Joselu’s second youth, the last miracle for Real Madrid in the Champions League

A few minutes, two goals and the sixth Champions League final for Real Madrid. Not even in the best dreams of Joselu Mato (Stuttgart, 1990) would the script that he wrote in the Santiago Bernabéu asylum on another legendary May night for the Chamartín club be written. The striker born in Germany, raised in the small Galician town of Silleda and arrived in Valdebebas this summer to replace Benzema after a tour of several teams as a Real Madrid youth player, became the latest saint on the Paseo de la Castellana. A double from the low-cost 9 that came to the team of his life at the age of 33, for half a million euros, to play at times on the green, knocked down Bayern Munich to fully enter the miracle factory of a team that in Its 122 years of history has built a special relationship with victory and deeds.

Joselu arrived at the Bernabéu as a young man for the second time after wearing the shirt of eleven teams from three different countries, scoring goals in stoppage time and aspiring to win it all. This is how his life in Madrid began when Jose Mourinho gave him a few minutes in a rout of Almería in May 2011 to score an eighth goal that was worth nothing more than his statistic. The story of the striker on loan from Espanyol is that of someone he always believed in. Of whom in the final stretch of his career, after going downhill twice with the parakeets and Alavés, he unexpectedly touches the sky.

A useful resource in the squad and unblocker of games that get complicated, he has participated in 46 games this season – 17 goals and 2 assists – and against the Bavarians he scored two goals in two minutes and 40 seconds, the most important of his extensive career. career. «You become a footballer to live what you have experienced in the past. Work has brought me here. Surely many would doubt at the beginning of the season. The insistence, the trust of the coach, of my teammates… The work pays off. With all the injuries, playing in a Champions League final is a big deal,” the striker tried to explain after the umpteenth inexplicable night at the Bernabéu, in which Madrid reached its eighteenth European Cup final.

The last saint’s goals happen, as happens with Madrid’s, which are not announced. Thomas Tuchel said it in the preview, knowing his recent history in Europe, and days before Carlo Ancelotti, who knows that his team sometimes wins more with attitude than with physical appearance. The man from Reggiolo grabbed him in the 81st minute when Bayern was preparing the box to bury the whites. First in 88 and then in 91. Quick and easy. As he did in the 83rd and 85th minutes with Spain against Norway in March of last year in the Nations League, or in the same way he repeated days later against Italy in the semifinal of the same competition. The hero who was not in almost anyone’s plans had the answer. The 1.92 meter tall ‘9’ that he never stopped believing in achieved the umpteenth comeback to reach Wembley for his first Champions League final as a player. In the previous one for the whites, he was already present in Paris as a fan with his father, as he left testimony on social networks, and as a family member of his now teammate Dani Carvajal. The footballer has been married since 2016 to Melanie Cañizares, Daphne’s twin sister and therefore sister-in-law of the Madrid full-back. «For me, football is not a sport, it is my entire life, and the bad moments are very difficult, but I have been lucky that she (his wife) knew how to guide and redirect me. “He is a fundamental pillar,” he explained recently in an interview.

Father of Leo and Lucas, he is a goal globetrotter. A prodigious head, in all possible football meanings. Joselu was always a great finisher despite starting out as a goalkeeper in his childhood. He has scored 115 goals, 72% inside the area. Every year he is able to add a new record to his qualities. And more goals. “Each year that passed I became a better footballer and in the end look, it has led me to be on the best team in the world,” highlighted the guy who mixes power in the aerial game with great intelligence in the space game like no one else. .

2024-05-09 08:11:22
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