With 11 goals and six assists to his name so far this season Raul Jimenez is living the dream with Wolves in the Premier League.
The club’s top goal scorer has flawlessly adapted to life in England following his loan move to the Black Country from Benfica last summer.
Quickly settling in to his new club, the 27-year-old striker is pleased his hard work has paid off, with Wolves sitting seventh in the Premier League and through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
On being a success in the Premier League
“I was dreaming about coming to the Premier League, but I wasn’t sure when I could get there. It’s all about hard work, always doing your best, and that’s what we all do here at Wolverhampton.
“It’s great to see that the fans are happy, that my family is proud. I see that all this hard work is paying off.
“Collectively and individually we’ve been going very well. We’ve had a good performance, all the more so as we just got back to the Premier League. We’re playing for more than staying in the Premier League. I get along very well with my team mates, both on the pitch and off the pitch.
“It’s a high level here in England. It’s a very competitive championship. It’s happened to us a few times that we managed to beat the top clubs, or at least get a draw, but then we struggle in our next match against smaller teams, and even lose.
“The Premier League is a very harsh competition and we must work hard to plan for different scenarios and consistently get a result.”
On giving his shirts to supporters
“During the Newcastle match, the ball went out for a corner, and I saw this kid and his poster in the stands. So, at the end of the match, I went to give him my shirt.
“It’s the fourth time that I’ve done this here in England. The last time some Mexicans came to the Wolves stadium and I had to give them my shirt!
“It’s important for me that the fans know that I’m aware of what they’re doing, that I’m thankful for their support. They’re the reason I’m giving my best in every single match.”
On representing Mexico
“I’m very proud to be selected for the game next month against Paraguay, I feel very confident. I know that the next big challenge for Mexico is the Gold Cup. I know I must continue to perform on the pitch and score goals. I’ll do everything to achieve the best result possible for my team.
“I’m going to fight to be playing at the next World Cup. That’s my goal, but I know I need to keep on working to reach it. I’d love to do it, but there’s a tough competition inside the selection, so it’s not easy. I’m convinced our team can get great results.”
On lessons learned as a player
“My first years in Europe were complicated, to arrive to a new club and adapt. I learnt a lot at Atletico Madrid, working with a lot of great players and coaches. That really helped me.
“With Benfica, it was tough to be a starter every time. I was playing one or two games, and then I got injured two or three times. It was tough to find my place back in the starting 11, since other forwards were scoring goals too.
“I learnt a lot from every opportunity, learning never to give up and keep on fighting. I’ve always had faith that my chance would come, and I would need to seize it.”
On advice for young players
“You need to pursue your dreams till the end. Nobody can tell you you’re not good enough. You must prepare physically and mentally.
“There’ll be many obstacles, but one must keep on going forward. Some may think it’s going to be easy, but it’s never the case.
“You will always have some setbacks, but in the end, you’ve got your destiny in your hands, and you have the power to create your own path.”
During the interview, Jimenez was surprised with a phone call from his father, also named Raul, who said this to his son:
“I wanted to give you a surprise.
“I wish you the best, that you keep on getting better and better, and breaking records. It’s your year, your season. I’ve seen you grow into a great footballer. I know that you’ve always given your best to succeed, and I’m very proud to see you’re making it.
“Congratulations for everything you’re doing and best of luck this season and in your career. I’m sure you will achieve anything you set your mind to.”