Hugo Duro, the unexpected scorer who leads the young Valencia striker |  Soccer |  Sports

Hugo Duro, the unexpected scorer who leads the young Valencia striker | Soccer | Sports

Hugo Duro, the unexpected scorer who leads the young Valencia striker |  Soccer |  Sports

Hugo Duro (Getafe, 24 years old) still finds it hard to believe that he is among the ten top scorers in La Liga. Last season, when Valencia were on the brink of relegation, they were only able to score one goal and it left them frustrated. “I didn’t know how to handle it well. Now I would do it differently,” he admits. When, this summer, he asked for number 9 which was free after the departure of Justin Kluivert, his father told him where he was going, that he no longer needed pressure, but he stepped forward and kept. “Some fans commented on how cheap Valencia’s number 9 was, and that was true. But now I’m happy to have shown that I’m up to it.” This season, he has already scored a dozen goals and he allows himself to pass in front of Diego López, who is assisting a journalist, and to joke out loud: “Tell them who is the best player on the team…”. Although the truth is that this status is quite new for him: “If I’m honest, this summer I didn’t think it would be like this at this point, to be honest. I had worked hard afterwards and I knew I was going to improve, but seeing myself there… Whew. I’m at home, I see myself on TV and I’m freaking out. “I am a very humble boy.”

The striker returns to Real Madrid this Saturday, a year after that afternoon bathed in nitroglycerin at Mestalla. “When this happened, I saw the fans insulting Vinicius and I said to my teammates: ‘Look at these bastards’. It seemed perfect to me that Vinicius went to report them because these people do not represent anyone at the club, let alone at Mestalla. Then, regarding the tangana, we must understand that these are moments of tension and that the stakes were high. I didn’t behave in the best way with Vinicius, but they were the ones who worked for me. I didn’t want to hurt him. “I think he didn’t take it badly because we met later and he didn’t do anything bad towards me or anything.”

Hugo Duro knows the weight of the white club well. After training as a player at Getafe, he transferred to Real Madrid. He lived there in a time of contrasts. He ended up playing for Castilla, in Second B, but he also went through the first team locker room. “There was a sensational group with people who were very supportive of me. I will always thank Sergio Ramos for the way he treated me, Lucas Vázquez and Isco helped me a lot. There he met one of the best attackers in the world, Karim Benzema. “I paid him a lot of attention, even though he was light years away. It was different. You saw him train and despite being surrounded by excellence, he looked different. I remember playing typical little games where no one had any space, and he found them. Even if his favorite striker is Antoine Griezmann. “I like the way he sees football. There are surely many in the League stronger than him, but his way of moving, playing and making others play makes him unique, it’s my weakness.

The Madrilenian is happy this season. He already has ten goals, is engaged to his girlfriend and is surrounded by talented young people. “Every time a new player joins the first team, I get depressed. Anywhere else he would be one of the three or four youngest on the team. He doesn’t want to focus on any of them, but he throws himself in front of Javi Guerra because he has “incredible conditions”, Diego López, one of those who gave him the most assists, the ability dribbling from Fran Pérez, or Christian Mosquera, a pillar of the defense who is only 19 years old. “His is very strong. I don’t want to talk too much, because they take it away from us, but the truth is that at this age I am impressed by the hierarchy he has. He’s a player that fascinates me and who looks like he’s 35 years old.

Hugo Duro assures that the day before the match, he sleeps like a log, but that the night after, he does not sleep a wink. “Between the products we take to get active, the tension and the nerves, I come home and I don’t sleep at all. Several times I put the game on. On Saturday we play at nine o’clock and it is easy for me to arrive here (at Ciudad Deportiva) on Sunday without having slept. During those seven or eight hours of the night, while my daughter and my parents are sleeping, I have nothing to do, so I play, I read things and I try to learn. I’m also a person and when things don’t go well, I laugh when I read some of the comments.”

His father, an engineer, and his mother, a housewife, travel to Valencia every time their son plays a match at Mestalla. His father reminds him from time to time of how he got him into football. “He says that when he was a child he was very heavy with the ball, that he didn’t stop all day. And what’s more, he’s a member of Getafe and he started taking me on the pitch since I was one year old. His parents always loved sports and both went running in the pine forest of Cerro de los Ángeles, in Getafe, where the boy took the opportunity to play on a futsal field. Now they go see him whenever they can and stay in the house the boy shares with his girlfriend and a Shiba Inu dog named Nala. His daughter, whom he will marry this summer, is Nerea Martí, a 22-year-old who is also an elite athlete – she is a driver at the F1 Academy – and ambassador for a fashion brand. “She travels more than me, and longer trips. That’s why he scolds me when I complain because we have a 1.5 hour drive on game day.

Hugo Duro has several tattoos in tribute to his parents, his grandmother and his sister. On his back he also tattooed a phrase full of interpretations that he took from the film “Finding Nemo”: “Keep swimming”. This is what the striker did after his bad season. And today, even if we don’t believe it, he is one of the best scorers in the League.

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