By Mauro Carturan
Q: This year, Totti has won the Golden Foot with champions like Raul Gonzales Blanco and Beckham. You have been among the candidates for three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006, what do you think about the award to the captain of AS Roma?
A: I’m glad, Totti is a true champion. He has always played at a very high level, giving the team the chance to stay on top for many years.
Q: Speaking of champions we have to talk about Leo Messi. Do you think he reached the level of the “Maestro” Maradona?
A: Messi is still young, it is difficult to make comparisons. I can tell you they are really similar.
Q: You’ve played a lot for your national team, scoring many goals. Your favorite striker to place in the middle of Argentina’s attack?
A: Bah, I do not know. For now, I’m not the coach. I will keep playing. It should be enough (he laughs).
Q: Okay, let’s play with three names: Batistuta, Messi and Riquelme. What would be your best partner?
A: I say Messi.
Q: And what about Kaka, Shevchenko and Ibrahimovic? Three other champions you know very well.
A: I was lucky to play with all three. Each one, in a particular moment was the best in the world.
Q: Are you sure you are not going to be a coach?
A: Now I think to play, then certainly I will think about this possibility.
Q: Let’s go back to Argentina. They won the FIFA World Cup 24 years ago. Why so many years without a triumph?
A: I think the post-Maradona has been a big problem to be addressed. Now with Messi we have found a very good substitute for Diego, but the point is to make the right players around him. More or less what happened to Maradona in 1986 FIFA World Cup. It seems to be the only way to create a tough team. Messi can play at least two more World Cup. Even Brazil took 24 years to win again after Pelé.
Q: The national team is definitely something different from a club. You spent most of your career in Italy. What do you think it adds to a player to play in Serie A?
A: For sure the tactical discipline. The Italian league is the most difficult to play. Here you learn a lot.
Q: Crespo is having a long career. Things you got from the coaches you had?
A: I had so many good coaches that would be hard to think or talk about one in particula! r. Each of them gave me something very important.
Q: We always talk about Maradona. He is always on the front page. How would you rate the coach Maradona?
A: You can only judge him from the World Cup played in South Africa last summer. Certainly, he has given so much joy and enthusiasm than everyone else. It is the best possible thing beyond the results he did not get.
Q: Having a career like yours is the dream of many players. The secret of this longevity?
A: The seriousness, professionalism and desire to do. They give you the continuity you need every week.
Q: Looking back to your past what is the most beautiful victory?
A: The Copa Libertadores with River Plate.
Q: And the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul?
A: Well, that game is not a regret. It’s a disappointment, but a pride too, because you can get to the finals and lose. I am pleased to play that kind of matches. They are exactly what makes you proud to be a player. I would say that, together with the elimination of Argentina from the World Cup in Korea, Istanbul 2005 is the biggest disappointment of my entire career.
Q: Would you do a comparison between Crespo at 35 and the one who had 25?
A: There are ten years apart (Crespo laughs). Surely my legs run less rapidly, but the scent of the goal is always the same.
Q: You’re back where you played until 10 years ago. Differences between Parma at the time and now? The city has changed?
Q: The club has changed a lot, because the property has changed. The city improved a lot.
Q: Today, many players think in advance about their future they’ll live as “ordinary people”. Have you already thought about what to do after retirement?
A: I have several ideas, but I have not yet decided. I’ll play until I can help my team. I want to focus all my energies on that. I have a contract until June and once finished I’d like to keep playing for Parma.
Q: Football means team more than singles. How important is for a footballer to win personal prizes like the Golden Foot?
A: For me, the team always comes first. Winning with your club helps a lot when you run for personal trophies. They are a consequence.
Q: You have scored over 300 goals. Which is the one you like most?
A: I remember all my goals one by one. The ones I scored in finals are specials. I have the pride to say I scored in all the finals in which I took part, from the Copa Libertadores to the Champions League.
Q: This year, back to Parma, you are living something already lived in the past. What about Crespo and what about Parma?
A: Many things changed. Probably there are no links between the two situations. Just to give you an example, my president is my age; he is a great entrepreneur. We often think in the same way, but I know I have to give him my contribute and my experience. I’m learning a lot from him.
Q: Last question is about Italian football. What ‘s the best team you played with in Serie A?
A: Inter Milan recently champion of all and A.C. Milan of 2005, and let me say something about Chelsea too. I have been part of the team who scored more than ninety points in the Premier League.
Salvatore Siviero for www.goldenfoot.com