Gonzalo Peillat – Man of the Year 2016

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Who is Gonzalo Peillat?

Gonzalo Peillat is 24 years old, he is an international hockey player who played his first match at the Champions Challenge in 2011. Actually he has a big roll in the Argentinian team as an important drag flicker. He is an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro!

Who were your idols or inspirations along the way? And who do you think will be the future stars?

When I was a child I always tried to copy Marco Riccardi (international hockey player). Nowadays, I like Matias Rey a lot, he is one of our best players worldwide.

We have a really good Junior team with a lot of young talents. I’m sure that they are going to play in the national team very soon and probably become key players in the future.

Most special moments of your career?

I am never going to forget my first Olympic Games in London.
It was really special for me because I was only 18 years old and I still remember the moment when all the athletes were in the stadium waiting for the Olympic flame. When it came it was amazing and I couldn’t believe that I was there. But the best moment in my life was when we got the Olympic Gold Medal and listened the anthem in Rio de Janeiro with all our people watching that moment. It was unique.

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How do you find German hockey? What are the biggest differences comparing with the Dutch?

I enjoyed a lot so far and also learnt to play a completely different way of hockey as I was used. We have strong players and also really good young talents from Germany U21, obviousley we can improve in a lot of things. Coaches and players are working on it to have a great second part of the season.

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In the Netherlands we used to play more zonal and they are more central when attacking. It is a really nice hockey, more vertical with a lot of counter attacks. In Germany almost every team plays man to man. The game is 100% tactics, structure and control of the ball.

How popular is Hockey in Argentina right now?

We are known all over the world for our football and rugby. These two sports really dominate at home. For many years, hockey has been regarded as a women’s sport which has meant that we’ve had a big shortage of players for the men’s game. Today, with the help of television coverage, social media – and maybe just a little extra help from us winning the Gold medal at the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, men’s hockey is becoming more and more popular

What was the key to win the Olympics?

Our key at the olympics was that we were the most compact team. Our priority was defend as we never did. We knew that playing in this way we would have less chances to attack so we should have been very effective and try to take the best of every single chance. We realized that with a good corner also we could get huge things and we trust each other and dreamed together that we could do it!

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Have you got any ritual before the game or any special thing you do for every match?

I like to be really relaxed before the games. We always listen music in our way to the stadium then at the changing room too. Something that I don’t like to do is when we run to the field with the starting line up of both team, I never walk the side line…

Which are the main caracteristics to be a top hockey player in your opinion?

The main characteristics to be a top hockey player are too many.
The most important I think is to be always healthy, a good physical condition, it means try to have a good diet, you should have a good and strong head because you are going to go throw difficult moments:   Don’t be selected for a list, not making the squad, injuries, go to other country to play, etc…

You have at the moment the most feared penalty corner shot in the world, what makes you different from the others?

I think every player has a different technique and there are so many good drag flickers around the world. If we talk about what is the main difference from each other we should talk about the percent. I think a good percentage is more than 33%, it means scoring 1 out of 3 or more…

Hockey is slightly getting more popular on media, players are getting better salaries, what does the future brings to our game?

Of course it is great, it means that hockey is getting bigger and bigger. I wish the hockey players in the future get more money and have more hockey matches on TV.

Thats why I am a big part of the FIH Ambassador Programme.
This programme try to make a big impact spreading the excitement of the game and popularizing the sport worldwide. Inspiring the next generation is central to the success and growth of hockey. Our presence is very important in this kind of project, because what we see is that young people – who may be new to hockey – like to interact with us, they want to have a personal connection with us. They want to be able to ask us questions about what we do everyday and how we train to reach maximum performance. Maybe in the future we can see a big sport as it is football, basket or tennis today.

What are your future plans and ambitions?

I would like to have a great World Cup. I would like to get that title.

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Who would you like to see interviewed by self-pass?

I would like to see Jorrit Croon.

Gonzalo Peillat

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