“I have been very impressed with Scottish football,” said Julian, “I played my first match against Celtic, but Rangers are the best team I have seen. They are very strong and I was very impressed with them.”
Like so many coming to this country from foreign parts, Julian found the game a bit more physical than he was previously used to. “I am now starting to get used to it and feel I have adapted to it,” he added.
Born in Buenos Aires, the only boy in a family of four, Julian played football around the local streets for as long as he can remember.
And modestly, he believes it was his height and build that first brought him to the attention of the country’s senior clubs, rather than his undoubted ability. “I was a strong, tall defender and that made me stand out,” explained Julian.
Football was Julian’s first love. But it wasn’t his only interest as a youngster. Apart from his magic sets, where he loved to show his trickery off the field as well as on, Julian also had one of the most unusual hobbies of any footballer ever to grace the Livingston turf. “My father is a bee-keeper in Argentina,” said Julian, “and I used to help him collect the honey.”
Which, of course, begged the inevitable question – had he ever been stung? “Many times,” grimaced Julian, who still likes to give a hand with the bees whenever he’s back home.
As with many of his Livingston counterparts, there is a cultured side to Julian. And he has a huge collection of films, many of them starring his hero, Stephan Segal. “I love action moves and war films,” added the defender.
Julian also loves staying in Livingston with his wife and daughter. “The people are really friendly,” he said. But, so far, he’s not made his way to the local cinema. “My English isn’t really good enough to allow me to watch the films here,” he explained.
Football, though, is a universal language. And since being signed by Independiente as a youngster, Julian has allowed his feet to do the talking for him on the field of play.
Julian moved on from there to All Boys, where he spent five happy years before putting pen to paper for Gimnasia.
Although Livingston is Julian’s first team outwith his native country, it’s not the first opportunity he’s had to play in this country. Early in his career, the defender came to the attention of Bolton. But a trial there ended without a signing offer. Just three years ago, Julian had a trial with Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers. But he had to wait until Livingston came along before finally sampling football abroad.
So keen is Julian on Europe that he’s already pledged to keep a home here after his career is over. But despite the warm spring sunshine of March and his genuine love of the Livingston people, he’s likely to head to warmer climes. “It will probably be somewhere like Majorca,” he laughed.
After his spell at Gimnasia, Julian was on the move again, heading for Instituto for two years, before landing a three-year-spell at Talleres. Prior to coming to Livingston, Julian spent six month at Racing Club.
He’s played at the very highest level of Argentinian football. And, to date, his proudest achievement is picking up a winner’s medal in the Commebol Tournament, Argentina’s equivalent of the EUFA Cup. “I headed the winning goal when I was playing for Talleres,” said Julian. “It’s a tournament where teams from countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia play.”
Once he finishes his playing career, Julian is keen to stay on in the game as a coach. But he’s not so sure whether he wants to handle the pressures of managing a top side. “I think I’d prefer to coach the youngsters,” he said.
But that’s a while off. And first in Julian’s immediate targets is a win over Aberdeen this afternoon. It’s a vital game for both clubs. “We are a good side and I have been impressed with the players here,” added Julian. “I don’t know much about Aberdeen, but I believe they are a good team and I am sure it will be a hard match.
“There’s no reason, though, why we can’t win.”
Aberdeen are certain to bring a big support down from the north.
But they’re likely to be outsung and outshouted by Livingston’s noisy home support, amongst whom will be Julian’s wife and daughter, who always come to see him play.
And like the rest of The Lions support, they’ll be hoping Julian can inspire Livingston to turn on a bit of the magic trickery that he so loves.
When and where were you born?
Buenos Aires 11/01/1972
Romantic status (ie married, single, available, unavailable)
Married with one daughter, six-year-old Camila
What’s your favourite record?
Run Away by Bon Jovi
Who would you want to play you in a film?
What do you like most about West Lothian?
The people are very easy to get on with
What do you like least about West Lothian?
The shops close too early
If you could be someone else, who would it be?
What do you like most about yourself?
I am very family orientated
What do you like least about yourself?
What would people be surprised to know about you?