Jose Luis Gamonal | From Primera B to Malta: “I live in an incredible place that I used to see only on Instagram”

On January 16, José Luis Gamonal began a new adventure in his career. At the age of 33, the national goalkeeper has his first experience abroad. Destiny? The paradisiacal Malta, a European country that is among the 10 smallest in the world in terms of surface area and has only 475,000 inhabitants.

“Here they speak Maltese, English and Italian. English has cost me a bit, because the talks are in that language. I will do a course now, because I have to learn yes or yes. There are Argentines and Brazilians with whom I talk a lot and they have helped me a lot in these first days ”, he tells AS Chile the former goalkeeper of Deportes Temuco.


‘meme’ he is already a player of Marsaxlokk, a team that plays in the Maltese Premier League and is in eleventh position after 16 dates (there are 14 teams in total).

– How long ago did you get this chance?

– I reached an agreement with Fernández Vial to leave and I had Juan Cruz Gil in Malta, a former teammate who had played here for many years. I knew that he had retired and that he was working as a technical assistant at the club. We always talked, not that I did now because of this. One day I jokingly asked him if he was missing a goalkeeper or if there was a possibility in the country and he told me that they were full, but it just happened that an Italian goalkeeper left. That opened up a quota for foreigners and two days later Juan called me to offer me the possibility.

– How did everything go on afterwards?

– He spoke with the technician and he decided that he wanted me here. They spent two weeks negotiating in a good fight and it ended up closing.

– Were you anxious in the days before signing?

– No, because I was dealing with the settlement issue in the Vial, so my head was also there. I had other proposals in Chile that did not come to fruition and I decided to wait until Malta came to pass.

– What references did you have from the league and the club?

– This club came from promotion and the objective is to maintain the category. In the first instance I came for four months and their intention is for me to continue, but we have to see if we like both parties. The champion qualifies for the Champions League qualifiers and there are also three spots for the Conference League. I think there are four stadiums in which the teams are playing. One is synthetic and the other three are grass. There is a National Stadium that is very beautiful.

– And how do you live football in the league you arrived at?

– People don’t live soccer like in Chile, they are not as passionate as in South America or elsewhere in Europe. Football is not such a priority, but the clubs do give a lot of importance to the European quotas. I have noticed a lot of Brazilian players, so there is a good level. Regarding economics, my colleagues say that they are very orderly, they pay daily. I came for an amount very similar to what is paid in Chile’s B.

– What motivated you to go?

– The new experience, getting to know another country, another culture, another type of game. Although it is not what one sees in the Champions League, it helps you learn different methods and that helps you. I was already decided to come because of the references they gave me. The player enjoys according to what they told me and that is a plus. A long time ago I had the option of coming, but I was in Temuco and I didn’t want to leave. Later I regretted it, so when it happened now, I didn’t even doubt it.

– And what can you say about the city you are in?

– Marsaxlokk is beautiful. It is a fishing city, there are many boats, people respect a lot, it is very well located and the stadiums are going to enjoy football. As for the climate, winter is not so harsh, it is like in Temuco. Sometimes I even wear a T-shirt and my classmates are warm. Also, I can think that I live in an incredible place that I used to see only on Instagram. It is the first time I come to Europe. A return flight by plane to Italy costs you 40 euros. From Malta I knew the turquoise waters and its infrastructure from photos, and now I see it live. Is incredible.

– What have you been able to do in your spare time?

– Plenty of gym, walks to get to know the city and talks with my colleagues. I live in a huge apartment with a Brazilian and a Serbian partner. It should be about 100 square meters. The amenities are many. It is a country that is a pleasure to live in. My goal is to learn languages ​​here. It is one of my priorities thinking about communicating and also in the future.

– By ‘thinking about the future’ do you mean settling there?

– With all the guys I’ve talked to they tell me it’s a country to stay and live. I’m in the process of getting to know, to see if I like it. It’s been a week now and I think it’s amazing. The club is very professional and that motivates you.

– Before this option, had you been interested in learning languages?

– Now that I need it for survival, I’m doing it, but I had the opportunity to speak English a long time ago and I didn’t do it lazy. I took an annual course and I will have given it two weeks of importance, nor did I take it. I am also a Physical Education teacher, so knowing English could open many doors for me the day I stop playing. I could have another quality of life.

– What do you miss about Chile?

– To my son, absolutely. But I understand that it is for work and it is a sacrifice that must be done. I am very affectionate, the family is missed, because I came alone. I’m burning stages here to see if I get used to it.