Luis Caceres is one of Paraguay’s best known players having burst onto the scene with Cerro Porteño back in 2006 having returned from a six month spell with Udinese of Italy. He etched his name in the club’s history books in 2008 with a last gasp winner in the superclásico against Olimpia and enjoyed both collective and individual success in 2009 winning the Apertura before being voted best player of the Clausura by Teledeportes.
Now 24, the attacking midfielder describes himself as “a bit like Kaká…without the nutmegs” and can play on either the left or right hand side having originally broken into the Cerro Porteno side as an ‘enganche’ the classic playmaker role still used in many South American sides.
Luis concedes his rise to stardom “was very quick” adding I was playing first team football when I was 18 years old” but to those in Paraguay he had caught the eye before that playing for the national team. He put on the albirroja for the first time in the U15s and progressed through the ranks until he reached the U20s “where I played in the Sudamericano [World Cup Qualifiers]”. That was where he was spotted by foreign agents who gave him a chance in Italy “I played for Udinese for six months but in the Primavera [reserves] so I returned to Cerro” he explains before adding “I think it [Europe] is where a footballer makes a difference…it’s very important to go to Europe”
Growing up, Luis admired former World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane , “I took him as an example” he says “apart from the headbutt” breaking out into a smile. Returning to European shores is a possibility, “my contract is finishing with Cerro…and if possible I’d like to go abroad” Luis sees it as a challenge but states firmly “I’d go with the mentality that I’m going to progress my career and I’ll be happy to join any side”. The Paraguayan wouldn’t have a problem adapting, as he recognises “one coach asks for certain things, another coach asks for something else…you have to try and conform to the coach’s style. I’ve been through a lot of coaches [Cerro had four just in 2011]…I’ve got that experience”
Luis took time to talk about Cerro Porteño in their centenary year and says “this year people are very excited by this team” and about the pressure the 100 year anniversary brings “we are concious of that” but has no problem coping. “The fans do put pressure [on the team]…but I’ve been here five and half years so I know how to manage it”. He says this year has been frustrating “I was injured but now I’m 100%” and the goal, like any player is to play consistently “I’m not starting games which is what I want”.
During the interview I also asked Lucho about his Wikipedia page which says he has signed for a Mexican second division club, Aguilas Azules, but he laughs it off “I’d never heard of them before”. He has also been linked with Coritiba Foot Ball Club of Brazil but says there has been no contact as yet. Wherever Luis Caceres goes, this young man will bring plenty of experience and maturity despite his years. Moreover he will give his new side plenty of options in attack with both his creativity and versatility.
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: This is an extended version of the interview that appeared in Goal.com yesterday