Campo still driven by ambition

Securing Champions League winner Iván Campo is something of a major coup for Ipswich Town and as chief football writer DEREK DAVIS soon found out, it is dangerous to mess with the hair or doubt his ambition.

Derek Davis

Securing Champions League winner Iván Campo is something of a major coup for Ipswich Town and as chief football writer DEREK DAVIS soon found out, it is dangerous to mess with the hair or doubt his ambition.

WITH his mop of wild dark hair is one of the most recognisable players in the world and wants to stay that way as he returns to the Premier League with Ipswich Town.

Campo's distinctive look could turn him into film star after landing a part in the movie boyhood, the story of a young boy growing up and how his parents change year on year, with Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawkes, and Ellar Salmon.

The 34-year-old has also figured in a fruit drink advert in Spain where two guys strip off their shirts to reveal the curly-headed Campo tattooed on their chests.

So it begged the question: 'Ivan would you ever shave off your hair'?

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The Spaniard was aghast at the suggestion: “My hair? Do you want to die now?”

He was only joking of course, at least I think he was, but clearly the unkempt look and the unmistakable shock of black curly hair, is something of a trademark that he is proud of.

“I have always had this hair, this is me. I don't know what would happen without it.”

Another distinctive feature about the San Sebastian born player is his undoubted ability.

You don't get to play for real Madrid, and help them win a Champions' League medal if you are not quality and six years keeping Bolton in the Premier League is no mean feat either.

Campo is not the first European champion to sign for Town, who can forget the likes of Martijn Reuser, Finidi George, John Wark and Arnold Muhren, and like them he has played alongside the best and had the job of stopping the crème de la crème.

He said: “The best player in the word right now is probably Cristiano Ronaldo, and I have been up against Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard, both great players.

“The best I have played with has to be Romario, and Zinedine Zidane.”

So, after mixing with best why not cash in and return to his native Spain and enjoy a different type of celebrity?

Campo bristles a little at the suggestion and makes it clear his love for the game and his desire to take Ipswich back to the Premier League, after rejecting offers from the New York Red Bulls and real Sociedad among others.

He said: “I made my mind up very quickly. I knew when I spoke with Jim I had good feeling about signing and it took about 15 minutes to make up my mind.

“After I left Bolton I had a few options in Spain, America and England but once I came and looked around I knew I wanted this challenge.

“I have trained with the lads and I'm getting to know them. I need to learn about them and the different way they play.”

There is a bit of unfinished business too as Campo thought he would get another year at the Reebok and was upset that he did not get the chance to say proper farewells to his Bolton team-mates and supporters.

He wrote a long and passionate letter to them instead and now insists he has moved on and is playing for all the right reasons.

He said: “Of course the money is good but that is not what makes me happy. For me it is playing football and enjoying my football. That is what drives me on.

“This is a happy time for me. It will be different for me from playing La Liga, Champions' League and Premier League, but it is special.

“You have to enjoy it and I do. It was never an option to pack in playing and retiring.

“When you are still in love with football and you get a chance with a good club then you have to take it.”

Like fellow Spaniard Pablo Counago, Campo has learned to love the English game, although not necessarily its food.

“I still have my siesta when I can. After a match or training that is when I go for my siesta and then go to eat some Spanish food.

“Spanish ham or Spanish wine but never fish and chips.”

The suggestion that he tries the famous Aldeburgh fish and chips is met with a polite smile, but no great enthusiasm.

There is no doubt he is his own man and intends to bring his own unique style to Portman Road.

Click here to watch the Spanish advert featuring Ivan CampoClick here to watch the Spanish advert featuring Ivan Campo