Having had a robust and scintillating season as such, one would have only guessed that Jorge Pereyra Diaz would be making a return to the Kerala Blasters nary a hesitation. On contrary though, unlike what the general audience must have expected, Mumbai City FC put forth an eye-catching statement that Pereyra Diaz has signed for the Islanders. It was simply riveting and gathered a lot of mixed opinions in the comments section of that post on Instagram from both sets of fans. However, Diaz has already made a positive impact as an Islander in the Durand Cup.
Despite his valuable contribution to the Kerala outfit, it was baffling why the Argentine did not end up at the Yellow Army’s side for a second stint in front of their beautiful and dynamic fans. Was it a mishandled situation or a thoroughly thought-through decision by the club and the player? Let’s find that out and more.
Pereyra Diaz on his experience in India and his move to Mumbai City FC
Summing up his experience in India, Diaz said, “It was a nice experience playing in India. You could say that it was a good season for me, but I want to achieve more.”
“For a long time – almost two or three months – I was under the impression that I would be returning to Kerala Blasters. But in the end, the club had other plans. It was a shock (to me), but that is football. After this, I had to weigh my options; I knew there were some offers from clubs in the Gulf and the Middle East, but I didn’t want me and my family to go through the process of settling in a new country, and a new team, again.
“The very next day, I got the call from Mumbai City and it was a very easy decision to make. With the professionalism and the ambition that Mumbai City have, being a part of City Football Group, which has successful clubs all over the world, I knew I wanted to join Mumbai City as soon as they called me.”
Pereyra Diaz on his experience with Mumbai City FC so far
“For me as a striker, I want to score more goals than last season. But more importantly, I want to win trophies. I know we are playing in a few competitions this season and I want to win everything we participate in, starting with the Durand Cup,” said Diaz, on his goals for this season with the Islanders.
“It’s not easy for a footballer to change teams and move countries every season. But I haven’t had a single problem here in Mumbai City so far. The people at the club, the players and the staff are good. Everyone here has made me feel comfortable since day one.
“As a footballer, sometimes you have to worry about a lot of things when you’re changing teams. But here, I only need to focus on training and playing the games – everything else is taken care of brilliantly and we’re looked after very well. This is the kind of environment any player would want to be in. My teammates have been very helpful, too. They’ve welcomed me, they’re always there to help me and settling in with this bunch has been easy for me.”
Pereyra Diaz has already gotten off to a quintessentially vivid start in the Mumbai City colours, as expected of him. On this note, Diaz said, “I feel very good. For a striker, it is always important to score goals for confidence. I am happy that I could help the team coming off the bench and I hope I can continue to get goals.
“I am happy with the direction we are in as a team. Our first game had a good result, but it was also our first game together as a team. We want to keep building on our football and I think the second game was one more step, even though the result was not what we wanted. I think I need to work a little bit more on my fitness but I am giving my 100% every day, in training, and the gym and soon I can give even more to my team.”
Diaz on Des Buckingham and Argentina’s chances at the World Cup
“Des called me and told me that he wants me here. He told me that we have a good team here, good people and it says a lot about him as a person. And as far as the training is concerned, it’s really good. The training here is different every day. It keeps us on our toes. We train every day and if I don’t give my 100% in training every day, maybe I won’t play because we have really good players in the team. But Des, the staff and all the people here have made it easy for me to integrate here and I am very comfortable already,” said Diaz.
On Argentina’s chances at the World Cup, Diaz said, “I obviously want Argentina to be champions in every FIFA World Cup and that is the expectation of the entire country as well. It sometimes baffles me that we cannot win with the best player in the world in our team. But this time around, I think Argentina have a well-rounded ‘team’ as opposed to very good individuals as we had in the last few World Cups. Now when you see Argentina play, you can see that the team is working in one direction as a unit. There aren’t many ‘superstars’ in this team. So, maybe, this is time Argentina wins the World Cup and Messi lifts the trophy? Who knows?!”
Diaz on Indian football’s level and growth
“I played in Malaysia six years ago, so I may not be fully aware of how Malaysian football is at the moment. But I can say that Indian teams and Indian footballers now can compete at the highest levels in Asia, be it Malaysia or anywhere. My former club JDT were playing in the AFC Champions League knockouts recently. Mumbai City also showed the level of Indian football in the group stages of the AFC-CL. So, the level is good in both countries and it will continue to grow.”
A message to the fans
“My message is that I will always give 100% to the team on and off the field and I will try my best to help the team win every competition that we play in. I hope to see the fans in Mumbai and I hope they will get behind us,” said Pereyra Diaz.