TUCSON, Ariz. -- The most newsworthy part of the interview with Seattle Sounders forward Nelson Valdez on Tuesday evening at the team hotel was when he let slip that his agent had approached him with interest from China during this offseason.
TUCSON, Ariz. — The most newsworthy part of the interview with Seattle Sounders forward Nelson Valdez on Tuesday evening at the team hotel was when he let slip that his agent had approached him with interest from China during this offseason.
The Chinese league splashing serious cash on foreign talent — see: Brazilian attacker Alex Teixiera to Jiangsu Suning for more than 50 million Euros — has been the talk over the soccer world over the past month and change. But to hear Valdez tell it, he dismissed the interest out-of-hand.
“I said I didn’t want to know nothing,” Valdez said. “I am happy in Seattle so I want to stay and focus on Seattle.”
But global soccer transfer economics weren’t the only topic of conversation. Some other highlights from a player whose English has made impressive strides during his half-year in the States:
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– Apparently nobody told Valdez about the Seattle Freeze. Asked about his favorite part of his new city, Valdez cited its friendliness, referencing the couple instances that fans greeted him at the supermarket to make conversation.
“If you come from living in Germany, this is very good,” Valdez said. “I am Latino so we like to feel welcome.”
– On now-departed Leo Gonzalez’s role in helping him settle in: “Leo was the first guy to show me everything in the room, and who is who,” Valdez said. “Leo is a really, really good guy. (Gonzalo) Pineda, also. (Marco) Pappa was really nice to me. … I appreciate a lot of the Latino people. We are now only three – or four – but we are happy in Seattle.”
– On adjusting to the Northwest climate: “Now, it’s maybe cold,” Valdez said. “But in the summer, it was perfect.
“All of the people say to me, ‘Seattle, it must rain and rain.’ I was in Seattle and until November or December there was no rain. What are these people speaking of?”
– On his favorite goals of a career that has spanned 10 clubs and three continents: The most memorable for most was the brace he scored to lead tiny Hercules past Barcelona at the Camp Nou in 2010.
“In 20, 30 years, I can tell my children that I scored at the Camp Nou, 2-0,” Valdez said.
But his personal favorite? The one he put past Argentina while playing at home for Paraguay in a 2009 World Cup qualifier.
“Muy emotional,” Valdez said, momentarily slipping back into his native tongue.