"After all these years of absence from the Super League, the club must be calm and patient in order to be successful in the long run," pointed out the midfielder of FC Apollonas Leandro Álvarez in his exclusive interview for the official website of the Super League. When asked about the fact that the fans applauded the club even after the club's defeat against Asteras Tripolis, he stated that: "This proves that the fans will be by our side during this hard effort," while pointing out that "it is an honour for me to be playing in a club with such a history." The full interview:
Question by Kostas Konstantinos
Do you believe that Apollonas will manage to not get relegated? What will this depend on?
I am certain because I believe a lot in the club. I believe in all my teammates. We work hard because we all know that this will not be easy. It takes a lot of work and this is what we do with the coach. I believe that all depends on hard word.
I hope we will succeed as soon as possible to make our fans, the administration and of course ourselves happy. This club, which returned to the Super League after all these years of absence, certainly deserves it.
Question by Kostas Vyzas
What was the goal set by the club at the beginning of the season?
The first goal in the championship is always to not get relegated. If you can achieve something more, as time goes by, for instance to have a good display in the Cup or be among the five top clubs in the classification list, then this is your goal. However, the condition for all the above, is to not get relegated. This goal can be expanded provided you achieve your initial goal. For the moment, this is all we look at. From the beginning, we talked about not getting relegated and this is the only thing in our mind. Nothing else.
What is your impression from this season's championship and what do you see for the future?
None of the clubs has a consistent display so far, therefore we cannot tell how far each club can get. It is very early to come to any conclusions. The same club wins in one matchday and loses in the next. It is important for a club to have a consistent display during the championship. Results so far show that everything changes, with the exception of Olympiacos who has nothing but wins. The remaining clubs are still trying to balance. I believe that when most clubs balance, then the spectacle will improve as well.
Question by Nikos Karabasis
It may be still early to be talking about it, but do you believe that a healthy club such as Apollonas will be able in the following years to play in Europe and even participate in the Greek Cup final?
After all these years of absence from the Super League, the club must be calm and patient in order to be successful in the long run. It takes a lot of work and time to achieve this. I am personally really happy to be playing for a club in which its people are serious about their work and also perfectly organised. If this does not change and the clubs manages to not relegated this season, then I believe that it will very soon achieve great things. But this means we should be patient and take things one step at a time. The players, from our part, will do our best.
Question by Vangelis Zardis
What is your opinion of the club's fans? We saw that despite the loss against Asteras Tripolis, the fans applauded your effort.
We all discussed about this. It is important because we went to Tripoli following a negative result and a negative display in Giannina. What we saw proves that the fans will be by our side in this hard effort. We certainly need them. It is really important for a club that tries to not get relegated, to have its fans supporting it. I am certain there will be hard but nice moments as well and it is important to all stand united, from the first until the last minute.
Question by Dimitris Stratos
Do you believe that home matches will be crucial for the club's display in the championship?
Home matches always work as an extra player for us. The opponent club should feel that they are playing in the home of Apollonas and that it will not be easy for them to have a positive result. We have to be really strong in our home matches. It is important to be able to fulfil your target. Our display in the first match was good and this made us feel strong. I hope this will happen again so we can be strong when playing at home. Make the opponents feel that it will be hard for them to win.
Question by Giorgos Galyvas
Following Volos and Tripoli, comes Athens. What is your opinion on the city and its people?
This is the first time I am staying in Athens. I have friends that help me feel comfortable and recognise the streets that give me a bit of a hard time. I also have the support of the people of the club who always help me out. As regards football, it is definitely different. After five years in Greece, I now play in Athens. There are more fans in the stadium and I hope that my club will soon be playing an important part in the championship. This is why I came after all and I hope all will go well. I feel nice in this club and this city. This also has to do with the fact that my family feels nice in Athens and in Apollonas. I wish to achieve important things, as I did with my previous clubs.
Is there any moment in your football career that you wish to forget?
No, I do not wish to forget. I believe that each moment is special in its own way. You get more experienced with every moment. Both good and bad moments. I am 32 years old and I should be getting more experienced every day in order to not repeat the mistakes of the past. This is why I do not wish to forget. I wish to always keep everything in my mind, mostly the bad moments so that they will not be repeated.
What would you like to say to the fans and supporters of Apollonas?
I want to tell them to be patient. I believe it is an honour for me to be playing for a club with such a long history that returned to the Super League after so many years. I know that the fans have been patient for years, but they should know that this is a new team that will keep improving thanks to hard work. I will give my 1,000% for the club and I hope we will achieve our goal soon so that we will all be happy with what we did.
Provided this comes true, it is certain that we will have even better moments in the years to come. We may even play in European competitions. Why not? I did this with Volos and Tripoli, I wish to repeat it with Apollonas. But everyone should keep their calm and only think about the goal of not relegating.
What are your hobbies?
I usually try to spend my spare time with my family. With the two women in my life. My wife Ginema and our 2.5-year-old daughter Sophia. We take long walks and this is where I draw my power from in order to be working hard every day. Music also plays a really important part in my life. Especially when I need to calm down. I then listen to rock 'n' roll and everything seems better.