with Atlanta 7 to 1. They all wanted to beat us. It was normal for that to happen, to win by a goal or draw. Luckily the objective was fulfilled.

Each victory was greatly enjoyed. The group was united. I remember every trip to the interior, we received great support. In every game we felt that we were closer to the goal. Union is key in teams. When there is conflict or fighting it is difficult to meet goals.

Andrés Ríos playing a ball with Alejandro Cabral during a River victory against Vélez at the Monumental (PHOTO NA: JUAN VARGAS)
Andrés Ríos playing a ball with Alejandro Cabral during a River victory against Vélez at the Monumental (PHOTO NA: JUAN VARGAS)

How do you see River today?

I see it very well, beyond that of the last tournament, which was not expected there. I see the technician as excellent. It is one of the best, if not the best in the country. It is a constant being a protagonist. Maintains the line of play despite changes on campus and players feel identified. They are things to highlight. The team grew tremendously. On the court, he generates a lot of respect.

Did you imagine this present after the descent?

I personally imagined it. Perhaps not so well, that for 5 or 6 years he is always the protagonist. I was very pleased that it is in such a short time and that it is sustained. It is the best for the River fan.

Do you regret having debuted at such a difficult time and not this one?

No, because in the end it was what made me fulfill my dream. I'm still playing soccer thanks to River. I don't regret it, but I would have liked to debut at a time like now. Everything becomes more bearable. But I do not regret.

YOUR ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD:

Andrés Ríos currently works at the San José Earthquakes (Shutterstock)
Andrés Ríos currently works at the San José Earthquakes (Shutterstock)

Your first experience outside the country was in Wisla Krakow, what do you remember about Poland?

It was one thing that marked me. It was the first time he had left the country. I had to be champion. These are things that keep you going. At first I was alone, and I was studying English and Polish, so I could communicate, but Polish was very difficult. Then, luckily, my family came. I met Europe, it was a nice experience.

But very cold

Yes, it was hard. I went shopping around the corner from where we lived on the coldest day of the year, minus 15 degrees. We were all warm, with specific clothing for the cold. But when we came back from the place, which was a block and a half away, everything was hard, with frost of ice. You are going to buy something and you don't even need to put it in the freezer. It was tremendous, but it was a nice experience

What other curious experience did you have while in Poland?

We went to tour a castle, which is called Wawel Castle. We read a little before taking the walk and he said that people were going to pray because there was good energy. But we had never read that kings were buried. My wife looked at the translator and opened her eyes in surprise … We were hard. They opened the doors for us and we started to go down to a place that was all dark. You don't know how scary it is! The castle of good energy was transformed into the tunnel of terror.

In Ecuador was your best performance?

It was the year where I felt the best, regarding goals and performance on the court. I felt good and luckily I was able to show it on the court.

In Cuenca there are places to visit, but it is not like Buenos Aires, which is an active city. Nor were my friends and family. There were days when I didn't know what to do. I was spinning and could not find what to do. Sometimes I wondered what he was doing there. It was hard at the time, but I rescue the good, because I was able to stand out on the court.

Those goals earned him going to America, a giant from the continent

It surprised me for good. When I arrived at the club I realized what America means on the continent. It is well known. Many people, very comfortable. It is similar to River. In all the trainings it was full of people.

It was not the best of my career, it was a short time. I made only two goals, I had few opportunities. Raúl Jiménez was in my same position. It was hard. Some games I was able to play. I also enjoyed it a lot, that your house is the Aztec stadium, which is important for football … I knew him for having once played a Cup match with River, but it is not the same being local. I felt happy. It was very nice. They are things that remain. It is something that you keep.

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Then he went to the University of Guadalajara, where he met a city that he loved.

It was a different year. I went in search of minutes, shooting. But I couldn't feel that comfortable. I had a knee injury, which left me out half the tournament. Although I was comfortable, I could not establish myself. But the city is very beautiful, very comfortable to live. People are very friendly, very predisposed. The place is nice to know. On that side I really enjoyed it.

How did you get along with the meals?

