The former San Lorenzo man has made a promising start to life in Serie A, but is under no illusions as to the difficulty of breaking into the national sideEXCLUSIVE
By Andres Roman
Catania midfielder Alejandro Gomez has revealed that he still hopes to represent Argentina in the future, but acknowledges it will be no easy task to force his way into the squad.
The 24-year-old joined the Serie A side in 2010 and has impressed with his form so far this season, notching four goals and five assists in his 14 league appearances.
However, the former San Lorenzo man is under no illusions as to the difficulty of breaking into Alejandro Sabella's Albiceleste set-up, particularly when playing for a club outside of the Scudetto's major players.
He told Goal.com: "Here in Italy, people see me playing every week and they see I'm doing fine, scoring goals. So they ask me: 'When do you think you'll be called up by Argentina?'
"But I always tell them the same thing. In the position I play, there are players that are world class. They play at the top clubs in the world and I think it'll be complicated for me to make it. I realise I play for Catania and that doesn't exactly sell papers like if I played, for example, for Inter. That's the reality."
Gomez admitted that he could be tempted to play for Italy once he acquires a European passport, as he feels he would have more opportunities with the Azzurri side.
He continued: "I don't have a European passport yet. This is a very personal feeling, but I think that if in two or three years' time I get my Italian passport, I have more chances of playing for Italy than I do for Argentina. You never know.
"Maybe if I move to a bigger club I get a call up for Argentina. I see [Alejandro] Sabella is giving chances to a lot of players. It's tough to get in, but the possibility is always there."
Gomez is one of a number of Argentine players to represent Catania, and he revealed his belief that the core of South Americans make them a tough side to beat in an extremely competitive division.
"There's a saying here which goes: 'This is probably not the prettiest league to watch, but it is the most difficult,'" he said. "They say that if you play in Italian football, you can play anywhere in the world.
"Internationally it's a well-known fact about the winning mentality Argentine players have. They know how we can react and they know we'll go for the win. Imagine 10 Argentine players on the pitch for Catania - we would go for it until we die. Every time we have to play against the big clubs, they know they'll have a tough time against us.
"I knew this was a small club which is growing and I came here with hopes of playing in the Champions League, of fighting at the top of Serie A, but they made me realise here that what I had in mind wasn't exactly the club's plan. The objective here is to be safe from relegation. But honestly, in the last two seasons we have been putting a lot of points on the board and not suffering that much.
"We have a nice little team here now. We try to play an attractive kind of football. Last year they called us "Piccolo Barcellona" [The Little Barcelona] because [Vincenzo] Montella is a coach who shares his philosophy with [Pep] Guardiola and he helped us play good football. The board here at Catania invested €60 million on the training facilities, so we have one of the best places to work in Italy."
Gomez also had words of praise for former coach Diego Simeone, and revealed the current Atletico Madrid boss had some stern words of advice during their time together in Argentina.
"I used to argue a lot with my manager at San Lorenzo, Diego Simeone," he added. "He used to tell me: 'Whenever you are sold to Europe, you are going to be playing on the wings because the majority of teams play 4-3-3'.
"I have a lot to thank Simeone for, because I was a stubborn 19 or 20-year-old kid and I had other things in my head. But he was right with everything he told me. I was lucky to have him again as coach at Catania, and him and his staff are awesome."