There has never been a player like Marco Gaston Ruben Rodriguez.
The Argentine center forward, instrumental in winning the 2019 Copa do Brasil, is not a man of his time. He is an “old boy” as they say in Rosário, where he is a legend. The same city where ball geniuses like Messi, Menotti, Bielsa and Trinche Carlovich were born, the best player in history who never was, as he exchanged a call-up to the national team for a fishing trip.
Marco Ruben is from this lineage. It does not have staff, nor Instagram. He is a leader with the ball and his conduct. One channel of character. On the field, an extraordinary goalscorer who didn’t know the name of the opponent of the day. He liked to tap the ball just once to make it run down the string.
Off the field, he did everything his way. He liked fishing and only spoke when necessary, always to demand the strongest and never to humiliate the weakest. When possible he wrote verses, the popular payada of redondilha and rhyme, so common in southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
I ask my friends for forgiveness, because I can no longer think of it any other way when I remember that already in the autumn of his beautiful career, Marco knew that he would come to Brazilian land and put his car on a long road, among the smoke and dust, running to give joy to the people who lift the skull.
When the wine goes down and the word goes up, I remember that April when full of astonishment the country watched the hurricane that swept away everything that was left of the old bostero pride from the ground of Brazil. Three times, the killer broke the Xeneizes’ bow and beyond the evil and the good, Sedenir said “Marco” and the people shouted “Ruben”.
Then came the gossip against the loud-shouting Indians, who think they are immortal without knowing what sobriety is. With the wisdom of an old donkey and the courage of a young tiger, Marco appeared and tested them. The immortal fainted and the story of our greatest reunion was written.
But what is good comes to an end. The old saying was fulfilled and the payador of the great area returned to his Argentina, leaving the mute trail of his murderous fury and a burning longing for a poet, implacable and fine goalscorer.