Image Courtesy: FC Goa Media

FC Goa’s new signing Alvaro Vazquez had a tremendous debut season last year where the striker scored eight goals, under the tutelage of head coach Ivan Vukomanovic at Kerala Blasters FC, and helped his side reach the final of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season. 

The Goan club, which is known to have a strong Spanish affinity, will want the Spaniard to be a difference maker as he possesses the potential to thrive under the guidance of new head coach Carlos Pena and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ferran Corominas and Igor Angulo.

The focus of the club and all its players is to restore FC Goa’s status as league heavyweights and qualify for the semi-finals. Vazquez will be expected to score goals week in, week out, and produce the attacking results that the Gaurs will require.

Ahead of the Hero ISL 2022-23 season, the 31-year-old sat down with and opened up on his move to FC Goa, his expectations from his new club, and a lot more in an exclusive interview.

Here are the excerpts of the striker’s interview: 

Having moved from Kerala Blasters FC to FC Goa in the summer, how are the two teams different tactically and in terms of their playing style?

There are similarities between both teams tactically- for instance, both teams like to play with the ball right from the beginning. FC Goa has always had a strong style with the ball, and we will try to be more aggressive up front.

Last season, FC Goa created lots of chances in every game but they couldn't convert it. Do you feel it is your responsibility to convert those chances? Does it add pressure because the fans are expecting a lot from you?

Each player has his own responsibility in the game, but it's up to everyone to score goals. There is no added pressure on me for scoring goals, but I’ll definitely give my 100% on the pitch and utilise my chances effectively.

You have a lot of Spanish players in your squad. Does it make your job easier in terms of settling into the squad and also while playing on the pitch?

Because we work and live together as a team, having Spanish players and coaching staff gives me a slight advantage as it eases day-to-day communication, among other things. On the field, however, it’s not so important.  A team is created by training on the field and we all do that together.

How is your relationship with Carlos Pena? What was your initial conversation with him before signing and what role does he want from you both on and off the pitch?

Before signing here we talked on the phone and he explained to me what he wanted from the team in general. He told me that his team’s philosophy would surely follow the line of last year, which helped me make up my mind in joining FC Goa because I liked their playing style.

FC Goa has some very talented youngsters like Nemil. What is your first impression of them and have you given them any piece of advice?

It’s true, we have some young players with a lot of talent - not just Nemil but also players like Brison Fernandes, Lalremruata HP and Makan Winkle Chothe. At FC Goa, they are on the right path, but they have to keep working hard. I’m very heavy and demanding with everyone, I want to win even in training and I am always on top of them.

You scored eight goals last season, do you aim to beat that tally and what are your individual targets for the season?

The team comes first, always. I like to think that we will lift at least two trophies this season, as we aim to challenge for the League Winners’ Shield, Hero ISL Trophy and the Super Cup. Helping the team to succeed is my primary objective.

This season there are more gaps between two matches. How will it help the players?

Weekend fixtures are better for everyone. The fans, for instance, get to watch the games and follow their favourite teams more easily. For us, it helps us to recover and be fully prepared for the next match. The good recovery period also considerably reduces the chances of injury, which, in turn, means that the games can be worked on in a better fashion.

You will experience the fans in Hero ISL for the first time this season. Have you received any messages from FC Goa fans? Can you remember any special ones?

I receive constant messages from fans on social media.  It is sensational that they are always supporting us. This year will be a great year for all FC Goa fans, I’m confident.