27.09.2017Bayer 04

The striker with a nose for goal

Both Bayer 04 and Lucas Alario had to be extremely patient before the striker could make his first appearance for his new club. After his former club River Plate refused to accept the transfer payment, which led to the 24-year-old Argentinian being refused permission to play, a fast track FIFA hearing was put into effect. FIFA gave their approval on Thursday evening and that marked the end of a 20-day waiting period. The striker made his debut for the Werkself on Sunday in the 3-0 victory over Hamburg SV. The new number 13 took time out three days later to face the press.

The new signing responds to questions on…

 …his debut against HSV and his goal to make it 2-0: "I'm very happy I was finally able to play for Bayer 04 on Sunday after weeks of uncertainty. Of course, I'm glad I was able to score a goal in my first game. But it's more important to me the team won at home and picked up three important points."

 …the transfer wrangle: "My target was to play here in Leverkusen and I'm happy it's  finally happened. A lot of things have been said and written about this case in recent  weeks – and unfortunately it wasn't always about football. I'm very relieved it's over and that I can help the team out in competitive games. That's the most important thing for me."

 …a possible problem with playing rhythm due to the lack of permission to play: "I just love playing football. A lot of things have gone through my mind in the past few weeks. Of course, it's better if you can distract yourself by playing at times like that. It wasn't easy. But I don't think I've got out of a rhythm. Also because I've been focused on training in the past few weeks and I've  worked extremely hard.“

 …the German language: "I try to learn German every day. That's important for integration and, of course, for me to be able to speak to my team-mates on the pitch as soon as possible. I've had great support from my team-mates so far and I'm very grateful for that. They've contributed to me feeling at home here from the start."

 …the atmosphere at the BayArena against HSV: "Everybody knows Argentinian football fans are very  passionate. But our fans gave us great support throughout the game against HSV on Sunday. Fortunately, we are able to show our gratitude with a win. I liked the way the  fans were very patient."

 …his nickname 'El Pipa': "One of my youth coaches at Club Atletico Colon in Santa Fe gave me the nickname and it was the same at River Plate later on. I'm called that because people said and say I've got a big nose…(he laughs)"

 …Friday's Bundesliga match against Schalke 04: "It's a very important game for us. We want to carry on where we left off at the weekend and pick up three points away from home so we can continue to move up the table."

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