It’s early in the afternoon at La Turbie. A smiling Guido Carrillo walks over the CFA pitch. Having joined up with Radamel Falcao for a quick game of petanque with our partner KTK, his team has just beaten the pairing of Touré and Mendy. A pleasant interlude in a studious week-long international break for the players who have stayed behind at Monaco. But there’s no time for the Argentine forward to savour his win. He settles down on the edge of the pitch for a chat.
Two goals and two and a half assists in a week… has Guido been unleashed?
(laughs) Yes, obviously it’s nice, I’m very pleased to be back among the goals but more importantly to be helping the team. Everything’s going well at the moment, the results are good. We are a squad with a lot of quality. We have the ability to do great things this season.
Goalscorers tend to be thought of as selfish. But when we see you fighting for your teammates on the pitch, it’s hard to see you that way...
I always try to put myself in a position where I have two options: either score, or set up a teammate. I anticipate and analyse which is the best choice for the team. A striker plays to score goals, but for me the most important thing is to think about the team first and foremost, think collectively.
When you arrived in the Principality, you were soon compared with David Trezeguet, despite him having a very different game…
Yes, it’s true we have two very different profiles. David was a fox in the box, you got the impression he wasn’t very involved in the build-up, lost his man and put the ball in the net whenever he had the chance. He did great things here at AS Monaco and in Europe. I hope to be able to achieve everything he did some day. In addition to being a great player, he’s a wonderful person, and he and has family have really helped me to settle here in Monaco.
Talking about your playing style, you seem happier alongside another striker. Is that true?
When I’m on the pitch, it doesn’t matter what system we’re playing or what tactical set-up. But it’s true that I’m more used to playing as part of a front two. It gives you more opportunities and options than when you’re up front battling the defenders on your own, usually with your back to goal.
Since the start of this season, you seem much more at ease in the squad...
Absolutely. It was a matter of time. It doesn’t happen in one day. The first year was a little difficult in terms of adapting. It was a big change for me. Now I feel much more involved, I’ve got to know everyone. It’s nice to feel you’re an important part of the squad. I’m enjoying it and continuing to work every day to bring even more to the team.
You’re close to Radamel Falcao. As a striker, do you feel lucky to be playing alongside a player like that?
Falcao coming back is a good thing for me, but also for the squad. He’s a great player. We get on really well, we talk a lot, our South American background brings us together. Of course, we play in the same position and there’s a kind of competition. But that’s football. You have to fight to earn your place. The important thing is to do it in a healthy way, which is the case with us.
Last year, you often spoke about how difficult it was being away from your roots, your culture. A year after arriving here, have you settled into your new life off the pitch?
I feel a lot better this year, more at ease. I feel really integrated into life here in Monaco, I’ve made friends, I’ve adapted to a new way of life. I don’t miss Argentina as much as I did last season (smiles).