“I like to play as a second striker.”
YORDY REYNA speaks about his return to Salzburg, his role with the Red Bulls, past disappointments and how his time in Grödig and Leipzig has matured him.
Welcome back to the Red Bulls in Salzburg. How are you doing?
I’m doing really well, thank you! I am pleased to be back in Salzburg again finally. I still have my old apartment in Grödig and know a lot of the FC Red Bull Salzburg players, thankfully. I like the city and the people here. I am back home!
The time away seems to have helped your football. You have as many appearances already this season as in the entire 2013/14 campaign and have scored a goal and provided an assist in your four matches.
I’ve just developed as a footballer since back then. In 2013/14 I came to Austria and everything here was new to me. Life was different than in Peru – the climate, the people, and also the way of playing in the Austrian Bundesliga were new territory for me.
How important was the half a year at Grödig for you?
At the beginning it was very difficult for me, to be honest. I came to Austria at the time to play for FC Red Bull Salzburg. I wanted to battle for the league title and in Europe. To go out on loan was a shock for me to begin with. Then I just gave everything to give a good account of myself in Grödig – and I scored 11 goals in 19 matches. Then Leipzig needed me. I kept on appearing and was able to gain even more confidence. Then came my return to Salzburg.
How does it feel for you? Is there a kind of ‘now more than ever’ about it?
Definitely! I was sent out on loan to get more playing time and develop my football. I tried to stay true to that every day and in every single training session. Now I’m back and I would like to prove to the club, to the fans and to myself that I can help the Red Bulls. I would like also to thank the people in Grödig and Leipzig, along with my former team-mates. They took me in and supported me!
You have quite an individual way of attacking. In which position is Yordy Reyna the most dangerous?
The position doesn’t matter to me. I can play in the middle or out wide. It’s important to me that I have a good partner up front. I like to be a second striker! I need another good attacker at my side like Jonny Soriano or Dimitri Oberlin. Then we can play quick one-twos, or hit long passes for each other into the penalty area.
We hear you got used to playing in tight spaces as a youngster on the streets of your home town of Chiclayo …
My father died very early, when I was just eight years old. And my mother had loads to do to support my two brothers and myself. We therefore had loads of free time, and we spent that playing football on the streets. We played a lot with the kids in the neighbourhood and at some point I got the chance to play in a match against a team from a football school. I was very good, apparently, as they signed me straight away. Then Alianza Lima took me to the capital, and I was able to fulfil my dream of being a professional footballer.
Did your brothers not make it?
No. They were also very talented, but didn’t make the leap to professional level. They took different paths. One works now and the other studies. They both still love football and are my biggest fans, of course.
How often do you see your family?
My mother and my brother have come to Salzburg already and will come again soon, hopefully. They love Salzburg and can’t get enough of Austrian food!
There is plenty of reason to celebrate, after all! For instance, the third place at this year’s Copa America. I bet your family were very proud of that?
The Copa was really great. It is very highly regarded in Peru, and it is an honour to represent your country there. I see these matches also as a great way to benefit personally, as you play against a lot of great players and can gain international experience for your club.
Now for a few questions away from the football – it’s Sunday evening, and what do you do after the match?
Go home and lie on the sofa. Maybe skype my family or friends in Peru.
Do you have any pre-match habits?
I pray before kick-off.
Who is the person who has most influenced your life?
A fairy is giving your three wishes …
For my mother to live forever, my family to stay together forever and my grandma to live again.
What can’t you live without …?
Who’s the coolest superhero?
What do you do on a rainy Sunday afternoon?
Play football on the PlayStation and wait till the weather is better.
Who’s your dream woman?
I’ve found her already!