- I was certainly a good player and they gave me the number 10. I played throughout my time at school and university, and I was always the captain. But when I did referee, people told me I could be a good player, but also a very good ref. So I made my mind up at the age of 16, and it's turned out a very good decision.
- You have refereed a record eight FIFA World Cup matches. Are you proud of that?
- Of course, although I wasn't really aware of it at the time. The first time, my preparations were geared at the World Cup, and not at setting records. I was hoping to take charge of one or two matches, but when they announced the line-up for the semi-finals, I was asked how come I’d been given five games. So I said maybe it was because I was doing well. That's when I realised it must be a record, and I found it unbelievable.
- How would you describe the relationship between the fans and the referees in your home country?
- The fans support their team during a match, and voice their displeasure with the referee's decisions. That's how it is all over the world, but afterwards, the fans recognise a good performance by the ref. I remember a game in Torreon ten years ago, when a fan gave me a volley of abuse while I was on my way to the referee's room after the match. An hour later, as I was leaving the stadium, I saw the same fan waiting for me with his entire family. He came up and said to me: ‘I respect you and you’re a great referee. We're really happy with you. Could you sign my shirt and pose for a photo with me?’ That was the moment when I really understood. You protest during the match, but express satisfaction with the ref afterwards.
- What is the appeal of refereeing?
- I love football. Mind you, lots of my friends say they love football, but they always say no when I ask them if they'd like to become referees. But I became a ref because of my love for football.