Blessed advice from Dona Maria Victoria, who ended little Giorgian’s daydream and opened the way for Arrascaeta to shine on the lawns of South America. The tuneless singing now only serves to demonstrate that the boy from the modest Nuevo Berlin has nothing to be shy. To the point of calling for himself the spotlight of the Libertadores final, next Saturday, between Flamengo and Palmeiras, on the stage that fueled his imagination since he was a boy: the Centenário Stadium, in Montevideo.
Arrascaeta, from Flamengo, in an official photo of the Libertadores final — Photo: Divulgação/Conmebol
The discretion with which he behaves in important moments does not fit this time. Arrascaeta became the center of attention for much that involved the Libertadores decision in recent months. The thigh injury generated expectations about his physical condition to face Palmeiras and the relationship with the host country ended up naturally making an abused midfielder the protagonist on the field and relaxed off it.
Yes, relaxed. Just ask if he’s shy and the answer is on the tip of your tongue:
“No. I think I’m less shy with people I know. Then I like to play and stuff. Maybe with people I’m not so close to, I’m more reserved. But I’m a playful guy with most of my friends.”
Bi-champion of the Copa do Brasil, of the Brasileirão and with a chance to succeed in front of his bi compatriots, also from the Libertadores, Arrascaeta is already among the great foreigners who played in Brazilian football. The titles and decision-making ability have raised the debate as to whether he is the greatest of them. Question that he dribbles and postpones the answer until after retirement.
Arrascaeta on Flamengo’s arrival in Montevideo — Photo: Conmebol Libertadores
– There is always talk a lot about the things that a foreigner earns when he arrives here. I am very happy with the things I have achieved, but I cannot be satisfied with what I have done or what I can do. My thought is to analyze the career when I stop playing football. It’s a privilege that people speak of my name together with great players who played in Brazil. My idea is to win more and more each year, to create a rich history in Brazilian football.
At 27, Arrasca knows he still has a lot to do in his career. And the trend is for this future to be with Flamengo’s shirt. Talks for the renewal until the end of 2026 are going well, and the midfielder left the definition in the hands of businessman and ex-player Daniel Fonseca.
Arrascaeta celebrates achievements in Brazilian football, but says: “I can’t be satisfied”
– The renovation? Then you have to talk to him (laughs). It’s the club’s problem with him. I’ve already made it very clear what my idea is and I hope that everything works out.
In a relaxed review with the ge, Arrascaeta even had the chance to show his (lack of) talent as a singer, spoke of the weight of playing in a Libertadores final in Montevideo, revealed that Flamengo is even in the Uruguayan team’s locker room and compared the attacking duos that has the mission to supply: Bruno Henrique and Gabigol with Suárez and Cavani. Check out the full!
– Certainly both for me and for Piquerez (Palmeiras side) it is a great prestige, an honor to live these moments of anxiety, madness and all the surroundings that generate until the end of this final. All our family, friends will be there… Uruguay deserved to have a show of this magnitude. Playing in a stadium as important as the Centenario will certainly be special for all Uruguayans.
Arrascaeta celebrates first goal for Uruguay, at Centenário, in 2015 — Photo: AFP
– It is one of the mystical things we have in Uruguay and it marks us. It’s been many years (opened in 1930), Uruguay has already achieved important things, the main championships have had finals played there, and a Libertadores final will certainly be one of the most important and striking things in this huge stadium. I hope it’s full. I believe that the atmosphere will be really cool with two fans, with Uruguayans, a spectacle that we have to enjoy. We know that everything evolves, things change, but there is the mystique of these stages. There are some touches (to modernize), but the mystique continues.
Centenário Stadium, stage of the Libertadores final — Photo: Reproduction twitter
– As a fan, I went a few times when I was at Defensor’s base in Peñarol’s fans, who were behind the goal. I had some friends and we went there to see how everything happened. It’s remarkable because since I was little I watched Peñarol’s games, a team that I support, and I saw all these fans thinking about being there to feel one day. It’s a magnificent thing. Afterwards, I made my debut for my national team and it was great to score a goal in Centenário. As much as it was a friendly (in 2015 against Guatemala), it was a different feeling. It’s something every player dreams of from a young age.
– It will be divided. Piquerez has played for several Uruguayan teams, he is very humble, very dear, and there will be a lot of people rooting for him and me. Each one will defend his own. Regardless, we are many friends. Sometimes, when we are in the national team, we joke about it and hopefully the Cup comes to us.
Arrascaeta talks about the leading role he has for deciding on Libertadores in Uruguay
Protagonist of the decision?
– I certainly know what I can give my team. I’m preparing the best way to get 100% in this game and everything that involves. I’m a guy who prefers to focus more on the game, not looking outside and what can be said or what can happen. Maybe this can hinder the performance of the player and the team. Being 100%, I know I can help. Finals are unique, different games, and hopefully everyone is prepared for a big game.
– (laughs) People have feeling. Sure! Some with greater expression than others, perhaps. But I think that this feature on the field already comes naturally. No matter how much someone prepares, they won’t be able to develop characteristics different from what they have. I’m very happy with my quality and it’s important that players in these moments are cool and calm. I’m happy for what I’ve achieved here and on Cruzeiro too.
Daniel Fonseca and Arrascaeta in Rio de Janeiro — Photo: Reproduction
Riquelme, idol and inspiration
– I know what he did for Boca Juniors (at Libertadores), what he achieved, but I focus on what to do for my team in my daily life. I’m very happy for everything I’ve lived and the thought has to be to conquer more and more things each year and at the end of your career to analyze everything. But I think the path is here and it is being covered very well. Hopefully I can continue to win.
Relationship with Fonseca, businessman and friend
– In addition to his job of helping me with transfers, he became my friend outside the four lines. We have a great friendship. We can get together and not even talk about football. We went out for dinner and shared things outside of football. It’s good to have a guy like him around, who has already gone through decisive moments (as a player), moments when the player is not doing well… It’s important to have a guy who can help in these moments. He’s a very positive guy and he always supports me in my decisions. I’m very happy for everything I’ve achieved and he collaborated a lot.
– The renovation? Then you have to talk to him (laughs). It’s the club’s problem with him. I’ve already made it very clear that my idea what it is and hopefully everything can work out.
Arrascaeta compares Bruno Henrique and Gabigol vs Cavani and Suárez
– There are four players who have thoughts of always wanting the best for the team. That’s one of the similarities. Gabriel and Bruno have more movement. Sometimes, Gabriel is more out of it, Bruno trades more with me… Suárez and Cavani are two guys who are always looking for each other inside the area, two finishers. The game strategy with Bruno and Gabriel is more about playing up there than having the ball. With Suarez and Cavani it’s a more direct game. There are different ways to play, but for me it’s a privilege to share the field with these four fantastic players.
Suárez, Cavani and Arrascaeta — Photo: Disclosure/AUF
Flamengo in the Uruguayan national team
– When we’re in the national team, we joke that Mengão is in full swing, hopefully he wins this Libertadores. Once, Suárez did an interview when Flamengo hired me and said that this hiring would be to beat Libertadores. So he told me it was really hot. I hope you say something positive again so we can win again.
Uruguayan with Brazilian way
– Honestly, as the years went by, I took a lot more path with Brazil, with the culture here. Today, I feel totally at ease here in Rio. I made great friendships, I love Brazilian music, culture, people and I’m close to Uruguay. My friends and family enjoy it a lot and I already feel a little Brazilian too.
New Flamengo Banner — Photo: Disclosure