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6.01.2020Bayer 04

'Both an honour and a responsibility'

Exequiel Palacios sat down with journalists after initial contact with his team-mates and his first training session. The 20-year-old Argentinian who is just known as 'Pala' on the pitch, revealed his first impressions, spoke about his targets and strengths plus the big footsteps he's following in…
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Exequiel Palacios on…

…first impressions of the Werkself:
I had a great reception from the team and I'm very happy to be here – in spite of the language barrier. It was a bit much having to try remember all the names on the first day. But I really liked the communal meal and time in the rooms and it was even better in the training session. I knew before I came and it's a very strong team in terms of technique with exceptionally good players. The physical side is completely different from Argentina and I'll have to get used to that as quickly as possible.

…the decision to join Bayer 04:
It's a great chance for me to make the move to Europe. I could see something’s happening here and I also spoke to Javier Pinola and Lucas Alario about the club beforehand. The decision to leave my boyhood club wasn't easy at first – I've played for River Plate since I was five years old. But after long discussions with my family about the opportunity to move to such a big club as Bayer 04 Leverkusen I didn't need to think about it too long in the end. My partner, my parents and my brother will be with me in Germany.

…his role and targets at Bayer 04:
I see myself as a player who can make the final pass that leads to a goal. At the same time, I won't forget about working back. However, setting up the striker the ball is my primary target. I always give 100 per cent and fight to the end. I'm very versatile – on the right, left also as a number ten. For me it's always about helping the team. I hope we can win all our games and go through to the next rounds of the Europa League. I'm also aiming to show what I can do here so I can be at the next Copa América (South American championships; ed.). Unfortunately, I missed the last tournament due to injury.

…strengths and potential:
My biggest strength is being able to remain calm in difficult situations. Nevertheless, I know I've still got a lot to learn and have to work on playing the final ball quickly and accurately. With the players and team-mates around me that shouldn't be too difficult. Mentally I’m prepared for this new chapter and I will do all I can to help the team out straight away.

…the significance of the number 25 shirt:
I know Bernd Schneider wore that shirt and I looked into it beforehand. I will try to represent the club to the best of my ability. It's both an honour and a responsibility to wear the shirt with that number.

…possible consequences of his red cards in the last cup game as well as the last league game for River Plate:
Bayer 04 are already discussing it. The club is doing everything possible to make sure I'm able to play in the first Bundesliga game. In effect, I was shown the red cards for retaliation. Perhaps we South Americans have a different mentality… But I'm not a bad lad because of that.

…spectacular games and experiences:
For my young age, I've already played a lot of important, difficult and tough games. That includes some special ones such as winning the Copa final and other matches against Boca Juniors, the biggest rivals of River Plate. On top of that, there's the passion of the fans… It's incredible the way and how much Argentinian fans love football. But I can live with the emotions being somewhat less frenetic here in Europe.  

…the significance of the tattoo on his calf:
The tattoo is of St Expeditus. My family and I are very religious. St Expeditus has very often helped us and that's why I very much believe in him.

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