Uruguayan striker Walter Guglielmone's class and experience have shown through since he joined FC İnter Bakı, and he is convinced that Latin American spirit is enlivening their quest for a second successive Azeri title.
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Uruguayan striker Walter Guglielmone's class and experience have shown through since he joined FC İnter Bakı and he is convinced that Latin American spirit is enlivening their quest to retain the Azeri title.
The 31-year-old, who started his career with Club Nacional de Football in Montevideo, has played in France with AC Ajaccio and also had spells with Mexican sides CF Pachuca and Chiapas Fútbol Club before joining İnter in 2007. "I was surprised when I was told about İnter's interest," he said. "I read up about them and then decided 'Why not?' The attitude of the club board and the coach were the key factors in me moving here. It took me three or four months to adapt, but my family's arrival helped a lot."
The step-brother of US Città di Palermo forward Edison Cavani, Guglielmone scored eleven goals in his first season and has racked up 14 this time around with İnter a point clear of local rivals FK Bakı at the top of the table. He was the first Latin American player to sign for the club, but has since been joined by five Brazilians and a Bolivian. "I'm glad the club signed more players from the region," he said. "We have a very friendly squad. Maybe that's why we top the league for a second year running."
İnter coach Valentin Khodukin has warmed to Guglielmone, explaining: "Valter's arrival was exciting. I was initially told that he was an Italian-style player but then I saw he was a classic Latin American. We had no players from South America at that time and I had only a one-day trial to assess him and make a decision. Now he is our leader and a real professional. He's always the first one at training before the match because he starts preparing by working in the gym."
Moving to Azerbaijan demanded a change of approach from the striker, who noted: "In Uruguay we place the emphasis on technique but here in Azerbaijan tactics are paramount." His motivation to win another league title remains high, not least as he feels he has unfinished business in Europe's top club competition. "Last year we were knocked out in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League by FK Partizan," he said. "This season we are more solid, more skilful, and I am sure we will represent Azerbaijan with honour in Europe."