Latin America, I think of you…

A week ago Albiceleste won the most precious trophy on planet football. I am a footballer, I will die as a footballer, “I am a sinner, I confess to God”, as Gonzalo Rojas writes. In another context, of course, I would confess to Messi or Mbappé, never to a priest. Or rather, I’d like to “confess” them and poor Didier Deschamps, who has been suffering for some time, can be seen in his rictus.

Paraphrasing Vallejo, Deschamps could have written: it was Sunday in the ears of my donkey / of my French donkey from France / forgive the sadness… But, of course, Deschamps will most likely never have heard of a certain César Vallejo, even if the Peruvian died in Paris in a downpour. All in all, a deserved victory for Argentina, above all because France conceded them seventy minutes out of the over 120 in the match.

If you, for example, reached the final of a hypothetical Poetry World Cup and remained silent for seventy minutes, you would automatically be eliminated. It is intended. Now, the most memorable sentence after the victory was that of Rodrigo de Paul: “we were born to suffer, we will always suffer,” said the Atlético de Madrid midfielder, referring to the Argentines. For that sentence he already deserved to toast. Argentina is a footballing power, this is an empirical fact, but there’s more: nobody philosophises about football like the Argentines do.

Indeed, during the seventy minutes in which we witnessed the collapse of the French team, I remembered (a lot) another memorable phrase, this time by César Luis Menotti: “football is a state of mind”. St. Augustine could not have explained it better. If we add that of Bielsa: “almost all the coaches are losers, that’s why we are so alone”, the holy trinity is formed. Christ, no doubt, would have made room among his apostles for Menotti, Bielsa and de Paul. And few many stay out.

It is not for nothing that Argentina is a country of footballers, psychoanalysts and writers. This “circulation of the word” gives them a unique character in Latin America and probably in the world (why not?): they are football power, but at the same time they are verbal power. Thumb up! Now, what caught my attention after de Paul’s (or São Paulo?) statement was the reaction of many Latin American citizens: Latin America has won!, they exclaimed on social networks. Beautiful, that continental consciousness that emerges like a firework in battles like these.

But the question falls out of the drawer: does Latin America exist? And if it existed, what would it be? A cultural space united by a majority language and a colonial past? A territory dedicated to the symbolic and material looting of the Church, of the Spanish monarchy, and then of the local oligarchies and nefarious imperialisms? What have we Latin Americans tried to do together besides the revolution? And why have we always made failed revolutions? Or failed, but repeated ad nauseum? Can an inhabitant of San Pedro Sula or Barranquilla feel like a world cup winner? And if so, which cup? in what world?

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  • The content expressed in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of The meter.

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