Miguel Ángel Torrén (1988, Villa Constitución, Santa Fe) does not want to get used to living haunted by death. And he doesn't give up. He struggles from a very young age and every day of his existence to fill himself with life, although the tragedy seems cruel to him and his people. This is how Torrén incorporated and followed to the letter each of the tips of the Velázquez, the family that sheltered him in Rosario while his father juggled raising his five older brothers and him. That's how he managed to gambet the marked cards of fate and built a beautiful family with Natalia, the woman he met when he was 15 years old and who over time became his support and the mother of Vladimir, Santino and Angelo, three boys of 18, 16 and 12 years old who play and dream in the Lower Divisions of Argentinos Juniors.
In the club of La Paternal, this defender makes history by walking. It does not matter that his football DNA – a tough guy, almost impenetrable – does not match the tradition of the team that was the birthplace of Diego Armando Maradona and dozens of ball artists. Although he trained at Newell's Old Boys and reached Primera as a teenager and then went through Cerro Porteño in Paraguay, Torrén is already synonymous with Argentinos. He has spent thirteen seasons putting high, against all odds, the colors of the Bug. All technicians choose it. For something it will be. He has 335 games and is only four appearances away from equaling Oscar Di Stéfano as the player with the most appearances in the institution. There he scored all six goals he scored in his career. There he finds the other ground wire, in addition to his family, that he needs to follow. Because Torrén knows, and repeats it again and again, that life, despite everything, must go on.
Miguel Torren and Sixto
It's that fate, the damn fate, put him to the test very early. He was not three months old — he was born on August 12, 1988 — when a bad connection on a floor fan killed his mother. The woman was electrocuted in her home. He had six children and the mango was no longer enough in the super humble home on the outskirts of Rosario. His older siblings remained under the tutelage of their father, who slumped daily to raise the money needed to bring food and cover basic needs. Miguel, on the other hand, had the fortune to cross paths with the Velázquez family. "If it hadn't been for them, I would have grown up on the street and my life would have been totally different. They taught me respect, humility, what was right, what path I should take," Torrén told journalist Diego Paulich, from Olé. And he continued: "I started playing in Venezuela, the neighborhood club, and the man had his. I remember walking everywhere with a little truck looking at boys to take them. He found me playing in the square, barefoot. He saw me conditions and talked to my old man and signed me at his club, Itatí. I started staying at their house on weekends and a few months later I went directly to live with them. I was there for six years, they taught me a lot of things, I went to school."
They killed in Rosario a brother of Miguel Angel Torren and it is the fourth crime in his family,
Playing good football was his safe-conduct. If not, the story would be different. This weekend, Torrén received the news of the murder of José Sixto, the fourth of his brothers who died in a brutal way in the last 14 years. The common denominator is that all the crimes occurred in and around Rosario. A city where violence does not stop: there are 130 murders so far in 2023.
The life of José Sixto was extinguished after 21.30 on Saturday. Four people on two motorcycles rang the doorbell of his house in the Godoy neighborhood. He opened the door and was only shot. He had the same bad luck as Walter, killed in 2010 when he was 32, while playing a football match on the outskirts of the city of Santa Fe. Then, on this path of misfortune, followed Gabriel, who at 34 could not survive a beating after a fight with two brothers-in-law in 2020. A year later, Luis was shot three times while walking down the street. In between, his father died like thousands of Argentines in the middle of the pandemic. The drama of poverty. The drama of insecurity. The drama of hunger. The drama of health. All the dramas of Rosario. All the dramas of an Argentina in the process of decomposition.
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"Unfortunately, we had a very difficult life since we were kids, a very complicated childhood. We quickly suffered the loss of my mother and we were six siblings. My old man had to work all his life and he couldn't take much care of us because he left early and came back at night. Unfortunately, when you have no containment and no one to guide you... We grew up on the street," Torrén confessed Monday in an audio he recorded with journalist Mauro Szeta, of La Red radio.
Although they were estranged because life, like many brothers, took them on different paths, Torrén is not indifferent to pain. "They were big, they had their families, they decide what way to live and what they want to do. Rather than advising them, I could do nothing else. They go their own way, but when these things happen it hits you a lot. I grew up, I formed my beautiful family, with a great woman who accompanies me at all times and my children, who are the strength in these hard times. The truth is that these last years hit me hard. Not only did I lose my mother when we were kids, but first I lost my brother Walter, then Gabriel, Luis Anastasio and now José. These are difficult times. I keep pushing him forward, because if I stay at home and I don't get out of bed, I'm going to get into a blind pit that I'm not going to be able to get out of."
The farewell of the player Miguel Torren to his brother José Sixto Torren, shot dead in Rosario. Photo @migueltorren
Torrén knows that the pain, sooner rather than later, will go away. He forces himself to move on. He doesn't lower his arms. For his family, for his teammates of Argentinos -there he has the support of Patricio, the psychologist of the squad-, for the fans of the Bicho. For him. "The training, playing on the weekends... That's where I clear myself of what I'm going through," he confesses. I have to be strong for my children, for my wife. They are my engine and I am their support. For them I'm going to keep fighting, fighting and trying to get out of the pain on a day-to-day basis."