It was more than she ever dreamed of as a little girl, when she lived with her soccer jersey on and playing ball.
Today, at the age of 29, Sofía María Martínez Mateos, sports journalist, Not only was he able to cover a World Cup, but he ended up starring in one of the most special moments of Qatar 2022.
He traveled the Public TV as a chronicler to closely follow the Argentine National Team. But he made a master move. A play that, he says, came from his heart.
Let’s put it in context: Argentina had just become finalist after beating Croatia and Sofia waited for the players after the game, in the mixed zone of the stadium, as usual.
And when Lionel Messi approached him, instead of asking him something related to the game, he spoke to him from emotion.
He told the 10 that, beyond what happened in the final, nothing was going to change what he had already done for the Argentine people.
“You marked everyone’s life and that is, for me, bigger than any World Cup. And no one is going to take it from you”, he added. Messi listened to her carefully, smiled excitedly and thanked her.
That moment – which barely lasted 38 seconds – went viral and traveled the world. Sofia increased 500,000 followers in Instagram. It was trending topic in China. He gave notes for Japan, Serbia, Poland and Israel.
“It was very strong to see it translated into different languages, that media from other countries approached me and took an interest in me. I think I should get a tattoo of that moment, because it is one of the most special moments I have experienced in my life. And that I will live It was much more than a dream, ”she confesses.
“I think I should tattoo the note with Messi, because it is one of the most special moments that I have lived in my life. And that I will live”.
For now, Sofía tattooed on her forearm the three stars that represent the World Cups won by Argentina and the phrase “All together”, the same one that united the squad of the National Team and that served as motivation and good energy.
Sofia is still happy about the experience in Qatar: “I feel a mixture of relief and satisfaction. I really wanted to live and work in a World Cup. I covered the playoffs and the friendlies. The channel director told us: ‘Good job. Come on, Qatar is coming.
But until I set foot on the plane I didn’t believe it. And when it came to fruition, I was very nervous about whether it would turn out well. I wanted it very much. It was my big event. I was scared, but I knew I was going to have fun. And it happened. It is a confirmation that what one dreams or believes ends up being. Because I was born for this. Because I enjoy it. I felt very full.”
Of course, before leaving for Doha, he had his doubts: “Because I was never a club chronicler. And, on top of that, the Selection is another level. I had no sources or contacts, I had not been doing this. In addition, carrying out the coverage for the channel that broadcasts all the World Cup matches, which logically is going to have a high turn-on… It was a great responsibility. Therefore, today I feel relief and satisfaction.
crazy about soccer
already as a girl, Sofia was a fan of Messi. She grew up in San Isidro and her brother always looked for her to go play ball.
He did the same in the courtyard of the Dardo Rocha school. He played and plays as a 5. He likes assists more than goals. But it was hard for him to realize that his vocation was associated with sports. He finished school and began to study Law at the UBA.
“I chose this career with the illusion of doing justice. Later I realized that the job is much more bureaucratic. Going to court, all that… I did well at the CBC, but when I entered my first year I recognized that Law was not for me, ”she explains.
The day he left the degree, he walked down the Avenida del Libertador to the Public TV: “I was crying. I stood at the door of the canal and asked the security man that he wanted to speak to the people from Human Resources. I told him I wanted to work there. Very rare, but it was like that. The man told me: ‘Poor thing’. A woman from Human Resources just passed by and she explained to me that I had to enter through a contest: that she put me on a page or that I sent her an email. That came to nothing. The crazy thing is that after a tour I ended up working for Public TV ”, she reflects today.
In between, he tried Political Science at the UBA, but got bored. Until he realized that his thing was journalism.
Justo started working on the production of Guido Kaczka at the Kuarzo production company.
He had the morning off and could only sign up for sports journalism. “And there I said: ‘Do you know that yes?’ I linked with arrows, the panorama opened, the clouds cleared. How had I not noticed before! Yes, I am a lifelong fan of the sport,” she says.
It was received at DeporTea. He worked with Kaczka for seven years until he entered Public TV to do sports with Rifle Varela and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez.
He is currently also on the SportsCenter newscast of the ESPN network and on the radio cycle street dogs, by Urbana Play.
Let’s go back to the World Cup. What was it like behind the scenes? Did you eat and sleep well?
