Argentina and River Plate midfielder, Exequiel Palacios, 19, discusses the 2018 Copa Libertadores, La Albiceleste, Marcelo Gallardo and much more in an exclusive interview with FOX Sports Radio’s 96.9 FM/1340 AM’s Dean Perretta.
Palacios most recently made his international debut for Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina in a 3-0 friendly game win against Guatemala. Palacios made his league debut for River Plate aged 16 against Newell’s Old Boys.
Meanwhile, River Plate play Ariel Holan’s Independiente (September 19) in the much-awaited Quarter-Final first leg showdown in the 2018 Copa Libertadores, the South American version of the UEFA Champions League.
River Plate, the eternal rivals of Boca Juniors, have won the Copa Libertadores three times in their highly decorated history with La Banda’s most recent Copa Libertadores triumph being in 2015.
Marcelo Gallardo’s River Plate side advanced into the final eight of the 2018 Copa Libertadores after defeating Racing 3-0 on aggregate courtesy of goals from Lucas Pratto, Exequiel Palacios and Rafael Santos Borré in the second leg.
Dean Perretta: Firstly Exequiel, River Plate faces Independiente in the Quarter-Finals of the 2018 Copa Libertadores. What are your thoughts on River Plate’s performances in the tournament so far?
Exequiel Palacios: It has been a tough Cup (Copa Libertadores). Perhaps the most difficult in recent years, the large number of teams involved with their history.
Still, we could look like in the first group and also pass into the next phase. Much remains, but it is our main goal. Hopefully, we can continue to grow as a team.
Dean Perretta: Do you believe that River Plate can win their fourth Copa Libertadores in club history?
Exequiel Palacios: It’s what we all dream. And we work for that. It is also the dream of the other clubs that are still in the race. But, the illusion of winning again is an awesome motivation.
Dean Perretta: What are your thoughts on the football philosophy and tactical management of Marcelo Gallardo from a players perspective?
Exequiel Palacios: (Marcelo) Gallardo has become one of the most important modern coaches. In a few years, he has managed to convey a lot to the team. The bottom line is the winning philosophy of leaving everything out there and being competitive in every tournament you play.
Dean Perretta: How would you describe the atmosphere within the Monumental?
Exequiel Palacios: Play in the Monumental is unique. It’s your home, it is your people. And, a field with a lot of history.
No doubt, It gives us an important time to go out and play games positively.
For those who are also fans of River, it is a beautiful, extra motivation.
Dean Perretta: Lastly Exequiel, how did you feel when you made your international debut with Argentina most recently?
Exequiel Palacios: Very proud. To represent your country is the best we can hope for a footballer. It has been a fascinating experience, a process that has just begun and hopefully can strengthen an idea with the aim of becoming international players.