Martin Palermo, 36, became the oldest Argentinean player to score at the World Cup. He also became the oldest player to ever score in World Cup history on his debut. Palermo took over the Argentinean record of his boss, Diego Maradona, who ironically set the mark against Greece at the 1994 World Cup. Palermo is the flag bearer of Boca Juniors and his selection on the Argentina side was met with heavy criticism. Why pick a 36 year old who had been out of the national team set-up for ten years to be your sixth striker?
Palermo scored against Peru in a driving rainstorm to secure World Cup qualification for Argentina. Maradona wanted to reward him but neither man could have anticipated the storybook ending that happened at the Peter Mokaba Stadium from Polokwane. Against Greece, Palermo was given a brief run-out which proved to be historic. He became the first Boca Juniors player to score at the World Cup since 1930 and has now inked his name in the history books.
Story for his Grandchildren
“Porque Martín Palermo no parece de carne y hueso. Se inventa a si mismo como un héroe inmortal. Y cuando todos creen que llegará su final, revive. Y hace que todos se rindan a sus pies, que entiendan que no es un mito, que es cierto lo que les contará a sus nietos.”
“Because Martin Palermo doesn’t seem to be of flesh and bones. He invented himself as an immortal hero. And when everyone believes that he is finished, he revives himself. And he put everyone at his feet. They understand that he is not a myth. It is surely something that he will tell his grandchildren.”
“It was as if all of the Argentineans scored the goal with me.”
“La verdad, me sorprendo a mí mismo. Fue como si todos los argentinos hubieran hecho el gol conmigo. Yo no sé si era mi momento, mi oportunidad… Pero justo estaba mi familia, que se había perdido los primeros dos partidos“.
“Frankly, it really surprised me. It was as if all of the Argentineans scored the goal with me. I don’t know if it was my time, my opportunity… But it was right that my family was there who weren’t able to attend the first two matches.”
“You have ten minutes.”
“Diego que me dice: ‘tenés diez minutos, jugáte la vida’. No sé si era el destino o qué, pero el país está feliz y eso es suficiente para mí”.
“Vivir esto a los 36 años es único, mis compañeros me abrazaron como si el gol fuera propio de cada uno de ellos”.
“Diego told me: ‘You have ten minutes, play for your life.’ I don’t know if it was destiny or what, but the country is happy and that is enough for me.”
“To experience this at 36 years of age is unique. My teammates embraced me as if the goal was one of their own.”
“A Dream that Became Reality.”
“Y dice que él no buscó la pelota, sino que la pelota lo buscó a él.”
“It is said that he doesn’t look for the ball. The ball looks for him.”
“Verme a esta edad hacer un gol para mi país, es impagable para ellos. Es una emoción muy grande. Esto es un sueño hecho realidad“.
“To see myself at this age scoring a goal for my country is priceless. It is a very strong emotion. This is a dream that became reality.”
Spanish source: Clarin de Buenos Aires, June 23, 2010.
Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.