–(laughter)) A little of all. We went to bed at 6 in the morning and got up at 11. Nothing more than five hours a night. He shared an apartment with two sound engineers. I slept in a room alone. We ate on the go, because we were constantly on the air and we went from one place to the other.
“There are ways to communicate from the heart that sometimes do not come in the form of a question.”
-Did you have cabals?
–For the first game I wore the light blue and white shirt and we lost. To the other, I put on the purple and the good streak began. I didn’t let her go anymore. Then, a nonsense: each game made the same route on the field. First, the visiting bank; then the venue; finally, the corridor where the footballers leave. And he showed them on social networks. In the locker room I saw some cabals from the players. There were religious stamps. In the last games the palo santo was smelled. Exequiel Palacios, for example, had a picture of San Expedito. Dibu Martínez always put a ball on top of the gloves. Many shin guards with the family photo. Seeing that detail was wonderful.
-And as for Leo Messi, did you already have a relationship with him?
-No. The first time I got close was in Qatar. Same, from the first question I asked him at the press conference, he was always super nice. I feel like he liked me. That time, when I told him what it meant to the Argentines, Leo was in happy mode. It came out to me to say those words. Later I felt that the message had been like a bridge. I had had the opportunity to convey to him what many of us felt.
-You had some critics…
-Yes, some questioned that my attitude had been unjournalistic. But I feel that there is something in communication that goes a little further than being a journalist. There are ways of communicating from the heart that sometimes do not come in the form of a question. I am sentimental and emotional. I like to transmit what a person feels inside. And I think that at that moment I interpreted, even without being aware of it, everything that vibrated a country.
-And what happened to you after that note with Messi?
She was breathing hard and her eyes were full of tears. When I finished writing the note, I grabbed my cell phone and saw that my brother had written to me: “You made me cry.” Later, I wrote to my boyfriend and said: “I wrote a note to Messi that I will carry in my heart forever”. She was back made. I never thought the viralization would take almost instantly.
-You mentioned your boyfriend, who is Diego Leuco, journalist and host of Telenoche. How did they meet?
-We met in the corridors of Channel 13, when I was a producer for Guido Kaczka and he was doing Mariana’s diary. We had a good vibe. Later, he interviewed me on the radio while I was covering the Tokyo Olympics. When I came back, he asked me, “Shall we go out?” And we go out… We don’t live together, but we sleep more nights together than apart. We get along a lot.
-You work in Public TV and he, in El Trece. Is there a crack?
–(laughter)) The truth is that there is no crack. That counterpoint is funny. In fact, before the World Cup, when we whitewashed the relationship, I asked myself: “What will happen on Public TV when they find out that we are together?” Although one is aware that it should not affect anything, you never know. And the truth is that on Public TV they took it very well. Look, I ended up having a super important place.
Do you talk about politics among yourselves?
-Zero. Yes, we are talking about women’s sports, for example, which I love. I believe in honesty of thought. And I think that Diego has a very clear position and wants the best for the country from his point of view.. I see him as a super honest kid and with all the values that I like in a person. Then, if you prefer one candidate or the other, it is in each one. Mine is sport and I raise a lot of flags linked to that.
-Do you have the shirt signed by all the players?
-No, the one with the cholulo, I don’t do that. The coolest thing I did was shake hands with Messi before each note. I started after the third game and it stayed.
“In life, what frustrates me, or what has always scared me, is the plateau. Being comfortable and not wanting to do more than what is established.”
-Are you still playing football?
Yes, it’s my ground wire. I play with friends in the north zone. On Saturdays, always. And I try to put another game in the week. It does me very well.
-What makes you angry or frustrated?
–In life, what frustrates me, or what has always scared me, is the plateau. Being comfortable and not wanting to do more than what is established. If there is something that Guido Kaczka taught me when I started in production, it is that there can always be one more twist. If you mess with it, a different point of view can emerge to tell something. And as a chronicler of the National Team, I felt that there was another way to do it. And I did it.
And it gave you good results. There must be a before and after Qatar 2022 in you.
-Undoubtedly. There is a before and after, but internally. The fact of feeling that I could do it. It was a very big challenge.
-You already fulfilled the dream of the World Cup, do you have another?
-My life is sporting events. I would like to cover them all. This year there is the World Cup for basketball, rugby and women’s soccer. I would go one by one. For me, discovering those stories, those emotions, gives me years of life.