Rafael Cretaro, now with Bohemians, enjoyed 8 great seasons with Sligo Rovers. Joining from his local club Real Tubber at just 17, he spent the majority of his professional career as a winger, but his finest season came as a striker in 2009 scoring over 15 goals.
photo courtesy of RTE.ie
First of all 'Raff', thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Who were your biggest influences when you were younger ?
"My biggest influences were both my parents and my coaches at youth level.Also watching players like Roberto Baggio and Romario."
In 2000, you made the jump from Real Tubber to Sligo Rovers, how did you feel when you were given the chance to play for the local League of Ireland club ?
"When I was given the chance by Tommy Cassidy to play for Sligo Rovers I couldnt believe it as I was still only 17 and had not thought that I was good enough to play at that level so when I got the chance I grabbed it with two hands and the rest is history."
You were in the team that got promoted to the Premier Division in 2005. How did you feel when you were told you would be spending another season in the 1st division with Galway United ?
"It was hard to take at the time but there was issues going on between myself and then manager Sean Connor that lead to me signing for Galway Utd for the 2006 season. I think my experience at galway matured me as a player and when I returned to Sligo I was a better player for it."
You scored over 15 goals in 2009, one of which came in our European first leg tie against Albanian side Vllaznia. What was the experience of European football like for you personally ?
"Playing in Europe was always something I wanted to achieve as a player and luckily I got that chance with sligo in 2009 and to score in the tie was a very proud moment for me and I hope to have further experience in Europe between now and finishing my career as it is what all players want to experience when playing."
Cretaro with his June 2009 player of the month award
Photo courtesy of SWAI.ie
David Willis asks:
Do you ever think leaving Sligo was a mistake?
"I would not say leaving was a mistake but if we had the benefit of hindsight we would all be rich. At the time of leaving for bohs they were the club to be at having won 5 trophies in 2 years so i could not justify not leaving as hard as it was. it has been a real eye-opening experience for me as a player that I do not regret."
How has life with Bohs differed from that with Sligo ?
"There is alot of differences between Sligo Rovers and Bohs with the training being the main difference as I found it quiet intense in the first few months with bearly any days off so it was tough in that sense."
What does the future hold for you?
"At the minute the Bohs sitution is being sorted out and I hope to have that sorted shortly so I can get my future sorted."
Did you enjoy the 2010 season ?
"The 2010 season was an up and down season for me as I was injured alot and was only fit from early July until the end of the season but having missed so much of the season I have to say it was ok considering I was out for so long but still got 9 goals."
How did you feel watching Sligo Rovers win both the Ea Sports Cup and FAI Cup ?
"I was delighted for the lads when they won both cups the only thing that was saddening for me was that I wasnt involved myself haha."
was it hard for you to leave Rovers for Bohemians ?
"It was a very tough decision for me to leave Sligo as I wasnt only a player I was a fan so I found it very hard but I was faced with to many pros rather than cons to leave but it was probably the hardest decision I have ever made in my career."
Chris Callan asks:
Losing the title to Shamrock Rovers on the last day of the season must of been heart wrenching, what was the general feeling around the camp?
"The feeling after the final game was disbelief how we had came so close to winning the title and to loose it by 2 goals was very hard to take. the only positive i can take from it was the experience i have gained from last season gave me a view into whats needed to win a title."
What was you highlight of the season?
"The highlight of the season for me was my goal against St Pats as we went ahead of Shams that day and they went on to lose to Sporting Fingal later that day.the feeling was great and with 2 games to go we nearly felt like we had one hand on the league title ."
Would you ever consider a move back to the Showgrounds?
"I would never rule out a return to the Showgrounds as its where my heart lies."
Dylan Doherty asks:
If you ever returned to The Showgrounds, do you think you would have to work hard to get into the starting line-up again ahead of Matthew Blinkhorn ?
"I think wherever I go I will have to work hard to get into a team . In terms of going back to Sligo me and Blinks are 2 different types of players but it would definitly be very hard to get into the current rovers team as they are a very good side."
How would you compare the 2010 Rovers team with any Rovers squad you were in ?
"Looking from the outside in they seem to tick all the boxes and I think the current squad is the best squad ive seen at the Showgrounds."
Leonard Gunning asks:
How do they make the chips so tasty ?
"I'd love to tell you the secret of the chips but I can't give away the family secret hahaha"
Thanks to David Willis,Chris Callan,Dylan Doherty and Leonard Gunning who all submitted questions for this interview.