Pedro León: “At first people were surprised to see that I came to Fuenlabrada”

PEight signings of such brilliance are remembered in the Second Division as that of Pedro León (Mula, 1986) for Fuenlabrada. The talented winger returned this summer to the south of Madrid, although not to return to Getafe, the club of his loves, but to stop at a ‘Fuenla’ where he has fallen on his feet and, in a matter of weeks, he has won over the fans. Now, the footballer attends MARCA to talk about the great moment so that he lives at Fernando Torres within the framework of LaLiga SmartBank.

Getafe is my team, I follow them daily and I will always be from ‘Geta’, I have a special love for them

Pedro León, on the bench of Fernando Torres with the journalist
Pedro León, on the Fernando Torres bench with the journalistJOSE A. GARCIA
He wanted to start with his famous arrival at Fuenlabrada. How did they convince you to sign?
Last year, it was not a good year for me or for Eibar. After five years, we descended. I wanted to continue in the First Division, but there were many doubts about my physique. And if he finished in Second, he was clear that he wanted to go to Madrid. I waited several months to see what would come of it, and that was when the possibility of Fuenlabrada arose. They had spoken highly of the club to me, and then Oltra called me. And it was talking to him and he convinced me.
The team has not started badly, but has four draws in a row. What is missing to win?
Of the six games, we have only lost the first, and in the 94th minute. It is true that we have also won only one, but almost always we have been closer to winning than losing. In some games we have had some luck, as with Zaragoza, but in others we are lacking, as happened with Huesca. I think the team is in the construction phase, with many new players, but we are going up and we are improving. It remains for the new ones to finish adapting to what the coach asks for, and we are on the right track. The other day, against Huesca, which is a rival that will be at the top, we were superior. And at home.
What did Oltra say to convince him to come here?
In the two months that I was watching the market, several First and Second teams showed interest in me, although there was no formal offer. But Fuenla had no doubts about me, or about my physical condition. And all that confidence that the market was not giving me, the club and Oltra gave me. I needed to compete and I wanted to go back to Madrid, to be in a serious team and with a coach who trusted me 100%, at a time in my career when the market didn’t.
We talked before about the confidence that Oltra has given him. Do you remember any advice from a coach that has marked you in your career?
I have learned something from everyone, both for better and for worse. The coach who has marked me the most has been Mendilíbar, whom I consider my friend. But, as in any friendship relationship, there are good and bad moments. And last year, it wasn’t that good. Then I remember Míchel and Luis García Plaza from my time at Getafe, who helped me a lot.
Regarding coaches, I also wanted to ask you about that famous phrase by José Mourinho, in which he said that you were neither Zidane nor Maradona. What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you saw his statements?
I don’t remember very well what it was that I felt. But I always try to keep the positive, even the bad things. Because you also learn from them.
What do you think was missing to have succeeded at Real Madrid?
(Thinks) I don’t know. In soccer, a coach can take you to the top or not. And they are things that you cannot control. But you also learn from the bad, and I also did it from my time there. I am very proud of the race that I have done. I have been in Primera for 14 years and this is my 18th in professional football.
Well, 14 years in the best league in the world … and why not enjoy it again with Fuenlabrada?
(Laughs) Hopefully! We know that we are within a range of teams that we are not favorites to be at the top, but that we can fight to do so. And I wish it would. In particular, I am 34 years old for 35, but I feel very well, as in the best moment of my career.
He told me before those doubts that he had regarding his physical condition. But now he says that he is in the best moment of his career …
In part, I can understand the doubts. In the end, it came from years in which I have had several operations: on the knee, on the fascia, on the back … But last year I did not miss any training. What I played or not was Mendilibar’s decision, who trusted me little, despite the great relationship we have. But at the level of form, I was feeling very good. And even the physical trainers told me. And this year, I really wanted to compete and I knew I was going to find myself this good.
Three days ago he scored his first goal against Lugo with Fuenla, which was a great goal. What do people who see you on the street say to you and who see you as one of their new idols?
I am very grateful to Fuenla. I wanted a club where I could compete because I was feeling very well. And I knew that here he was going to give everything to enjoy. People were surprised at the beginning to see that I arrived at Fuenlabrada, but it is seen that I come to join and I am very happy for the support they are giving me.
Pedro León wanted to return to Madrid … and continue in blue.
That’s it. Today I am blue, I am from Getafe. It’s my team. I follow it daily. It’s a shame things aren’t working out for them. I lived there for six years that marked me a lot. And I will always be from the ‘Geta’.
I have to ask him. Wasn’t there the opportunity this summer to have returned to Getafe?
Well … in this football thing you can never do calculations. Now, the only certainty is that I am very proud and happy to be at Fuenla. Although I have a special love for Getafe, it will continue to be that way and when I retire, I will continue to watch ‘Geta’ games. Just like I do today.
He has commented several times that he would like to do triathlon when he finishes his career. It seems that the bicycle is not something exclusive to his brother, the cyclist Luis León Sánchez …
In the end, that desire comes from the love that we have in my family for the bicycle. Every time football leaves me, I try to ride my bike. And I also like to swim. When I leave football, I would like to try triathlon. Although in amateur mode, of course.
He has also said on occasion that he would like to finish his career at Real Murcia, the club in his city and where he started in professional football …
Yes, although in sports and in life plans do not always go the way you want. It would be a good end of the race, to finish where I started and in my country. But hopefully there is much left for that. I want to continue playing for a long time.
He has returned to Second after fourteen years in First. How was the division found?
Very different from how I remembered her from my time at Murcia. Now, it is a very competitive category. But it is also very different from Primera. I think I’m adjusting well. I am very optimistic and we are competing very well. And the goal is to keep growing.
With which footballer have you got on the best in the dressing room?
We have a very healthy team. They have welcomed me very well and I get along very well with everyone. And that is what really impresses: that in the barely 40 days that I have been here, I feel as if I have been in Fuenlabrada for four years. The costumes are very close.
After 14 seasons in the First Division and more than 400 games in professional football … what remains for Pedro León to accomplish in football?
More than a dream, I have one wish left: to be promoted to First with Fuenlabrada. As we spoke before, we are in a group of teams that we can fight to be at the top. But we’ll see what happens.

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