- CD Guadalajara goalkeeper was an U-17 World Cup runner-up in 2013
- Has played in Cyprus and Portugal since
- Chivas play their opening Club World Cup match on 15 December
CD Guadalajara goalkeeper Raul Gudino may only be 22, but that does not mean to say he has not already had an unforgettable experience on the field of play: appearing at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 and finishing a runner-up, after Mexico lost out in the final to Nigeria. His moment of glory came against Brazil in the quarter-finals, where he saved two penalties and scored one himself in a shoot-out.
So enjoyable was the experience and so important to his career development that the Mexican has always thought about returning to United Arab Emirates. What he never imagined was that he would be doing it at another World Cup – the club version this time – with Guadalajara.
“I have fantastic memories of that World Cup, where we had a great tournament. They’re going to stay with me for the rest of my life,” said Gudino. “I remember every moment, from the first game to the last. We’re going with the same mindset now, with the belief that we can make history and achieve big things.”
Gudino spent four of the five years separating his two World Cup experiences in Cyprus and then Portugal, where he shared a dressing room with Iker Casillas at Porto.
“I feel older now,” he said with a smile, before adding: “As the years go by you become more mature and more experienced. The time I spent in Europe, where I played with great players – and not just Iker – taught me to be as competitive as them and to maintain that level, to keep pushing on, fight the whole time and never give up.”
Earlier this year the keeper was given the chance to return to Mexican football with Guadalajara, the team where he started out and took his first steps as a youth player.
“Going back was something I’d been dreaming about,” he explained. “It’s a dream to be playing in the club where I learned my trade, where I started playing and living out a passion that I enjoy to the full. I’m looking at this whole period as if it were the last and I want to give my all in defending this jersey.”
The Gudino factfile
- Date of birth: 22 April 1996
- Height and weight: 6’5 (1.95m), 84kg
- Clubs: Uniao da Madeira (2015), Porto (2016-17), Apoel FC (2017)
Gudino is now preparing to run out at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 and is looking to apply all the lessons he learned in his previous World Cup adventure.
“It’s important to concentrate throughout the whole 90 minutes,” he explained. “That’s the crucial part, knowing that the match lasts those 94 or 95 minutes and that you always have to give it your all, put a lot of intensity and passion into it and contest every ball. Chivas are a young side but we’ve got experience too, which you don’t always see. We want to kick on and make history.”
For the time being, Gudino’s mind is focused on Kashima Antlers, his club’s first opponents. If Guadalajara are to fulfil their dream, they need to see off the Japanese side in what is a crucial opening game: “Both sides are under pressure, us and them. That’s what makes football great, though: it gives you those kinds of challenges and goals.”
Inevitably, Gudino is also contemplating the possibility of facing the mighty Real Madrid: “The chance to take on players like that and find out how good we are would be fantastic, and not just for me but for everyone. But at the end of the day they’re the same as us: they’re human just like us. They’re not from a different planet.”
Both keeper and club know what they have to do, and their goals are clear: to make history and reach the final, something no other Mexican side has done before. Gudino might even make up for what happened five years ago and lift the trophy this time around.
“We have to dream, believe in it and then make it happen,” he added. “We want this so badly and we’ll be doing all we can to make our dream a reality.”
|The match – Second round||Kashima Antlers – CD Guadalajara|
|Where:||Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium|
|When:||15 Dec 2018 – 17:00 Local time|