- Espindola’s first SCL experience came in 2019 as a member of CD Marathon of Honduras
- Espindola is aware of the responsibility of representing Costa Rica’s most decorated club.
MIAMI, Florida – It is not just any footballer who can wear the jersey of a big club, especially one like Costa Rican giants Deportivo Saprissa. It takes a player who has the passion and commitment to put on a shirt knowing that every time he steps on the pitch, he is going to get the best shot from every opponent.
But that does not seem to be a problem for Saprissa DF Esteban Espindola. In his career, the 28-year-old Argentine center back has suited up for the likes of River Plate in his home country and Marathon and Olimpia of Honduras.
So when he suits up for Saprissa in Wednesday’s 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League Final versus domestic rivals Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, Espindola is aware of the responsibility of representing Costa Rica’s most decorated club.
“In my career I have been able to defend the shirt of big clubs like River Plate, Marathon, Saprissa, and one gets used to that pressure, which is great to have, to be a protagonist, that every team that plays against Saprissa plays it like a Final,” said Espindola in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“To feel the support from people on social media or on the street is wonderful and gives a footballer an extra boost of satisfaction to defend the interests of fans who for years have been going to the stadium. Today, to be able to put on this shirt and defend this team with a lot of fight and passion is a wonderful responsibility that is to be enjoyed.”
Espindola’s first SCL experience came in 2019 as a member of Marathon, but this is the first time he will play an international Final. The fact that it is going to be a Clasico makes it even more special.
“It’s a Final and it’s a Clasico. These matches have no tomorrow and the way that they are experienced is totally different than any other match. I think the form in which the two teams come into it does not affect it, because the motivation and hope that one has of winning makes it that one gives a triple-effort. That is not negotiable. I have learned that in these matches, they are played with a knife in your teeth, as is said in Argentina. These are matches that you begin to live days prior, it starts early, you can sense it in the air,” said Espindola.
While no fans will be allowed inside Alajuela’s Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto on Wednesday night, Espindola knows that Saprissa will have plenty of backing from afar.
“The fans bring us a lot of support. When you are on the street or out shopping, the fans show that support, they show the passion with which they live football in this country. Saprissa is such a big club and has so much history, the fans always demand a little more and that as a footballer is an honor,” said Espindola.
Saprissa come into the Final on the heels of a decisive 5-0 victory over Arcahaie of Haiti in the semifinals in which Espindola notched his first Concacaf goal. With offensive-minded defenders such as Espindola, Kendall Waston and Aubrey David, Saprissa is proving that their defense has a knack for scoring big goals.
“I think in the last several weeks the team has been improving in many phases. We are 11 players who defend, 11 players who attack and that is the commitment we have any time we play a match. Thankfully we defenders are finishing, we have good shooters, it’s a good weapon to have in our favor, but it’s also worth noting the teammates who defend. We defend very well. But the most important thing is the team and together we are able to move forward through challenges,” said Espindola.
In addition to their current SCL campaign, Saprissa will also be back in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League in 2021, which will be Espindola’s first experience in the tournament. Whether it be the SCL or SCCL, Espindola is motivated to represent Saprissa on the international stage.
“Any time I wear this shirt in domestic or international football, it is a great honor and to be able to play in these types of tournaments, one as a child always dreams of competing at the international level. I think it is wonderful. It’s great to be able to put on this shirt and face great clubs of the region. Day to day I try to enjoy things and learn something new in every training. No doubt this experience is enriching me as a player and a person,” concluded Espindola.