I got spoiled by trying so many things. They eat very hot. You think nothing happens, but it itches. There are some chilaquiles, with a sauce that was offered to me … I am to try, but even the sweets itch. What they tell you does not itch, it breaks your mouth. Once my sister-in-law came and we made a joke with a spicy one. We put it in the light bulb. And when he drank he kept saying he was burning. He always laughs when we remember him.

Andrés Ríos had a brief stint at Racing (REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli)
Andrés Ríos had a brief stint at Racing (REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli)

After a brief visit to Defense and Justice, he goes to Rio de Janeiro

I go to Vasco da Gama. At first he was going to go to Botafogo, which is his classic rival. But at the end came this proposal, which was much better. I arrived in the middle of all this and was able to score several goals, some to Botafogo. That step was good. Vasco people are very passionate, a little crazy.

What differences did you notice between Argentina and Brazil?

In Rio everything is joy, you go to the beach to play futvoley. All the time they transmit that joy. I love Rio de Janeiro, and my family too. In football, I noticed that they have a lot of technique, skill and daring. They are daring. In Argentina too, but the claw, passion or strength stands out more.

Were you encouraged to play a game?

Yes, I was. One of the most beautiful things was to finish training and to go to the beach with my family. I was able to play with my friends

How was the fan's reaction?

It is more normal. There are permanently people playing, everyone loves it. We used to go to a place where Romario often went. Marcelo will also play during his vacation.

Were you able to play against them?

I played a tournament against Romario, because we have a mutual friend. When I had to play he was not on the court, but he was looking from the side. I greeted him and said it was a phenomenon, that I had been watching him since he was a boy. I could not believe it. He passed me a funny anecdote with him. We were walking through Barra de Tijuca with my wife and Romario passed with a blonde woman, with a good body, in a bikini. They walked past and everyone turned around. Me too, because he was Romario. And my wife says ‘both are going to look at the blonde, or that she was so good’. And there I told him it was not for the girl, but for Romario. My wife had no idea who Romario was.

If you had to choose an anecdote about your time in Brazil, what would it be

I have a funny anecdote, but it could end in tragedy. Next to the stadium there is a favela, and the first days they took us; then he did not give much importance to the path. Then, when I received the car, I got out a corridor on a busy street at the exit. I'm from the neighborhood, I have no problem, but on the other hand it is complicated. I did not handle the language so well. There two boys crossed me. I did not have the patent of the place. They approached me and told me to lower the windows. I was all scared, and there they asked me 'Are you Andrés Ríos?' I said yes and please get me out of there. They told me ‘easy, easy. We accompany you. ’ We made a few blocks with them, full of fear, while they were shouting that they were with Andrés Ríos. Later they told me that luckily it was that favela, otherwise anything could happen.

YOUR PRESENT IN SAN JOSÉ EARTHQUAKES:

Andrés Ríos seeks to avoid the Marky Delgado brand, during a San José Earthquakes-Toronto FC (Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Andrés Ríos seeks to avoid the Marky Delgado brand, during a San José Earthquakes-Toronto FC (Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

After Racing came to MLS, what club did you meet?

In August it will be a year that I am here. I found a good club. The team has players of various nationalities, and that makes it more bearable. We all get to know each other

What objectives were set for this season?

Last season we were one game away from qualifying for the playoffs. It was not that goal, but we got to be there in the last games. We know that there are very good teams, but the objective is to qualify and go for the championship. You have to aim to the maximum.

You were reunited with Matías Almeyda, did you notice it changed?

I noticed him differently, as he surely did to me. A few years passed, and the way of looking at life and football is different. I noticed it changed, but for good. Now we do some new work, updated to today's soccer, giving importance to the physical and the ball. It makes a good complement.

Almeyda usually uses technology in training, how does he get along with that?

Today soccer changed a lot in that regard. GPS monitoring makes us better physically.

What seduced you to go to the MLS?

It will not be a very important league worldwide, but I always liked the possibility of playing there, of getting to know that country. I am enjoying it day by day, despite the pandemic. They are in permanent growth. San José is not the one that invests the most, but I like these kinds of challenges.

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