Gold medal hero Oribe Peralta: 'We had it in our heads that we'd return with a medal'

The Santos Laguna striker scored twice for Mexico in the Olympic final, giving El Tri the necessary offense to edge out Brazil and claim gold.
LONDON -- Oribe Peralta's dream performance in the Olympic final against Brazil had him as one of the most sought after players by members of the press after the game.

In the mixed zone, Peralta began by recounting the game's first goal, barely 30 seconds into the contest, where he deftly finished a Javer Aquino steal of Rafael to open his tally.

"It was Aquino's play. He stole it, pressured the ball and in the end the ball's at my feet so I just struck it quickly," the Santos Laguna striker said. "It was an important moment, you have to be prepared from the very first minute to the last one to be able to impact the scoreline," he continued. "We knew Brazil were favorites but we've proven today that we can beat them and we've done that," Peralta said.

Peralta would go on to strike twice in the match, and the Mexican's four goals on the tournament garnered him a Bronze Boot, behind Senegal's Moussa Konate and Brazil's Leandro Damiao, who was unable to score in the final.

At 28 years of age, Peralta was considered unlikely to move from Mexico to Europe before the tournament, despite his sparkling displays with Santos Laguna and with the senior Mexican national team. Despite this, Peralta told journalists he'd love a move abroad.

"I would love to play in the Premier League. It would be a challenge but it would be really great for me. We can help English teams," Peralta commented.

With Javier Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos currently playing for Premier League teams, Peralta said that the Manchester United's striker's presence in one of the world's best clubs is an inspiration. "Chicharito is an inspiration. We have to train to be like him. He scores many important goals for Manchester United which makes us happy," he noted.

According to the current Santos Laguna player, Mexico's mentality never wavered from the outset, as a podium finish was always in their minds. "This is for my children. When I left, they drew some pictures of me with a gold medal and this is the perfect gift for them. As soon as we left Mexico we had it in our heads that we'd return to Mexico with a medal," the striker said.

"It's not just me, it has been the whole team that has provided this and we have done it for the people of Mexico to show our gratitude for their support," he continued.

El Tri found further inspiration from playing three straight matches in London, as Peralta and the players were stationed at the Olympic Village following their first-place group finish.

"Being in the Village was an amazing sensation for us because we watched other athletes train and compete and it motivated us so much," he finished.

Jonathan Birchall contributed additional reporting to this article from London.

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