Words: ACFC Media
Monday 15 March 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC's all-time record appearance holder Angel Berlanga is feeling the frustration of a long term knee injury but promises he's on the way back for next season.
The Madrid-born defender turned 34 last month and has missed the entirety of the 2020-21 season but is determined that his time in a Navy Blue kit is far from over.
"Rehab is going really well, I'm not allowed to run yet but I am sure I will start running soon. Every time I come to training or to Kiwitea Street and see my team mates getting ready for training or pulling on the shirt I feel frustrated.
"I spend a lot of in the gym and with the physio because its important to invest time in recovery.
"When they step onto the pitch to warm-up or play, you feel helpless because I want to help them and you always want to be part of the team. The team has done very well to defend the league title and hopefully they can go on to win the grand final," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
The three-time winner of Auckland City FC Player of the Year award, Berlanga has filled his time picking up extras work on the new Lord of the Rings television series.
"You may not be able to see me if the camera flies past quickly - I did the work last year and it was a lot of fun although I cannot say very much else because of confidentiality.
"I think the show is due out later in 2021," he said.
Berlanga joined Auckland City FC in 2010-11 and is in his tenth season with the club and he was happy to see former team-mates Daniel Koprivcic, Luis Corrales and Adam Dickinson at Kiwitea Street on Saturday.
"Its great to see former players like Danko, Luis and Dicko at the club again. I missed talking to Luis earlier today but we have plans to catch up with each other," he said.
While football and life at Auckland City FC has played a big part in Berlanga's life, raising son Leo has also taken up a lot of time during his rehab.
"Parenting is hard work and its so good to spend quality time with Leo and watch him grow up.
"I think Leo will play football - I take him to trainings and he likes to kick the ball around and he enjoys it.
"Its still early days so we'll see what happens," he said.
The Navy Blues skipper is vastly experienced in the Super City derby and said Saturday's 2-2 draw at Kiwitea Street was typically rugged and direct.
"It was a tough game, a game of two halves, in the first we created a lot of chances and could've finished with one or two more goals but in the second with the wind against us we struggled a little bit.
"They created a lot of problems with the long throw ins and we didn't manage to hold out.
"But overall it wasn't too bad and now the focus has to be on finishing the semi-finals and finals as strongly as possible."
Name: Angel Berlanga
Club appearances: 214
Club goals: 8
Clubs: Rayo Majadahonda (ESP), Sporting Goa (IND), Auckland City FC (NZL), Central United FC (NZL).
FIFA Club World Cup 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (6)
OFC Champions League (6)
OFC President's Cup (1)
ISPS Handa Premiership titles (4)
ISPS Handa Premiership league titles (8)
NZF Charity Cup (6)
Saturday 8 October 2022, Cashmere Technical, 330pm, Kiwitea Street