Willy Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Otamendi, Sergio Aguero, Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo and Ramiro Funes Mori. All Argentine players living very far from home, but still able to make their own family circle and bring a little of their local traditions to another country.
In a story brought by Argentine newspaper La Nacion, it’s described how all the players manage to have fun by making their ‘asados’ (not just a barbecue!) in order not to miss their homeland.
The newspaper managed to interview players from Manchester City and Manchester United, as despite all the rivalry, they all meet to have some fun.
The barbecues only happen at the Agueor or Otamendi households, since they’re the only ones who have a proper grill. But each player has a job related to the parties.
“I found a butchery in Wilmslow, the town where I live, the owner already knows me and makes the cuts we want,” says Zabaleta, who is responsible for the starting meat and cheese platter. “I like to be chatting there, cutting the cheese and the salami is my thing, I also help with the salads.”
Meanwhile, it’s Otamendi who is responsible for preparing the meat: “I cannot tell my secrets, it’s all in the griller’s hand.” But Zabaleta thinks his Manchester City teammate is a little overconfident: “You can’t tell him a lot because he gets cocky, but he’s very good.”
The problem is that they’re not able to make the barbecue the way they want. Caballero explains that it’s because they can’t find proper firewood: “And if we do, it’s all wet. I have no choice but to do it with coal, but I do it well.”
Then it’s Manchester United goalkeeper Romero and his role, although his job isn’t very clear: “What do I do? Nothing! I bring a good mood! We are far from Argentina, far from family and friends. Barbecues are a way to feel close to home.”
When it comes to music, the local bands aren’t a thing. La Nacion suggests Oasis, The Smiths, Simplly Red, The Chemical Brothers, Stone Roses, The Charlatans, but that’s not what Aguero plays.
“With the music I lose. I am much more of a rocker, but Kun puts cumbia,”, Zabaleta says. “And some reggaeton, too,” claims Otamendi.
Even Everton’s Funes Mori drives from Liverpool to be with the other guys. Zabaleta says they all try to meet when they can: “Almost always we do the barbecues when we are alone and we have time to make it long. When we are with the families, it’s a bit more complicated. We try to be all together. If someone can’t come, no worries.”
That’s why Otamendi concludes that it’s not a problem to be away from home when you have a bunch of friends living nearby. “The truth is that we have a great time. We are fortunate to be in the same city and get along together.”