Gonzalo Montiel, a life of important decisions: from the dirt roads of Virrey del Pino to the penalty that won the third World Cup for the Argentina national team

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Gonzalo Montiel He walks from the center of the field, takes the ball, puts it on the penalty spot, runs, stops, looks at Hugo Lloris and takes a deep breath before executing the shot that could give him the third World Cup for the Argentina national team.

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In that race towards Gonzalo’s shot there is a country behind. There are 45 million people who pray, plead, suffer, sweat and push from their seats for the ball to hit the net.

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And among those people are Tito and Marisa, Gonzalo’s parents. There is Jacqueline, his sister, and his nephews, Gabriel and Jeremías. There is his girlfriend, Karina. And their hearts are pounding in one section of the Lusail stadium. And there is Luis, the maternal grandfather, who left 18 years ago and who from heaven sees his footballer nephew, as he wished, crowning the dream of reaching the maximum. To that nephew who managed to have Ariel as a middle name because he was a fan of Ortega.

Cachete, that nickname he carries from the Lower River, knows what difficult saves are. The context does not discourage him. Unlike. He strengthens it. Have courage to face this moment. Or, as they would say in the stands, “eggs”.

And how can you not have what you need to have for those moments. That personality forged her from a young age. He grew up on the dirt roads of Virrey del Pino, the last village of the Partido de La Matanza. In a house where some things could be scarce, but love and human warmth were never lacking.

From a very young age, Gonzalo made important decisions. At 13 she decided to agree to go and live in River’s boarding house so as not to travel all day. Bus 620 was taken on line 3 to General Paz and from there on 28 to Núñez. It could take up to two and a half hours there and another two and a half back. Sacrifice and effort were the flag. In his head he had the goal of playing in the First Division. And living in River he was able to focus more.

But his heart remained in Virrey del Pino, where he always returned to be with family and friends. “My neighborhood is my world”She said clarion in an interview at the home of his parents, who had recently moved to Canning with the help of their son.

Montiel’s football history began in that neighborhood when his father took him very young (at the age of four) to play for the nearest club and later passed on to the child of El Tala, by González Catán. And at the age of 10 he went to try River. He stayed and started playing in the Infantiles. he was central scorer. And in that position he played until he reached the First Division.

Marcellus Gallardo He made his debut in the First Division in April 2016. And a year and a half later he made him a regular at right-back. “Gallardo convinced me to play on the wing. I am grateful to him because he makes me and my teammates grow as players and as people,” admitted Cachete.

Montiel grew as a player and was one of the pillars of the 2018 River América champions who won the final against Boca in Madrid. And he encouraged more. In 2019, a hitherto unknown facet appeared in him: taking penalties.

In the definition of the round of 16 of the Libertadores 2019 in which River beat Cruzeiro in Belo Horizonte. He kicked it masterfully. With the inside of his right foot, he pushed the ball into the left corner.

And it continued to rejoice from there. So much so that after several missed penalties by some of his teammates at the time, he started grabbing the ball to kick. And Dolly confirmed him as the team’s penalty shooter. This is how he showed himself as a “firefighter”, the nickname that the former River coach also gave him.

Montiel perfected his technique for lower and first division football, but learned earlier. When he was younger, he participated with his friends in penal money tournaments in his neighborhood and in other neighborhoods of La Matanza..

Gonzalo now faces Lloris, the French goalkeeper. And he brought that he had put his hand in what led to 3-3 in extra time. And the stake is the World Cup. He had already kicked against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals and had converted. He had already performed 9 career penalties and celebrated in all of them. This is the tenth. Twelve steps from glory. And there it goes. He takes one, two, three, four, five steps before reaching the ball and defined in “no look” mode (he looked one way and the shot went the other) to fool the French goalkeeper who dived at his left. it is objective. Gonzalo takes off his shirt, runs, cries, his companions embrace him. 45 million Argentines celebrate. The La Matanza boy scored the penalty that defined the final and fulfilled Argentina’s dream of a third World Cup.

Source: Clarin

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