Thursday, June 1, 2023

Gonza Bobadilla, the Argentine who crossed half the world to see the second bottom team because of PC Fútbol

Gonzalo Nicolas Bobadilla (Buenos Aires, 1986) appears visibly tired at the Madrid airport departure gate. But his face lights up as soon as he hugs the person who awaits him after a trip that has lasted more than 24 hours. She left Argentina late on a Wednesday and arrived in Spain early on Friday. In between, stops in Santiago de Chile and Bogotá. In this way, the crossing was cheaper. He still has 500 more kilometers to go to reach the destination of his odyssey: the Anxo Carro de Lugostadium of the bottom team in the Second Division, of which he has been a fan for years.

He shares this passion with his cradle team, Club Almagro (also from the second Argentine level). “After so much time, I’m finally going to fulfill a dream“, he tells the member of Lugoslavia, a group of CD Lugo fans, that he is going to pick him up and that he will accompany him to Galicia. Both share a profession: they are journalists.

Gonza Bobadilla, Argentine fan of CD Lugo, at the Anxo Carro Stadium. CD Lugo

“No matter the result”

Gonza works at ESPN, one of the most important channels in Argentina, where he has made it known, as in many places in the country, the name and history of one of the most modest teams in professional football that will lose the category this season after an unprecedented sequence of more than 10 years in the silver category.

“The result doesn’t matter. The team’s classification doesn’t matter. That’s the least of it. The only thing I wanted was to arrive and watch a game here. It was the illusion of my life and it has been wonderful”, he tells The Newspaper of Spain, from the Prensa Ibérica group, who has experienced first-hand this crazy adventure that has allowed Gonza to see a Lugo – Ponferradina and a Lugo – Tenerife. both finished no goals.

Really, it is indifferent, because the story of this Argentine is worth more than any goal in the last minute. because he hasn’t no relationship with Galiciawhich in itself is strange, because that country was chosen by hundreds of compatriots to seek a new life.

PC Fútbol and a promotion in Cádiz

“In Argentina it was made very famous PC Soccer. He CD Lugo It was one of the teams with which I did the best. I managed to take it to First. This happened when he was a child. With the popularization of the Internet, I became more interested in the club. I looked up where the stadium was, who the players were… I opened an account Twitter to follow up, although with a more journalistic vocation. He led to the madness that has led me on this journey”, says the administrator of ‘Lugo Argentina’, an account that is mentioned in all the broadcasts of the ‘albivermello’ team.

At first, Gonza had to be patient to find a pirate link with which to follow the club. One of those first television signals he found was CD Lugo’s promotion to the Second Division on June 24, 2012. With Quique Setién at the controls, and with two Argentines in the field -‘Melli’ Belfortti and Claudio Monti-, the Galician team defeated Cádiz in an agonizing penalty shootout in their field.

That generation was baptized as the ‘Heroes del Carranza’ and made the club known in many corners. It also reinforced the feeling of belonging to the people of Lugo who were far from their land. “I work late at ESPN. Sometimes, due to the time difference, you have to get up early to see CD Lugo. Now there are several channels that broadcast the games, but when I started it was almost impossible.” Gonza is an asset to the club, more up-to-date than many close fans.

Gonzalo Bobadilla, with the flag that bears the shield of CD Lugo and Club Almagro, his two teams. Denis Iglesias

Savings and sale of t-shirts

In fact, in the surroundings of the CD Lugo it is given as an example to the rest of the city. “Have you seen what an Argentine is capable of doing for this team? And you, who have it next to you, are unable to go to the field“, is one of the most repeated comments these days. The average attendance in Segunda has been in the 3,000 viewers, with peaks of 5,000 or full when promotions have been made.

Gonza insists that these are all numbers. His team in Argentina, Club Almagro, despite being a hundred years old, does not gather the largest number of followers on its field either. But this journalist did not choose the easy path. Those who know the sacrifice he made to travel to Spain know it well. “For someone who works every day, it is not easy to pay for a plane ticket. Lately, the economy has gone down a lot. I had to pull the savings that I put together over the years and sell t-shirts from a collection”, he says.

The CD Lugo fans also co-financed his adventure through Cafecito, a crowdfunding platform. But any currency movement abroad implies a significant devaluation. Up to 60% of the capital is withheld on a multitude of platforms, so Gonza had to deal with the club’s fans so as not to lose their money. Everything, despite the fact that, as he says, his salary is well above average charged by other friends of the same age.

Gonza Bobadilla, an Argentine fan of CD Lugo, points out on the map the city he has visited after an odyssey. CD Lugo

Football on both sides of the Atlantic

The narrowness is also reflected in football. “I told CD Lugo that there are many players in the second Argentine division that are worth it. They are looking for an experience in Spain, mainly for economic reasons,” says this fan, to whom the club of which he became one of its best ambassadors He opened the doors of his facilities. For Gonza, these days have been culture impact, because it was the first time that I traveled to Europe. But if there is a universe where there is a gap on one side of the Atlantic and the other, it is the way of living football.

“Never in my life had I seen fans taking photos of the players being in relegation. But each place and even each team has its idiosyncrasies – and CD Lugo’s is quite particular in this regard. Here no reproaches or insults are thrown. In Argentina, the Police would protect the players after a match where the team has not shot on goal”, he reflects.

The apathy that reigns in the field is such that, since the silver category has 22 teams, no one has scored fewer goals in the second round. Hence, Gonza’s trip is like the coming of a Messiah, a way of reconcile with the team and football. He, within the shyness that he confesses, is not capable of assuming the dimension of a story that has led him to star in pages in the local press and radio talk shows.

He is unable to put in a suitcase all the CD Lugo items that he has bought and that they have given him. Among them, a team shirt with his name and signed by the players. But the memories that will accompany him for years and that he shares with his children upon his arrival in Buenos Aires weigh even more, from where he left without knowing anything other than that he wanted to see the club that made him dream of as a child in PC Fútbol “and that Now it’s a huge part of my life.”


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