Bryan Zaragoza, the old pleasure of haggling | Soccer | Sports
Last week, the cameras were pointed at Granada. Barcelona visited the Nuevo Los Cármenes, but Bryan Zaragoza, a fashionable player in Andalusia, was surprised to have to answer more questions about Luis De la Fuente’s selection than about Xavi Hernández’s team. “When it has to come, it will come. What if they call me? “I’ll walk,” said the 22-year-old striker, after scoring two goals for the Blaugrana, the second spectacular after walking Koundé through Ter Stegen’s area. However, he didn’t make him walk much. As soon as the commitments with the television stations with rights were finished, Nicolás Rodríguez, sports director of Granada, called Zaragoza. “Come over here and I’ll tell you something,” he asked her. “I came in and my whole family was crying,” Bryan Zaragoza revealed. This is how he found out, after nine games in the First Division, that De la Fuente had summoned him for this Thursday’s matches against Scotland at the La Cartuja Stadium and for the match on October 15 against Norway in Oslo, corresponding to the qualification towards Euro 2024.
“Francis (Hernández, coordinator of the youth categories of La Roja) had already warned us last year that there was a player in Granada that we had to pay attention to,” warn the technical staff of the senior team. Then, something unprecedented in Zaragoza’s career happened: he broke the deadlines. “And that year was when we started to follow him the most,” add the same sources. Five goals, plus an assist in his first 592 minutes in the elite, were enough for De La Fuente.
“His growth has been very great. It’s striking. It seems to me that his jump is due to the fact that he is not afraid of anything, he doesn’t care about playing in front of 50,000 people or playing with his friends from the neighborhood. He dares to do everything,” they conclude from the La Roja sports area in Las Rozas. Robert Moreno, former Spain coach, was in charge of making Bryan Zaragoza debut in Granada’s first team against Deportivo Laguna in the Copa del Rey in November 2021: “I found it very striking that that day, through tears, he thanked me for made his debut. There is never an explanation as to why there are players who take a long time to establish themselves in the First Division. He has fought a lot to be where he is. Some give up, some don’t. “Bryan has shown resilience and perseverance.”
Before consolidating himself in Granada’s first team in the final stretch of last year, when Paco López’s team sealed its return to the First Division (five goals in 34 games in the Smartbank League, three in the last three games), Zaragoza went without practically say nothing at the El Ejido Sports Center (15 duels, one goal) in the Second B (current First RFEF) in the 2020-2021 campaign, and for the Andalusian team’s subsidiary in the 2021-2022 season (34, seven) in the Second Federation. That is to say, a year and a half ago, the new reinforcement of La Roja played in the fourth category of Spanish football. “My rise has been very fast, but I am prepared for anything. I was working for this opportunity,” Zaragoza stressed, sitting in the press room of the Las Rozas Soccer City. New life in the countryside, also on the networks: “I opened Instagram and had like 5,000 more followers. “It’s crazy.”
“Bryan grew up on December 4, a humble neighborhood, with working people. “In which there was poverty, but in which he always had the support of his family,” explains Juan Oñate, president of Tiro Pichón, the first Zaragoza club in Málaga. Not even in his move to Granada, much less in his jump to the national team, does Bryan want to forget the football that he forged in his childhood. “They are children raised in freedom, in the confidence of the street,” Oñate concludes.
“Since I was little I have played soccer in the street. He left training and went to play in the street. I play to dribble, not to run after the ball. My style is to play face to face and have the ball,” Zaragoza completes. Do not cheat. Much less do his statistics: he is the best dribbler in the League (28 of 59 attempts), the second best in Europe behind Leroy Sané (36 of 59). “For me he is a dribbling artist, a one-on-one genius,” says Robert Moreno; “There is a lot of talk about the fact that the player who cuts is in decline. It’s false. What happens is that they don’t use them.” This is not the case of De la Fuente, in love with Nico Williams, now also from Zaragoza. “Luis asked me to be daring,” revealed the Granada winger. Nothing new in his football: an old-new dribbling romantic.
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