Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta is Paraguay’s Ambassador to Ankara. But outside work, he identifies himself as a diehard fan of the Turkish football team, Rizespor.
Rizespor is an unorthodox choice, to say the least, given that Turkish football is dominated by the Big Four – Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor.
“I use the word fanatic when describing me.” said the Paragyuan ambassador.
“There are good times and there are bad times in football. Even though our team is going through a tough time right now, I will always support (Çaykur) Rizespor,” Peralta said about his team’s relegation from the Turkish top-tier last season.
“When it comes to football, I can say Paraguay is more fanatical than Turkey. So you can guess what we Paraguayans are like,” he added.
About his love for Rizespor, Peralta said he had the opportunity to visit different football teams in Turkey, but developed a special tie with the team from the Black Sea.
“When we came here, there were Paraguayan footballers playing in Turkey. One of them was Braian Samudio, who played for Rizespor. He introduced me to the coach of Çaykur Rizespor three years ago and I have been a fan since,” he added.
The envoy said he developed an emotional bond with the team after visiting the eponymous city in northern Turkey.
“Many Turks ask me why I support Rizespor. I would say it is an emotional bond and is due to previous influences. I have visited the tea gardens and touristic areas of Rize before. I really enjoyed visiting this place. It was also very nice for me to get to know my team Rizespor better,” said Peralta.
Besides talking about his love for Rizespor, Peralta also touched on his journey as a diplomat in Turkey, his first impressions of the country and the current state of the Turkey-Paraguay relationship.
Peralta started his career as a young diplomat and already received a lot of briefing on Turkey before arriving here. However, he first studied Turkey when still in school. At 15, he studied the history of ancient civilization in Çorum and the Hittites.
On Turkey’s relationship with Paraguay, the envoy said the countries will celebrate 70 years of bilateral ties next year which will be a significant milestone.
“After President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan’s historic visit to Paraguay, we have captured a very important dynamic in different fields. It was a very important diplomatic visit.”
“At the same time, this visit showed that Turkey can be a vital trade partner for us. We also have cultural, sports and gastronomical ties. At the moment, the communication between the two countries is very dynamic and is in a constant upward trend,” Peralta said.