| Crespo enjoying new challenge in England
London: The contrast could not be more marked between Hernan Crespo’s last two encounters with Reuters.
Crespo was holding back tears when he boarded a train in the small coastal Japanese town of Hirono 16 months ago after Argentina’s shock elimination in the first round of the 2002 World Cup finals and he refused to speak to reporters. But Chelsea’s new striker was a relaxed, happy and optimistic man full of the joys of playing football in England when he was approached recently at Stamford Bridge.
Crespo, who joined Chelsea in a £16.8-million transfer from Inter Milan in August, said that moving to London was another step in a career on the ascendant.
“Am I growing' Yes, there’s no doubt. I’m living the way I would always have wanted to live,” he said.
“We can talk about the money but that’s two seconds, I don’t even sit down, I say yes, no, and that’s that.
“I play because of the passion I have for football,” Crespo said. “When I score a goal I don’t shout ‘Ah, afterwards I’m going to ask for more money’; there’s no way.”
Crespo loves the Premier League and with no commitments with the Argentina team until late March he can put all his energy into his new club. “The Premier League is a different style (of football) but at the same time fascinating,” Crespo said. “It’s great to see the crowd get into the match and they give you everything.
“There’s a dynamic in the match. It’s great to play in and at the same time to live it the way the fans do because they know that if you missed a goal you haven’t killed anyone, you missed a goal because you’re human.
“You can feel the crowd and when you score and they go ‘Yeaahhh’… it’s something incredible, beautiful.
“The truth is they live the game the way it should be, as a spectacle, a sport.”
Crespo, who grew up in the Argentine game where tricking opponents is regarded as an art form, said he also admired the code of fair play.
“I like it because they’re straight, they go for the ball as if it was the last but they get up and shake hands.