Adrián Guerrero, from ‘flipao’ to champion

Last November, Adrian Guerrero (Blanes, 1988) scored the goal with which FC Zürich defeated Sion on matchday 14 of the Swiss First Division. Later he told the press that yes, his team was ready to become national champion for the first time since 2009. “I was through the roof. I always said that we would go game by game, but that day I said why not, to win the league It was a dream and that we were going to fight to make it come true. Someone called me ‘flipao’, even some rivals wrote me on Instagram“, reveals the Catalan side. After those statements, Zürich chained 11 games without losing and on May 1 was proclaimed champion of the Swiss Super League. André Breitenreiter They had four days left to end the tyranny of Young Boys, winner of the tournament in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. “I have sometimes thought about responding, but I am not one to pass bills,” adds a full Adrián Guerrero laughing after conquering his first title as a professional footballer: “A year ago it was unimaginable, that’s why I give it a lot of value. I consider myself lucky”.

“When they contacted me, they told me that they wanted to compete again for the championships and be a big team in Switzerland. I have the hope of returning the club to the place that belongs to its history,” Guerrero revealed in AS last January. What he did not expect is that the club needed so little time to meet its ambitious goal. In fact, the bets gave FC Zürich as one of the candidates for relegation. “Many new players arrived, the coach was also new… That was coupled with the fact that the preseason did not go well and some experts said that we were going to be last. But in football there is nothing written. That is why it is such a beautiful sport “, details Guerrero, who gives much of the credit to his coach, the German André Breitenreiter: “When he arrived he said that winning the league was possible. We all look at each other strangely. Especially since Young Boys had been doing very well for many years. That comment went a bit unnoticed, but weeks later, while we were eating, he insisted that we were going to fight for the championship. He had it clear and in the end we have achieved it”.

“Sometimes we believe that outside of Spain it is very cold and we are afraid to go out, but my experience has been incredible.”

Adrian Guerrero

Breitenreiter, who in Germany was promoted to the Bundesliga with Paderborn and Hannover 96 and played in the Europa League with Schalke 04, turned Zurich into an almost perfect machine. “We press up high, we make quick transitions, we try to steal and look directly for the opposite goal, we press one on one in the rival field… He has found the position in which each player performs best. He has given us a lot of confidence and we have managed to be better than what we thought. I, personally, I have scored four goals and given 10 assists. These are numbers that I would never have imagined”, confesses Guerrero, who plays as a left winger in a system of three central defenders and has a lot of weight in both areas. “In my debut I scored a goal, on the second day I gave two assists, on the third another… I thought: ‘This is my year.’ And since then everything has been rolling. I feel physically and mentally better than ever”, discovers the Spaniard, forced to “generate many things in attack and contribute in defense”. “My job is different from that of a full-back. I’m the only player on the wing”complete.

The Swiss Super League has become a springboard to reach big clubs and Adrián Guerrero, who has established himself as one of the great footballers in the championship, knows it: “The club is aware that my goal is to make the leap to a top league. Whether it’s short, medium or long term”. However, the Catalan is calm “because I have two years left on my contract and I’m very comfortable at FC Zürich”, who will play in the UEFA Champions League qualifying phase after winning the league for the 13th time in its history.”Playing in the Champions League is an incentive. and play the group stage a dream. The previous phase is going to be tough because we are going to face teams that have had great seasons, but we will work hard to reach the group phase.” Adrián Guerrero dreams big, and much of his growth has to do with the decision going to play abroad: “I had always been curious to see what it would be like to play in other countries and I was clear that, if the opportunity arose, I would live the experience. Sometimes we think that outside of Spain it is very cold and we are afraid to go out, but for me it is being incredible”.