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Caballero determined to seize international chance

willy interview pic

willy interview pic

Willy Caballero will be hoping to collect his first senior international cap when Argentina take on Croatia at Upton Park on Wednesday.

The keeper lifted the u20 World Cup in 2001 and scooped an Olympic Gold Medal in Athens in 2004 as part of his country’s u23 selection, but has had to wait until the age of 33 to earn his first call-up to the senior international side.

La Albiceleste boss Gerardo Martino has included the former Malaga stopper in his squad for a friendly double header against Croatia and Portugal, alongside City teammates Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis.

Now, Caballero is determined to make the most of the chance that has finally come his way, a decade after his Olympic experience.  

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“I’m really looking forward to it,” Willy declared. “I think that maybe this call could have come earlier but I don’t want to think about the past - I just want to give everything for the national team.

“I want to make the most of this opportunity because I don’t want it to be the last one. Hopefully I can make my debut and help the team.”

The Argentine has less than six months at City on his footballing CV after making the switch from Malaga in the summer, but he reckons that his time at City has helped push him into the manager’s thoughts.

“I guess that the new coach knows me very well from my time in La Liga last season and I think that being at City probably helped me too,” he reflected. 

The keeper has formed strong bonds with his teammates since arriving in Manchester in the summer, but admits he was still surprised by the force of the reaction to his being named in the squad.

Demichelis played alongside Caballero at Malaga in La Liga, and the 33-year-old revealed it was special to be able to share the news with him after the two had discussed the possibility while playing in Spain.

“I was a little surprised at the reaction in the City dressing room because everyone was so happy for me,” said Willy. “Obviously the Argentines were delighted for me, but the other players in the team and on the staff were really happy.

“The three other Argentinians congratulated me. 

It was a bit more special with Martin because we have known each other for years now, and when we played together before we talked about this moment.”

...Willy Caballero...

 

Argentina have emerged victorious in two of the three friendly fixtures since finishing as runners-up in the 2014 World Cup last July, including a 4-2 victory over Germany in September’s rematch of the World Cup final.

Now, the stopper is targeting a winning run ahead of the 2015 Copa America.

He revealed: “I think that the goal with Argentina is to win every friendly and then win the Copa America because we need a trophy after so many years.

“For an Argentinian to play for his country means everything – we have so much pride and passion. To be able to show the love we have for our sport and wear the country’s shirt is the best thing in the world.”

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