Friday, September 22, 2023

Montiel, the Lord Wolf of penalties that has made Argentina and Sevilla champion

Gonzalo Montielsuperhero profession. Call him Mister Wolf if you want, like that character from ‘Pulp Fiction’ played by Harvey Keitel who was called in to solve problems. Who was going to tell him? Who was going to tell him that he would end this season being world champion with Argentina and the Europa League with Sevilla. Thus, without further nuance, it already surprises.

But not even in his wildest dreams would he have imagined that, in addition to the titles, he would have such a leading role in both feats. Less than six months ago, in Qatar, after riding Leo Messi for a month, scored the decisive penalty that granted the long-awaited third World Cup to Argentina.

The referee ordered to repeat

What were the chances of it happening again? And in the same season! But in Budapest, Montiel covered the 40 or so meters that separated midfield from the penalty spot with the opportunity to repeat heroics. The referee whistles Gonzalo picks up a run, hits the ball… and Rui Patricio stops him.

Already, it was all too round to be true. Again? Well no… but yes. Because the VAR, that diabolical little machine that a while before had (well) annulled an Ocampos penalty, caught Rui Patricio taking the lead in the shot. Fate, how generous, granted Montiel a new opportunity. And then yes, the circle closed, Montiel scored and Sevilla won their seventh Europa League.

“I was left with pity for making a mistake. But when I saw that the goalkeeper had gone ahead, I saw that he had another ‘chance’. And there I didn’t waste it anymore”, he commented, still on the grass of the Puskás Arena.

from the bench

As in Qatar, he had not even started. Like there, in Doha, in Budapest He also took the field in extra time. Neither the athletic Nahuel Molina could take it anymore then nor did Jesús Navas have enough air this Wednesday. And there that Montiel came out, to put fresh legs, as the cliché says, to the game. Did Lionel Scaloni think that he was giving way to who was going to make him a legend? I sure don’t. Mendilibar, neither.


Europa League Final: Seville – Rome

I am privileged, I thank God for raising a Cup”, he summed up, sparing in words, before the Movistar+ microphones after the final. He didn’t even want to give importance to a curious fact. Mendilibar and his players put together the list of pitchers and it was his turn to take the fifth penalty. “I was going to throw the last one in principle, but they talked to each other and they changed it,” the Basque coach said later.

Montiel: “I went ahead”

Did he go ahead because he hoped to repeat a moment of glory? “It happened like that, I went ahead and it could happen”explained the protagonist, without wanting to reveal whether or not he really wanted to tempt fate.

Cold in his statements, he was much more emotional in the celebration, in which he was accompanied by an Argentine flag, topped with his face, a World Cup and the inscription “Lucas, Teté and Ema, always present”. “They are my friends who passed away, from the neighborhood where I was born and raised. I always have them present,” explained the most unexpected double hero that football has ever seen.


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