“Coming to Nacional was a dream come true”: interview with Daniel Mantilla

DAniel Mantilla arrived at Nacional without much hype or cymbalsother reinforcements arrived with more name and expectation than him, but the 25-year-old began to demonstrate his speed, dribbling and dedication on the pitch for fans to reference him.

Not much is known about his football debut which is why THE COLOMBIAN spoke to him about this and other aspects of his life and career.

How did it start?

“From an early age I loved football, I come from Bucaramanga and I started in a small school called Nantes Fútbol Club. There I did all the minor divisions up to sub-20, then they called me from Real Santander and from there I started playing and training with the professional team and that’s where I started my journey in football, which was strong but very satisfying”.

Who taught you this sport?

“My dad, who accompanied me everywhere, in training and when he had the opportunity to accompany me on trips, he also did it from school. I really owe him everything. this discipline, this faith. He told me to trust my talent a lot, to persevere and to thank God for that. It is thanks to him that I have the opportunity to be a professional footballer”.

What was the most difficult in its beginnings?

“From a very young age I was in a school where I left school at almost 4 in the afternoon and my practices started at that time, so I never managed to be with the team in my category. He would arrive at 5 or 6 a.m. and train with the old ones. I had to run in training and it was always like that, not just at school but also in the Santander national team and that made me tired, because I also came home late and couldn’t do my homework. Now I understand that this discipline helped me to train and put it into practice in the race”.

Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel?

“Well, in those moments and because of that wear and tear, especially a lot of things happened to me with the Santander national team, when I was kicked out of the team for three years. But in those moments I had the voice of encouragement from my parents and my brother, who instilled in me that I had to continue training in the same way as if I was still in the national team and that perseverance and desire gave me more strength, and from from there I stayed in the following calls and never thought of leaving football again”.

If you hadn’t been a footballer, what would you have devoted yourself to?

“Still I loved entrepreneurship, create a company. I talk about it a lot to my brother. He is an engineer and he really liked this subject. I would be a business administrator, but at the moment I am studying this degree and hope to finish it very soon. I do it virtually in a university in Bucaramanga”.

Besides studying, what do you like in your free time?

“Going out to eat with my wife in the different cities where I had the opportunity to be. Also walking, getting to know new places. In short, being a lot with the family”.

What advice has stood out in your life?

“Since I was very young, my father has always been by my side in this process of my football career and he has always instilled in me to trust in my talent despite the difficulties that have arisen along the way, to never stop believing in me. This is advice that has come to me a lot and that I practice”.

Who are your idols?

“Since I was a child, I have seen Ronaldinho videos, was a different player on the pitch with his plays, dribbling and passing. From Colombia, I always liked James, Juan Fernando Quintero. They are different players, with impressive quality, and now I follow Luis Díaz a lot, because we play in the same position. We are referring to this class of footballers who have done very well, not only at club level, but also with the national team.

He likes music?

“Yes, everything was varied. I really like vallenatobecause since childhood my parents and their friends liked it, and here in the team the teammates listen to a lot of salsa and it rubs off on you”.

A song that stands out to you?

“More than a song, I like a lot of vallenato songs, especially Los Diablitos, which is a band I listen to.”

He has children?

“My wife is pregnant, we are coming to the final months and thank goodness everything went very well, the checks were excellent and we are very happy.”

It is a boy or a girl ?

“She’s a girl and we’ll call her Sara. We are very happy and very excited about his arrival”.

What dreams do you still have to achieve in your career?

“A lot of. Obviously getting to Nacional was a feat, but I want to be champions and we can achieve that thanks to what the team has shown throughout the semester, to the excellent players there are and we we are already in the last circuits, with a great hope of being able to be in the final, but I have immediate dreams, and now it is to be champion”.

And what about the Colombian national team?

“That too and many others. Last year I had the opportunity to be in the morphocycle that was made with the players of the League. It was 4 days with the boys and the teacher, and we are left with this desire to be able to continue to be called up, that’s why we work. You have to do things well at the club, become champions and that gives you the opportunity to be closer to the national team and to one day be able to wear this jersey in an official match”.

How did you feel the first time you were in the complete Atanasio?

“It was in a game against Junior, something very exciting, because I had to have him against him, but in this game, with everyone’s support, it was something incredible. We won it and I scored my first goal and the joy was enormous”.

What is the great strength of Nacional in these circuits?

“The unity and the atmosphere of this group, the support that all the players give us and the desire to be champions. We struggle to the maximum on a daily basis. This makes us a very strong team. There are five very difficult dates left, but with all the confidence and security that there is in the team”.

What catches your attention most at Nacional?

“Their fans and the affection they gave me, it’s very nice and I appreciate it. Also, the city is beautiful, I had been there before when I played Leones. The atmosphere is incredible and you have to take advantage of this moment”.

What has been your greatest joy?

“Reaching Nacional, because it was a very important step for my career, because it is the most recognized team in Colombia, because of the Cups it has won.”

How has your wife supported your career?

“She her name is melisa florezand he has been my unconditional support, he has been at all times, not only in the good times but also in the most difficult ones, supporting me and giving me advice and I am very grateful for his company”

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