Champion with River and San Lorenzo, he retired and directed in the First Division, but decided to go down to the bases and works at Inter Miami. What does he do today and memories of his career, from Riquelme as “El Chavo del 8” to his role in the suffered rise of Millo.
Delay in responding to the message, but then apologizes and accepts the interview via Zoom. The ‘Wolf’ Cristian Ledesma has been living in the United States for a year and a half. “It was a family decision for various reasons, but mainly for our children. We came trying to find a future for them. In Argentina we were fine, but there were many issues that we didn’t like and that’s why we made the decision to come here. I am working at Inter Miami thanks to Sebastián Saja, who is my friend, and Javier Morales. With him I am directing the U-17 of the club “recounts.
With an extensive career, his elegance as a midfielder was enjoyed by Argentinos Juniors, River, San Lorenzo, Colón, Olympiakos. Except in Racing, Hamburg and Monterrey, in the rest of the clubs he was in more than one opportunity.
– Did you pay attention to this?
– Fede Higuain once told me: “Did you notice that you went back to various clubs again?”. And what I think is that things can go well or badly for you in football, but the important thing is to leave the places leaving a good image as a person and I understand that I achieved it. In soccer, I was able to win titles in almost all the teams, but I would have liked to win something in Colón de Santa Fe because it is a soccer city, we had a nice team that ‘Turco’ Mohamed had put together, but unfortunately it did not happen.
– Do you miss being a soccer player?
– There are times when I feel nostalgic. On some special dates one sees images and feels that nostalgia, but I think it’s normal. You have to go through the stage of mourning and I have already overcome that process.
– Did you enjoy your time as a player?
– I think I enjoyed it, what I can tell you is that everything happens very fast. While one travels the race, you meet the greatest who tell you “enjoy it goes by fast” and the truth is that when one is in the maelstrom, on a day-to-day basis, you don’t realize it, but it is as it is. It happened to me that when my degree ended I began to analyze everything I had experienced, the good and the bad, but I have to say that I really enjoyed playing football.
– What did football give you and what did it take away from you?
– It took my time, but it gave me a lot. The possibility of knowing places that I never imagined I would know, the same with my family. I was able to get to know other cultures, play in other leagues, compete at the highest level, represent my country. He gave me things I never dreamed of. I only dreamed of playing in the First Division.
– Where was the best Ledesma seen?
– I think in 2007 in San Lorenzo. That was a very good year for me personally and as a team. And also the last stage in River. Those two moments were when I felt very good and I really enjoyed playing football.
– The best technician you had?
– Ramón Díaz because he was the coach who got the best out of me. He made the most of my virtues and knew how to do it, fundamentally giving me confidence. Today he is a friend, with him I have more relationship now than when I played.
– The best team you integrated?
– The river of 2002, when I played in the middle with Cambiasso, Coudet, Zapata and D’Alessandro. And above were Ortega and Cavenaghi. We had a very good team and there were people behind who defended.
– The best player you played with?
– That’s hard. Give me the chance to choose three. In that 2002 team I played as I told you with Cambiasso and I learned a lot from him. I had already played in inferiors, but in First I think I improved at his side. But if I have to tell you three, I name you Ortega, Riquelme and Aimar. I’m leaving out people like Saviola, Astrada, D’Alessandro… Playing with Andrés was a pleasure for me.
The mention of Riquelme as one of the best makes him travel back to his beginnings in the youth teams of Argentinos Juniors. “I’m category 78 and in that team Román played five, I eight, the “Cuchu” Cambiasso who was smaller, midfielder on the left, and Herrón who is my compadre, played central. Upstairs was Lucas Gatti, Emanuel Ruiz and 9 was a boy who played very well, Diego Sánchez, who I don’t know why he didn’t make it to the First Division. It was a great team, but we weren’t champions, we were second”Ledesma recalls.
– You are a friend of Riquelme, but you had many confrontations when you were in River and he was in Boca. You even had to mark it. Any anecdote?
– There was a time when we played several classics in a row and that damaged my relationship with Roman because I tried to stop him however I could, I kicked the shit out of him and he got annoyed. I remember that, in a summer game in Mendoza, I was strong, he put his hand in my face and we started arguing. Then we ended up playing together in Argentinos and we said: “How do we fight if we’ve known each other since we were 13?”. But in the middle of the classic I had one shirt and he another. For me, Román was like Chavo del 8. You saw that you know what is going to happen, but you still laugh. Well, I knew what I was going to do, that I was going to put my hand, my body, I knew where it was going to go because I trained with him, but I still couldn’t get the ball out of him.
Did you get friends in football?
– I was lucky to make many friends. Barovero, Herrón, Ariel Rojas, Román, Prediger, who I later directed in Tigre, Fernando Belluschi, Saja, Fede Higuain, Emiliano Díaz… I’m sure I’ll forget some of them.
– Do you regret something?
– I would have liked to have more continuity in Europe. For example, in Germany. I think that in some places I made hasty decisions because of the desire to have football continuity and perhaps I should have endured those moments and understood that it is part of the game.
The present finds him working in the formative stage of many boys who have the illusion of reaching the First Division, but after having a stint at Tigre, he does not rule out directing professional footballers again. “Se can say that I did the other way around. I started directing in professional football and now I am in the formative stage. And the truth is that I found a terrain that I like. I learn every day to be able to train the boys, to teach them. And I think that being in that place also helps me to continue growing as a coach”bill.
– Now that you are a coach, has your vision of the coach’s role changed?
– When you’re on the other side of the line, you understand some situations.. It happened to me in my last stage in Argentinos. There was Heinze, I was leaving and I left half angry, but later with time I understood and was grateful because he had a talk with me where he was totally honest and up front. He told me the scenario that awaited me and I took it badly, but later I valued that sincerity because you have to be like that as a coach, tell the truth without hesitation. That’s what Heinze did to me.
– You played for Olympiakos. Didn’t Almeyda call you now that she’s going to Greece?
– I talk to Matías, but I do it more with Guido Bonini who is his teacher and I told him that they are going to live in a paradise, because Greece is beautiful. What happened to me with Matías is very strange, I almost never played and my friends told me “He doesn’t put you on and you keep banking him”. I connected with ‘Pelado’ from another place. The guy stood up for River and I understood that we all had to push forward. At that time it only mattered to go up and most understood it that way. What’s more, I’m going to tell you something that happened. He respected me a lot even though he didn’t make me the headline and he always took me to the bank, but he never used me. So I thought, this guy is taking me because he doesn’t want to leave me out. Until one day I told him: “Che Matías, I thank you very much for always making me part of the 18 but I have the feeling that I am not an option for you”. I told him that maybe he could take that place with a boy who would give him one more option in the bank and for me that he lied to me becauseHe told me “Lobo, you are very important”, but I feel like he was taking me because he loved me. That tells you the kind of person Almeyda is. I felt important on that campus because he made me feel that way.
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