Carlos Menendez Hevia started his career in Spain for Sporting Gijon’s Reserve side.
The talented winger has played in a number of countries during his career and is currently enjoying life in Malta
English based Maltese football expert, Charlie Russell speaks to the former Gijon player about his career and what his plans for the future are in ElWriteBack’s latest Q&A.
You started your career at Sporting B in Spain where you spent seven years. How did you find your time at the club?
I was with Sporting Gijon since the age of eight until I was 24. I can only say good words about them, I grew up like a football player and like a person. Sporting has one of the best nursery teams in Spain and this is the team that I have in my heart.
Were you disappointed that you never broke into the first team?
It was a difficult situation for me. I signed a two-year professional contract with the first team but when I had my opportunity I had a groin injury and I was about 60% fit. At this level of football you have to be 100% all the time and the train only passes one time.
You spent time on loan at Real Unión. How do loan moves help players develop?
It was my first experience away from my family, my city, and after six months of inactivity it was a difficult five months there, the team had a good squad and for me it was difficult to find minutes there, but we could only play a playoff promotion to the Second Division. It was a great experience and an opportunity to take minutes and experience in a professional team, with players who played in the Champions League like Jesús María Lacruz.
In 2012 you moved to Greek side, Veria. What are the differences between Spanish and Greek football?
There are a lot of differences between both types of football. The supporters in Greece are crazy, there are dirty people who try everything to take money, the president didn’t pay you if you didn’t play well. They don’t respect the contracts of the players. In Spanish football we have more culture, we play more organized than them, but they have very good individual players, they are one step behind Spanish football. In Greece you can take a good salary like in Spain.
Following a brief spell with Condal, you moved to Malta where you signed for Tarxien Rainbows. How did the move to Malta come about?
After another unfortunate experience in Moldova, where FC Veris Chișinău offered me a contract of a good amount of money but when I arrived there all conditions changed, I came back to Spain after the transfer window closed so I decided to sign with Condal, a club where I could take playing minutes until other opportunities around the world could come. It was in November when Tarxien called me to come to Malta to have a trial with them and I didn’t have a doubt, I took my bag and I moved to Malta.
In 2013/14 you were rewarded with the Tarxien Best Player Award. How proud were you about this achievement?
I am a player who always thinks for the team because that is my philosophy in football. I love teams with 11 team players who fight for each other and only think for the common targets as a team, but it is true that you feel happy when you receive an individual award, because it means that the people see your hard work inside the group.
How are you finding life in Malta?
I am really enjoying my life in Malta, there’s good weather, nice people, a lot of Spanish people to enjoy a part of football. I like the culture a lot and I have a lot of friends, so I can’t say anything bad about my life here.
What are Tarxien Rainbows plans for next season?
When we finish the season we have to sit down and speak about next season. We have a good group and we want to have a fantastic season.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I am always thinking about my future. Hopefully I will be working in something around football because that is my passion, my life, and is the thing that I have knowledge in but you never know.