Julio Cruz gave an interview where he spoke about his time with the Argentina national team, Gabriel Batisuta, Lionel Messi and much more.
Cruz played 22 matches with the Argentina national team with one of them coming in a World Cup quarter final. He scored his penalty in the shootout and that was his final World Cup game. If you missed it, we had a piece on the former Inter man. Speaking in an interview with the AFA website, here’s what Cruz had to say about it all.
What it meant for his career to play with the Argentina national team:
“Wearing the colors of Argentina is the best thing that can happen to you as a footballer. Today, I saw a picture of myself in 1998 or 1999. I was very young and there I was, next to some beasts. With time, I understood that representing an entire country is something immense, difficult to put into words.”
What he remembers from the 2006 World Cup:
“I lived various periods. I was lucky enough to be part of the Argentina national team for most of my career. In 1998, I wasn’t selected to travel but I was part of the national team. In 2002, I was part of the World Cup qualifiers but Bielsa didn’t select me. And finally in 2006, I was selected to go to Germany.
“I was proud that Jose (Pekerman) had given me the opportunity to be part of that team that was meant for more. The elimination hurt a lot. It was a team full of great players and great people. It’s things that happen in football where you win, you draw and you lose. Everyone wants to win but we also have to recognize that when you lose, the important thing is to give it your all and I believe we did that.”
Which great players did was he with while in the Argentina national team:
“If I had to mention one, I always admired Gabriel Batistuta because he played in my position and as a goalscorer, he was extraordinary. After that, I wasn’t able to play with Diego (Maradona), I would have loved to have shared a locker room with him.
“From the present, logically it’s Messi. Although he was young, you could see he was going to be different.”
What year was his best:
“I believe my best period was from when I was 25 until 33 years of age. I felt it. I remember a time with Bologna where I was very mature. I believe my second year in Italy, I was reaching my peak. I saw football another way.”