I would like to explain Argentine identity to you in a penalty shootout, Gino, but it seems like a utopia to me.
How to put into words what we are and what unites us for the mere fact of being born in this land, the land of soccer.
That's why I ask you to look at me, son.
Look at me, here, nail yourself to the center of these brown eyes.
Look at me, since you have your back to the television, because Lionel Messi is in my eyes, just as Maradona was once in my life, reflected in the sight of my father, the ninth boy who went to heaven.
I knew that ten like you did this one, in a pair of pupils that enlarged as Argentine soccer grows every time the ball passes through it in this World Cup.
Did you see him in that cut pass for Molina's goal?
Did you follow him on his penalty kick?
Did you know the expression of anger when, after being 2-0 up,
We were 2-2 just as the clock ticked down to the end of the 90 minutes?
Do you see him doing the Mole Gigio now?
Look at me, look at him, but wait, wait until I turn up the volume, so you can hear it too: yes, he's fighting, son.
He is expressing himself: that Messi who did not speak before now says.
How do I explain what "what are you looking at, stupid, go over there" means.
How do I translate so that you understand the emotion that 45 million people have when they hear Messi say: "Van Gaal sells smoke that he plays football well and hit all the highest balls".
There is something of Argentina there, a common thread that identifies us, that makes us feel part of something, in communion with others.
On this earth we are all a bit like this Messi.
Argentina is in the semifinals of the World Cup, Gino: it will already be one of the best four teams on the planet and that the achievement coincides with the week in which you gave us the first smile of your life is just a metaphor for what we would like to leave you with soccer as an excuse.
Laugh because the most Argentine Messi displays his wake in Qatar: he is decisive on the field and also outside, raising his chest and chin to fight and defend himself but also to defend his own.
The pass to the semifinals obtained against the Netherlands, Van Gaal's team, was his own revenge: that's why the gesture with his hands in his ears, popularized by Juan Román Riquelme, the crack that the Dutch coach ran from Barcelona a few years ago behind, facing DT himself.
A clear message: now I hear you.
I leave these lines written for when you can read, son, because I want you to understand us.
Soccer is friendship and, as the writer Alejandro Dolina once said, it is better to share the game —and especially defeat— with friends than victory with undesirables.
It is better not to forget.
You better always wonder
Look at me, don't cry, don't pout, no, now the penalties are coming and Argentina has Dibu Martínez in the goal.
Don't be scared, he is alone, yes.
Or it seems, there under the three sticks, putting the body to what can be a terrifying shot.
The goalkeeper is a position that many times becomes a scapegoat, the place in the world where mistakes are paid with a disadvantage.
The place where the little finger accusing defeats appears.
Look at how he saves one and saves another, look at it because it eats you up, brother, look at it because it shows that this game can also be an angel for your loneliness.
Look at me, son: I know that the only thing that will save you sometimes is soccer.
And he is a beautiful nook.
If they will know — if we will know — in Argentina, our country, this afternoon in which, after the penalty shootout, they gathered everywhere to celebrate.
It is Dibu Martínez who mentions that there is a country behind these players.
In these times, my son, we are the Argentina of the working poor: the country in which a working day is not enough for many to live.
Would it seem unfair to you to locate football as a catalyst for these scars?
It may be, but don't worry: it won't cover up what's going on.
Of course, it will help that in each game, as has happened up to now, we can share a little of the collective joy.
At home we don't ask for anything.
But we do appreciate.
I would like to explain to you the sensation of the present that this Selection has.
Because if the Messi that you see in my eyes is the director of this orchestra,
Lionel Scaloni fulfills the role on the other side of the lime line.
A coach who, in this hell where the past and the future are used as arguments for not inhabiting the now, plays against the current.
The DT, son, is a bit what you are for us: pure present.
The manual of the here and now leads him to make changes game by game.
Tactical and name changes: to the field, then, go those who he considers to be better at the time of the game.
No more no less.
That is why in my eyes there is Messi, 35, accompanied by Alexis Mac Allister, 23, or Enzo Fernández, 21, while Ángel Di María, 34, or Leandro Paredes, 28, started today from the bench.
There are no trajectories or promises, revisions, prejudices or projections: there is reality.
If we could print you an encyclopedia that would remind you of this premise for life, we would, Gino.
In football and in life, the best place in the world is here and now.
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