Sunday, December 10, 2023

Joaquín ‘Perejil’, golf carts and dedicated fans: Málaga goes partying with Piqué

It is not strange to see the stadium of The Rose Garden packed to the brim for a football Saturday, with fans singing “Málaga, Málaga”, shouting for a penalty or jumping to the rhythm of “Que barco La Rosaleda”. Neither is seeing Joaquín dressed in green and white with the number 17 on his back, or the standing ovation of “Joaqui, Joaqui” in the Malaga stadium remembering his time in that ‘Euro Málaga’. But we are not in a Málaga game, the goals are at the height of the penalty area and On Joaquín’s t-shirt the name is “Perejil”.

The arrival of the cup tournament finals Kings and Queens League The Andalusian city had promise before it was announced, when Málaga swept as the option chosen by followers on Twitch. The tickets sold out shortly after going on sale, but the contest chosen to raffle them received criticism from the mayor, Francisco de la Torre, whose city council contributed 100,000 euros to sponsor the event.

Champion of the third Kings tournament (the men’s competition) and the Queens second (female) in less than a year, the shortest of both and the least followed by the audience. But from the reception of the fans to the arrival of the buses, the afternoon promised a party closer to the full capacity of the Camp Nou at the end of March, the big blow on the table of the competition devised by Gerard Piqué, which reached the second finals. at the Metropolitano at the end of July.

The ‘no tickets’ sign at the box office contrasted with the loud resale offers that were being made a few meters away. Right next door, in the stadium store, A manager put his hands on his head at the success of the t-shirt sales, especially the smaller sizes. In the background, the sound (with playback) of Kiko Rivera kicked off the afternoon to the rhythm of ‘The Mambo’his electro-Latin song that is sweeping TikTok and has taken him back to the charts.

The team presidents entered the field of play leading several golf cars, a step back from the Camp Nou helicopter or the Metropolitano tank. But his arrival was quickly overshadowed by the appearance of Joaquín and the standing ovation with which he was received by what was once his home. The footballer, who retired just a few months ago, would participate with one of the teams in the finals and had three shirts with the number 17 on the back to choose from, but he decided to The Trunks from ‘youtuber’ Perxitaa, the green and white of the Kings League. In this case, with the name “Parsley”maintaining the team’s habit of using names of plants, trees or fruits.

With Iker Casillas integrated into the referee team that controls the VAR of the match, the first match of the afternoon, the Queens semi-final between Annihilators and Female Tweet (league champions) maintained the tension and the tie on the scoreboard and in front of the fans, who did not have a clear favorite. Annihilators took the lead in the shootoutsthe penalties from the center of the field and left the team of the Mexican streamer Rivers without being able to fight for a double of trophies.

In the Kings semifinal, however, the atmosphere was very different. And all the attention, and all the support of the fans, fell on Joaquin. Their rival, Annihilators, reached the final event of the Kings League for the third consecutive time. At the opening whistle, when a cannon launches the ball into the air, the former soccer player was not among the seven starters. But he went out to warm up and the stands celebrated in a big way. Under shouts in his honor and a murmur every time he touched the ball, He put a cross from the corner that allowed Los Troncos to take the lead on the scoreboard, an advantage they would no longer lose. Annihilators, experts in reaching the semifinals, will have to wait to play metal.

With the lesson learned after Metropolitano fiasco, when thousands of people left the stadium before the Queens League final and they left the stands soulless, in this case the organization scheduled the women’s final first. A complete success for what was the most exciting match of the afternoon and in which the party on the field was total. The public opted for Saiyansclassified directly to the final, against the team chaired by the Andalusian streamer Espe, Aniquiladoras. How could La Rosaleda not support the blue and white team?.

While several in the south back were more aware of Ibai’s walk through one of the corners and left their seats to take a photo, the Annihilators took the lead and went 2-1 at halftime. An advantage that they maintained until the last minutes of the game, when goals count double, and the moment when the stadium became a cauldron. The whistle was widespread when the match referee annulled the Saiyans’ tying goal.

Espe’s team held up and the crowd’s favorites were still behind at the final whistle, but at this point in the night the party was already unstoppable. Chants, waves and jumps ran through the stands as the Queens Cup champions celebrated on the pitch, with one player including one proposing for her hand.. The streamers joined in and even Piqué, accustomed to the whistles at Camp Nou and Metropolitano, was greeted with chants. The grand celebration that did not take place at the Metropolitan culminated here with the throwing of confetti and the return of the golf carts to the center of the field to launch surprise fireworks stuck on its roof.

It’s not that the public left the stadium before the Kings final, but after the extensive Queens celebration and the performances of Soge Culebra and Marc Segui the atmosphere calmed down. With Joaquín retired from Los Troncos to “not take center stage” from the players, it was clear that the public was with the Ultimate Mostoles from the ‘youtuber’ DjMariio since they jumped to warm up on a field that was still under the smoke of the fireworks. And the players quickly returned their support to the fans, leaving a resounding 3 – 0 at half-time.

With this result the boiler began to cool down and DjMariio’s men moved further away at the start of the second half. A goal from Los Troncos before the final minutes of a double goal fueled the Verdiblancos’ hopes of a comeback. Nothing is further from reality. Between protests and a tangana that caused the green and white team to end up playing with four against sixthe Ultimate Móstoles found the goal twice more in the double goal and took the title with a resounding 8 – 1.

The Rose Garden, packed to capacity with 30,044 fans – and even some sitting on the stairs despite the efforts of the security team – began to empty while the players celebrated on the field and a couple of children invaded the playing field, broke the guards and returned to their seats. The chants continued in the stands after the new round of fireworks, this time from outside the stadium, and the last ones rushed to the lower part to look for photos with the presidents.

With Piqué’s promise to “return in 2024”, fans said “see you later” to the Kings League. All? No. After midnight, a group of followers stood between black vans at the doors of a central hotel in Malaga in the hope of seeing one of their idols pass by.


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