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Leiva: “Córdoba has always needed football, successes and achievements”

José Antonio Leiva Galindo (Córdoba, December 15, 1974) was the last Cordovan goalkeeper to enjoy the status of starter under the arc of the Cordoba CF. Was one of the heroes of the rise of Cartagena in 1999which led him to debut in Second A to become a Cordovan centenary. Since he left for Ceuta in January 2003, no other goalkeeper born on earth had the continuity of the ‘Cat’ Leiva. “I endured a year practically blank because I felt Cordobesista”, highlighted the new protagonist of the series of video-interviews on Youtube.

He started at Deportivo de Córdoba and after training in the Sevilla youth academy he debuted at the age of 21 in Second B with Córdoba. It was a March 17, 1996 against Cádiz at El Arcángel. “We ended up winning 3-2, with two goals from ‘Pepichi’ Torres and one from Melena, but my misfortune was that after thirty seconds they scored the first goal. So I thought to myself that I had nothing more to lose, or I would get strong and push forward or… in the end it was won, with El Arcángel full and it was a desired debut”.

Thus he was for six and a half seasons defending the Córdoba goal, with a year of parenthesis on loan at Isla Cristina with which he won at El Arcángel, something that helped him return and progress alongside the figure of Avelino Vineyard. “I learned a lot from him, Avelino he was my teacher, my reflection. I have great memories, he talked to me a lot in the games. It conveyed a lot of tranquility and I was pure nerve”.

His state of shock after the rise of Cartagena

Together with the Uruguayan, he experienced his “greatest sporting success. Promote with Córdoba in Cartagena and the way it was achieved. We had everything lost there, after a strange year in which we ended up shutting ourselves up in El Arcángel for non-payments. It was a very tough campaign He was promoted with many people from the quarry”.

The Córdoba CF starting eleven in Cartagena in June 1999 with José Antonio Leiva on the top right.

The Córdoba CF starting eleven in Cartagena in June 1999 with José Antonio Leiva on the top right.

“I remember that at the locker room celebration i couldn’t jumpI was in shock at what we had achieved and sat in a corner. That night I did not fall asleep, ”she recalled. A day later the party arrived in Córdoba and he will never forget “That entrance to the city through the Campo de la Verdad. It was my neighborhood and from there we were escorted to Las Tendillas by the people who took to the streets. It was spectacular”.

“I am left with the joy that we gave to Córdobabecause Córdoba has always been in need of football, of successes and achievements. The fans always gave the team, in those promotion leagues El Arcángel was always full, ”he recalled wistfully.

José Antonio Leiva putting the ball into play in a match against Betis in 1999.

José Antonio Leiva putting the ball into play in a match against Betis in 1999. Author: Larry

Then his debut in Second A would come. They were three and a half seasons in which he lived it all. “I went from playing it 34 games to not playing at all. In football, life changes from one year to the next, a new coach (Crispi) came and you don’t play”.

In the first campaign, with Escalante as coach, he played a total of 16 games sharing the limelight with Chilet and José Ramón de la Fuente, the current goalkeeping coach of Barça for years. The following season, the Bolivian international Gato Fernández was signed, but the real Gato was Leivahence those cited 34 games.

In 2001-02 it was when he lost prominence in favor of Jauregui. He only played one league game, already with García Remón as coach. “The illusion of that Copa del Rey with Mallorga and Figueras kept me going. When Pepe Murcia arrived, he gave me life, happiness. He talked to me and was one of the architects for me to endure that year at Córdoba”.

José Antonio Leiva in The Archangel.

José Antonio Leiva in El Arcángel in his first season in Second A.

The following year he did not count for Ortuondo or Zambrano. “I couldn’t take it and I went to Ceuta with Rafa Navarro and Marcos Márquez”. Later, after a year and a half in mackerel lands, he hung up his boots in Alcalá de Guadaíra, although he remembers that he re-enlisted for a season to play in the Third Division with Los Palacios. “There I already said enough.”

for years lives in Sevillewhere he settled to start real life. “That’s when you realize that the footballer is privileged. It took me a lot to adaptbut now I’m glad I have stability at home with my Laboral life”assured.

However, together with his children on more than one occasion he remembers his years as a footballer, in addition to the evolution of the team. “The year of Primera I followed it with great sorrowbecause Córdoba enjoyed little of First Division football. And despite this there are a lot of fans, you just have to notice that being in a category that is like Third, El Arcángel looks like a Second A field at least. “Córdoba is Córdoba, only with the name it goes to the fields and respect imposes it”. In addition “the coach was allowed to work, there is a symbiosis between the fans and the team. They have to sow little by little, to take small but firm steps, because it is very difficult to ascend”, underlined to end an extensive interview that can be seen in full in the header video.