De Guzmán sees the loss of his national record as an international positive for Canadian football | The Canadian News

While proud of his achievements with the national team, Julian de Guzmán sees only positives in the fact that his record for men’s international matches in Canada is about to be broken.

On the one hand, the player who approaches the mark of 89 international matches is Atiba Hutchinson.

“We go back a lot … He’s like a brother to me,” said de Guzmán, who retired in January 2017 after a stellar career in France, Germany, Greece and Spain, as well as North America.

“I think he’s a great example of what a career should be like … So for him to be the guy to break this record, I mean you can’t ask a better person to do it.”

READ MORE: Atiba Hutchinson Named Canada’s Best Male Soccer Player

De Guzmán, who also hopes Cyle Larin or Jonathan David will surpass Dwayne De Rosario’s 22-goal mark, believes that seeing those records fall shows that Canadian football is heading in the right direction.

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“I’ve said this to a lot of players, from (Jonathan) Osorio to (Sam) Piette, Richie Laryea, Doneil Henry, I’ve always said ‘Hey, these records, if they don’t break, then that means I’m not going to the World Cup. Mundo, ”said de Guzmán, who is now also a television commentator and co-owner of League One Ontario’s Simcoe County Rovers FC.

“The moment these things break down, they’re all good signs pointing towards Qatar (2022), that points towards ‘Now, this is a Canadian men’s national team that plays and plays in World Cups.’ These are good signs. “

And records are bound to be broken. Before De Guzman, there was Paul Stalteri (84 games). And before him, Randy Samuel (82).

The 38-year-old Hutchinson, who is a beloved captain for Turkey’s Besiktas, where Larin also plays, is in 88 caps before Canada’s World Cup qualifiers in Edmonton. He will also be the captain of Canada for the match.

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Canada, currently ranked 48th in the world, plays No. 45 Costa Rica on Friday and No. 9 Mexico on November 16, both at Commonwealth Stadium.

READ MORE: Team Canada receives reinforcements for crucial World Cup qualifying matches in Edmonton

Hutchinson, in his fifth World Cup qualifying campaign, has no great personal records or accolades.

“It is not something that I have in the back of my mind and that I am really pushing,” he told a virtual availability Monday from Edmonton. “Obviously I’m very close to that now, so a little more thought has been given to it.”

Hutchinson was more than happy to talk about De Guzman, saying how much he respected his fellow midfielder and appreciated his game.

“I was still looking forward to being a part of what’s going on here with the national team.” “When I get a chance to get another game to match Julian, it would be a great achievement, of course. Playing so many games and being the … leader of Canada would mean a lot to me. “

Christine Sinclair is Canada’s all-time leader in international matches with 306. She leads the world in goals with 188.

READ MORE: ‘The worst experience of my life’: captain of Canadian football on penalties in the Olympic final

A long list of Canadian coaches – John Herdman is Canada’s eighth senior coach – has recognized Hutchinson’s talents. Hutchinson has started in 87 of his 88 senior appearances.

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“Atiba is our best player,” then-Canada coach Benito Floro said in 2014. “He is Besiktas’s best player.”

At 46, Herdman is only eight years older than his employer.

Tajon Buchanan was three when the 19-year-old Hutchinson made his Canadian senior career debut in a 4-0 loss to the United States in January 2003. David was also three at the time and Alphonso Davies two.

His teammates marvel at Hutchinson’s professionalism, work ethic and ability to stay on top of the game.

“I mean the guy is a Canadian legend,” Laryea told a recent Toronto FC virtual availability. “He is 38 years old and continues to play at a high level, playing the Champions League. And now leading this group of players we have to try to qualify for a World Cup.

“So I would just say that (he) is a great role model for me, he is a first class guy on and off the field, a true professional. I don’t know, I could sit on this call with you all day and explain things to you about him, because he is a big part of what this country has to offer. “

Defender Derek Cornelius says Hutchinson sets the tone for the team, in his own way.

“Whenever he speaks, people listen. And he does it the right way too, because he’s also a guy that if you have an opinion or want to say something, he’ll listen to you regardless of whether it’s your first camp or you’ve been around for a while.

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“And that makes him a great leader.”

Hutchinson worked his way up the ranks and across Europe, building his career carefully, starting with Osters and Helsingborg in Sweden and FC Copenhagen in Denmark. He joined PSV Eindhoven Dutch in 2010 before moving to Besiktas in 2013.

The six-foot-one Hutchinson, named Canada’s male player of the year six times, doesn’t come with the flash or sizzle of a Davies. His slim pipe cleaner legs deceive at first notice.

But watch the game, you have the ability to be in the right place. It’s like a soccer vacuum cleaner, vacuuming balls and then holding opponents at bay before finding a teammate.

Besiktas fans call it Octopus for its long legs and long reach.

Canada’s captain Atiba Hutchinson (left) walks away from Honduras’s Kervin Arriaga during the second half of qualifying action for the World Cup in Toronto on Thursday, September 2, 2021.


Canadian defender Sam Adekugbe, who recently moved to Hatayspor in Turkey, has first-hand experience of what Hutchinson is seen in Turkey.

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“Atiba’s reputation with the Canadian team is the reputation he has in Turkey. And probably even more, ”he said. “Atiba’s name carries a lot of weight in Turkey. He is known not only for his personality, but also for his quality on the field ”.

Hutchinson, who is married with three children, took time to visit Adekugbe at his Istanbul hotel on his way to Hatayspor in Antakya, about 1,100 kilometers south of the Turkish capital.

While his time with the Canadian team in recent years has been limited to the games that matter, Hutchinson is still willing to make the long drive from Istanbul when necessary.

He thought about ending his international career after the last failed qualifying cycle for the World Cup. But after talking to Herdman, he decided to continue the journey.

“It has been a long road and many ups and downs,” he said. “But I am definitely happy and proud to continue to be involved in this program and to see the level it is going at right now, with all the success that we have had. It’s something very special to be involved in yet. I will continue to do everything I can to be a part of this and push the limits. “

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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