Friday 22 September 2017, 21:32

Paraguay’s Riveros keeping the faith

Cristian Riveros has no intention of throwing the towel in just yet. The 34-year-old midfielder knows that Paraguay have just 180 minutes left to try and book a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. And despite the difficult situation




 find themselves in, they are banking on the latest South American qualifiers to throw up yet more surprises: “These last few games have produced some pretty crazy results.” 

As for Paraguay, they are paying the price for their own inconsistency, a feature once again of their most recent double header. After earning an impressive 3-0 win over Chile in Santiago,

La Albirroja

went down at home to Uruguay. “It really, really hurt us,” said the Olimpia midfielder.

1982: born on 16 October

1997: starts out with Cristobal Colon JAS

2000: makes first division debut with Sportivo San Lorenzo

2006: lifts the Paraguayan title with Libertad, the first of his three career league wins

2007: makes first move abroad, to Mexico, in a career that would later take him to England, Turkey and Brazil.

2017: becomes the seventh player to win 100 caps for Paraguay

What does the future hold for Paraguay?“We’ve got a really good generation of players. Some of them featured in the last qualifying competition but they were very young then. They’re 24-25 now and the average age is really good. By the time the next qualifiers come around we’ll be very firm contenders to make it, with players who are established in the team and who are playing abroad for some big teams.” 

His international future?“There are a lot more players in every position than before. There are a lot of alternatives now. These are definitely my last qualifying matches, and that’s not because I want to give up but because there are players coming though who are old enough now to take on that responsibility.”

Why does he wear the No16 jersey?"The first time I was called up to the national team I was handed the No16 jersey, which was the number of my team. I’ve asked for that number everywhere I’ve played and, looking back, it’s gone pretty well for me, for which I’m grateful. I’ve also scored 16 goals for Paraguay. I hope I can get one or two more – God willing, at the World Cup in Russia."