Already enjoying a breakout season with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League, Ecuador’s 20-year-old midfielder Moises Caicedo is determined to burnish his reputation further with a best ever World Cup for his national side.
The fast-improving Caicedo, whom British media say is on the radar of elite clubs with an 85 million pound ($98 million) price tag, has become a lynchpin for Ecuador who face hosts Qatar on Nov. 20 in the first game of the World Cup.
“Honestly, we still can’t believe we’re in a World Cup, that we’re going to be the team that kicks off the tournament, and we’re really pumped about that,” he told FIFA+.
“Our goal is to make it Ecuador’s most successful World Cup of all time ... My dream is to make it an incredible World Cup, to get the whole world talking about Ecuador and I’m certain that’s what we’ll do.” Ecuador’s previous best showing was in 2006 when they reached the last 16 at the World Cup in Germany.
Caicedo has evolved into a more attacking player, though he has greater licence to roam with Ecuador than with Brighton.
“I found it hard at first because Premier League football is very fast, very dynamic, very physical,” he said.
“And now I think I’ve got on top of all that, I’ve worked on my playing style to play fast, think fast, with a maximum of two touches, get on to any loose balls, win them, fight for them. I think I’ve done a really good job and it’s going well.
“I have to stick to my position more when I’m playing with Brighton, but here with the national team there’s more opportunity to go and ask for the ball.” Caicedo’s quietness off the pitch contrasts with his confidence on it.
“We have a lot of talent, a lot of young players, as well as experienced players, who help us a lot in that sense. And so, honestly, I’m going to fight until the end because I want to be a World Cup champion, who wouldn’t? “We’re studying the teams, we’re really excited to be in a group with Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands. They’re very strong teams and we know that it will be a very challenging group stage.”