In his first interview in Malaysia after joining the Armed Forces, Jerry Palacios talks to FFT about his family, his ambitions and the lovely weather...
How did the move happen and why did you choose to play in Malaysia?
ATM contacted me about two months ago to see if I was interested to play in Malaysia. For me, it is a really good opportunity. I discussed about it with my family, who all helped me to do research about the cultures and football in Malaysia. They were really impressed with the country, so I decided to take the chance.
I also feel that their football league is growing very fast – I played in China four years ago, so I know how Asian football is played – and the clubs in Malaysia are bringing in a lot of good players from other countries. I want to be part of [their football] and I am very eager to start playing for ATM.
Did you consult anyone about the country?
I did. I spoke to my Colombian friend, Javier Estupinan [who played for Terengganu last season] prior to coming to Malaysia and he gave me very positive feedback of the country and the league.
Did you receive any offers from other clubs in Malaysia or Asia before you accepted ATM’s offer?
My former club in China, Hangzhou Greentown, did ask me to re-join the team next year, but my mind was set on playing here.
What do you know about the club?
I know that the club were the champions [of the Malaysian Premier League] and one of the top scorers in Malaysian football [Marlon Alex James] used to play here. They are also a very professional side and considered to be one of the top teams in Malaysia.
The weather will not be a big issue for me"
You mentioned about playing in China. Do you understand Chinese, which is one of the languages spoken in Malaysia?
[Laughs] Not really, but there are some simple terms that I do remember and know how to say like ‘hello’, ‘how are you’, ‘go left’, ‘go right’ and ‘run fast’.
We know you have only been in Malaysia for a couple of days, but how do you find the country so far? You must find the weather very lovely…
I have previously played in Honduras and Costa Rica. Both are tropical countries like Malaysia, so I am used to this kind of weather and it will not be a big issue for me. Anyway, I find that the country is very beautiful and comfortable. I have already sent some pictures to my family back home, who are all very happy for me.
What do you wish to achieve at ATM?
I want to be the champion and the top goalscorer here. Then, along with my new team-mates, I want to take this team to Asia.
What can the ATM fans expect from you?
I know that there is a lot of expectations on me from the fans and the media because I used to play at the World Cup. Well, they can expect the best from me because that has always been what I do at every club I have played for and I am going to be 100% focused to give my best to the team. The fans can expect goals from me, too.
Speaking of the FIFA World Cup, you were involved with two editions. How would you describe the experience?
U like a graduation [ceremony] for every footballer. When you play for the national team, it is everyone’s goal to go to the World Cup because it is the highest level you can achieve in football. I am very honoured to have played at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil earlier this year. It is not something a lot of players can claim to achieve in life.
Are you worried that playing in Malaysia might affect your international career with the Honduras national team?
I have quitted the national team [after the 2014 FIFA World Cup]. I am currently 33 years old and will be too old for the next World Cup in Russia. So, I want to give the younger players the opportunity to represent the country and potentially play at the World Cup.
You and your brothers, Jhony and Wilson, created history when three of you were named in the Honduras World Cup squad in 2010. Could we see a reunion with your brothers in Malaysia?
I would love to play with them again in the same team. We used to play together in Honduras as well as during international duty. My brothers are still young [compared to me] so there is always a possibility that they might come here someday.
Wilson, who is currently playing for Stoke City in the Premier League, is arguably the most famous footballer among the Palacios brothers. But who’s the best footballer?
[Laughs] I came from a family with a football background. Besides my brothers and me, my dad was a footballer as well – he was pretty good, too. But if you ask me who the best footballer is in the family, it has to be Wilson.