As a young boy, did you always want to be a pro footballer?
“Yes I started to play football at six years old in Colombia. I first of all lived in a small city and my father had one team for young players so I started to play for them. I was the captain and played in every game and so I started so early, at six years old. My father played before me so I always grew up with football in my life.”
What’s the best thing about being a professional footballer in your eyes?
“For me the most important and best thing is to see my dream come true. I have many goals with my family, they are always supporting me and it’s not easy to come from South America, from Colombia, to be here in Europe. The most important thing for me is God and my family, it is everything for me, it’s the reason that I always go to training with the best smile.”
How are you enjoying life in Belgium with Standard Liege?
“Life in Liege is so quiet, it’s a small city and normally you have nothing especially to do here. Some days I go to Brussels, it is a bigger city so I go shopping or to eat with my friends. Here in the same building where I live I have two friends, you already know Enoh Eyong and the other is Benjamin Tetteh. We sometimes go into the city centre here in Liege to eat something but normally I’m always in my house speaking with my family, I like to be close with them.”
Who would you say is the best player that you have played with in your career so far?
“This question is so difficult! In the same team I’ve played with PJ M’Poku, he played last year with us and he is a Christian, I learnt a lot off of this guy. Now we keep in touch and he is an excellent, excellent player. Last March I was in the national team and I played with the best players in my country, Falcao, James Rodrigues and Juan Cuadrado. I got to be involved in the Copa America and I saw the best player in the world for me, Lionel Messi. For me he is the best in football and Neymar was also not far behind.”
Would you like to play in the English Premier League someday if the chance came?
“Of course, the Premier League for me is one of the best leagues in the world, for us it’s difficult because we need some documents to play there but if one day I receive an offer from England I will go immediately. It would be for my family and me because when I was young one of my dreams was to play in England or Spain. It’s the best league for me.”
You have already mentioned your national call up but how proud are you to have represented Colombia?
“For me, when I played my first game with the national team and received the call off the coach I cried because it was my biggest dream in my life. I remember when they called me up, even when I start to speak about it I feel so good because it was amazing. I played against Bahrain and Kuwait and we won both of the games but the feeling to play with the best players in my country was amazing. For me the most important thing is how grateful I am to God because in that moment I wasn’t in the best situation in my footballing life and God gave me that chance to play in the national team. My family and all of my friends are always proud of me because I found my biggest dream in life.”
Darwin let’s talk about your love for Jesus, you are open about your faith but where did it all start for you?
“I started to follow Jesus through my mother, she and my sister are both Christians. When I was younger my mother was always talking about God and I went to a Catholic school in Colombia. To follow I just has to learn more about God and I started to learn more about him when I was really young. This is the reason that I am so grateful for my family, I always try to keep in touch with them because they always send me some words or something special from my Church in Colombia.
I am always grateful for everything with God because when I was fifteen years old I suffered an injury to my knee and in that moment I felt like I could never play again. God is perfect and he has got me to where I am now, in Europe. I have life, I have my family and that is the reason that I am always grateful with God.”
You have said previously that “God and football is the perfect blend”, what do you mean by this?
“For example for the life of the football player is not easy but when you have God in your life everything is not lost, even with mistakes and problems, you still have God. I am really surprised because God is touching many players now and for me this is why football and God is perfect, I enjoy my life but God gives me the talent and chance to be able to play football.”
Do you think that professional footballers should be more open and speak more about their faith in God?
“I think this depends on your faith, most of the players that I know have Jesus in their lives and in the media they always try to speak about him. I have one friend in Colombia and I speak with him every day, he said to me that it is different where he is because a lot of players, they know about God but they don’t give everything to God and it’s difficult for him to start to speak about it. I think God is working in every life, in all of the players. For me and for most of the players that I know it is not difficult to explain, that God is everything and the saviour for me, for my friends and normally the media never ask about your faith. For me it’s great to speak about God, about how he is important in my life.”
Do you have a favourite bible verse?
“My favourite verse is Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you a great and unsearchable things you do not know’. It’s so powerful”.