MILAN – Rigoberto Rivas was born in Honduras, land of los catrachos. As a young boy growing up in his hometown of Balfate, the Nerazzurri youngster's dream was to become a professional footballer. Since then his dream has grown: now it is to break into the Inter first team and pull on the Honduras shirt – the one with a big H on the left breast.
Rigoberto knows that if he really wants to reach the top he has to follow the example set by his illustrious forefathers, with their courage, dedication, sacrifice and commitment.
The Catrachos were Honduran warriors who, in the 19th century, thwarted the Americans' attempts to extend their rule further south. They, and the generations that followed, are known as such due to a mispronunciation of the name of their leader, general Florencio Xatruch.
Honduras itself sits nestled in the middle of Central America next to El Salvador – the country with which they fought the brief yet bloody Football War some 40 years ago.
The Rivas became one of the many families to leave Honduras when they decided to emigrate to Europe – first Spain and then Tuscany, in Italy. It was there, at the age of 11, that Rigoberto finally rejoined his mother. Meanwhile his passion for football continued to grow. Back in his homeland, he used to play with his cousins late into the evening; in Italy he made new friends and joined his first football club.
Under Stefano Vecchi's guidance in the Inter U19 team, Rivas quickly established himself in the middle of the park, combining ball-winning skills with frequent forays forward. A good all-rounder, he is blessed with a strong tackle, cultured feet and a burst of pace. Indeed he's often been deployed as a winger.
The club certainly believe in his potential. Watch this space: a young Catracho could well be one of the next names off the Nerazzurri academy production line.