Leonardo Villar makes his debut in the Peruvian Primera División for Sport Huancayo.
It was 2017 when Leonardo Villar first learned of the possibility of travelling to Europe to train in the Mecca for world football. “Alberto Masías Ramírez, director of the lower categories of Club Deportivo Universidad San Martín de Porres, told me he wanted me to train at Marcet Academy for a few months. My family supported the initiative and so I got on a plane to Spain with the objective of improving my level”.
In Barcelona, Leonardo left his comfort zone and began to adapt to a different play of football. “I had to learn to play very intensely, always looking back and ready at every moment”, remembers the Peruvian centre-back. Over the course of his stay in Spain, he was able to apply all he learned in matches against clubs such as Atlético de Madrid, Sevilla, Villarreal, Girona, Osasuna, Estrasburgo, Zaragoza and Rayo Vallecano, in amongst others.
“At Marcet they would film all the play so that we could later visualize it together with the analysts and, in this way, correct our errors. The training sessions were very personalized”, explains Leonardo. “Nevertheless, the hardest thing was being away from my country and my family for the first time. Initially it wasn’t easy, but my teachers and classmates all helped me a lot. They always looked out for me and made me feel at home”.
With his experience in Barcelona over, Leonardo returned to Peru to reap the benefits of all his training. His club, USMP, decided to promote him to the reserves of the first team, who have been firmly seated in the top league of the Andean country for many years. Next, he signed for Sport Huancayo, the club of his birth-place. “I trained for two months with the reserve side, until the coach phoned me up to let me know that they were promoting me to the first team. It was a very proud moment for me and my family, who have seen me grow accompanied as always with a ball at my feet”.
“Playing for Sport Huancayo makes me very happy because I was born there”, remarks Leonardo, who debuted in the Peruvian Primera División with a win against Binacional. “Some of my teammates are brilliant, as footballers and in their humanity. Everyday I learn from them. Right now my aim is to consolidate myself in the team, but I’m aware that this is only the beginning”.