Trauco ready to build on Copa success at Sainté
It has been something of a dream summer for AS Saint-Etienne's new Peruvian defender Miguel Trauco.
After helping Peru to the Copa América final, Trauco was named the best left-back at the tournament, and then he left Brazilian giants Flamengo to try his luck in Europe with Saint-Etienne.
"It felt amazing to play in the Copa America final. I have great memories of the tournament that will stay with me my whole life," Trauco told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports.
"The competition gave me visibility, and my performances with Peru generated interest in me. I owe a lot to the national team."
Peru shocked Uruguay and Chile en route to their first Copa América final since 1975, although their dream died at the Maracanã as they lost 3-1 to a Brazil team featuring the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back pairing of Marquinhos and Thiago SIlva.
Trauco then joined Saint-Etienne on a three-year deal for a reported fee of around €1 million just prior to the opening game of the new season.
"I'm very happy to be here. The club came to me and has welcomed me with open arms. I'm very excited about this new challenge. I know the supporters are very passionate here. I'm used to that, and I hope to draw inspiration from it," he said.
It has been quite a journey for Trauco, who hails from Tarapoto in the interior of northern Peru. His father played for the local club, but Trauco flew the nest and spent a year with Lima giants Universitario before moving to Flamengo in 2017.
"I'm from a family of footballers. Everybody in my home town knows us. My uncles, my Dad, my cousins and I - we are all keen footballers. It's in my blood," said Trauco, who turned 27 on Sunday, just ahead of his new team's trip to face LOSC in Week 3.
"Of course it's difficult for me being so far from home, so far from my friends and family, but that's the way things are. You don't get big rewards without making big sacrifices," he added.
"I need to learn French as quickly as possible. It will help me adapt. I've already had one lesson but I've already forgotten it all."
Trauco has joined an ambitious club who will be back in the UEFA Europa League group stage this season. While he has started the season as first choice in his position, he will have to fight for his place once the Brazilian Gabriel Silva returns from injury.
"I hope that the team can challenge for the top places this season, and for me personally, I want to earn my place in the side, I want my work to be appreciated," he said.
"Here, players are bigger, physically stronger. I don't fit that mould but I think I can make up for that with my other qualities. I'm satisfied with how I've started. I'm ready to push on now and achieve great things."