RICKY ALVAREZ wants local AND national bragging rights over compatriot Fabricio Coloccini this weekend.
Three Argentine internationals are likely to be involved in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby, with Alvarez and Sunderland team-mate Santiago Vergini facing Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
On-loan Inter Milan midfielder Alvarez has never come up against Coloccini, who has been a notable absentee for the Magpies in each of Sunderland’s three successive derby victories.
But Alvarez, in contention to start at St James’s Park, is eager to get the better of his fellow Argentine and help Sunderland to a club record fourth straight win over Alan Pardew’s side.
Alvarez said: “I’ve never actually played against him, but he’s someone that I know from the national team.
“He’s been here for many years and is really doing very well.
“But now I’m on the opposing side and without doubt, I want to win the game.”
Alvarez has only been on Wearside since September and remains limited to pigeon English.
But the 26-year-old insists he is well aware of the magnitude of the Tyne-Wear derby after speaking with Black Cats defender Vergini, an unused substitute in February’s 3-0 triumph on Tyneside.
Alvarez is no stranger to participating in white-hot rivalries either after featuring in four Milan derbies for Inter – only one of which saw him finish on the losing side.
“I’ve heard quite a lot about the derby; speaking with my team-mates and other people that I’ve met here,” he added.
“I know it’s a very important game.
“Derbies are always the best games in the season, so I’m very happy to be able to be back and fit and experience the great atmosphere of this game.
“I hope we’ll be able to go on and win the game for the people of Sunderland. That would be magnificent for them.
“I have played in the Inter-AC Milan derby. That’s among the world’s biggest derbies and I know how special they are for supporters.
“We’ll go out and do our all to ensure the Sunderland fans go home happy.”
Sunderland last night beat Fleetwood Town 4-0 to progress to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.