Gonzalo Martínez He runs away, takes his index finger in his left hand to his mouth, and after converting a true goal into Quilmes, he asks for silence for the fans in Monumental. It is February 8, 2016 and few imagine the (brilliant) result of that story between "pity" and the fans of "Millionaire".
This gesture of the football player was far from being a before and after in his relationship with the public in Núñez. On the contrary, it did nothing but deepen the criticism of his person. The brick walls that came down from the stands and questioned their football pitch turned to claims for his needy attitude.
But something began to happen in the field of play. The bombing that was fixed at an angle (the first of his two goals in the afternoon) in the 5-1 victory over "El Cervecero" was one First approach to "pity" that would become a figure and a reference of the set Marcelo Gallardo.
The river trainer was undoubtedly the fundamental factor in the transformation of Mendoza. Similarly, one has managed to bring the best version of many players during its cycle "El Muñeco" also used its knowledge to maximize the capacity of the former hurricane. Although these skills were often questioned, the coach always knew the potential of his work.
Gonzalo Nicolás Martínez arrived in the river in January 2015 in exchange for $ 4.5 million for 75% of his passport. At that time, the "spoiled child" of the river plate Leonardo Pisculichi. The quality and main goals of former Argentine juniors overshadowed the figure "Pity", which also offered its good status as an introduction letter.
The former player of "Globo" cost him to win the ownership of his early days cast Nuñez. Their actions did not convince and his devilish gambler – who had made him show him on Tomás Adolfo Ducó's square – often culminated in acts of poor decision: he collided with rival defenders and failed to generate associations with his teammates.
It was in 2016 when his football reverse process. Gallardo was the craftsman of the new player, where he became "El Pity". The coach not only confirmed his confidence over and over again, but also realized in him what the team needed from him. "DT helped me a lot, it's not easy for me to knock, he saw that I should give up at some point," the player said in a recent interview.
With work and firmness, Martinez took the challenge, changed and paid more than the support from the coach. He became a much more cerebral football player. He raised his head and began meeting his companions. Without losing the taste of individual magic hand, he privileged his contribution to the collective. He also developed a tactical and positional discipline and intelligence that became fundamental to the team's overall performance. Then he was awarded the unconditional recognition of the fans.
A separate chapter in this love story with the supporters "Millionaires" was Duels against Boca. "The Pity" found in the crosses before the classical rival an incentive to assert his leadership and his forces. A great volley in Bombonera for the local tournament, a penalty in Supercopa in Mendoza, another volley – dismissed for the first – by Superliga and the unforgettable run against an empty bow in the Santiago Bernabéu. All these conquests meant triumphs, and in addition, they earned the player the creation of a tribute song. to "How crazy is he" is a hit that will resonate even when the (first?) cycle of the player in the club is already closed.
The technical quality, the goals against Boca and in key fields and the titles obtained (eight in four years) They put "pity" in the Olympus of the great number "10" of the river. In what is perhaps the most successful cycle in club history, Mendoza had the responsibility to wear a shirt with a lot of history and demand. Having been born in the institution could also have been a condition. However He went from less to larger and ended up receiving recognition (and idolatry) of the river plaques.
His performance did not go unnoticed by the Argentine team's coach (then temporarily) Lionel Scaloniwho quoted him at the beginning of his post-World Russia 2018 cycle and gave him the responsibility of being the team's handle. The damage prevented the player of River from having continuity with the blue and white shirt, but the honor is open to the future against the Copa America of Brazil 2019 and a possible partnership with Lionel Messiif rosarino decides to return to the national cast.
"He is a player qualified to play in a big league", Gallardo said when he was asked about the transfer of Martinez to Atlanta United of the United States MLS. "The Pity", for 25 years, chose the destination as it was the strongest offer that came to the club for its passport, but He does not lose the hope of reaching a higher football level. "Every player wants to go to Europe, but I know that tomorrow they will pick me up and pay more than I pay because I trust my conditions," he said.
So excellent was the 2018 midfielder that the English newspaper "The Guardian" chose him among the top 100 football players of the year (It was 94 °). He was the only representative of local football who earned the profit to enter the list. In addition, he won the recognition America's best player in the traditional prize published by the newspaper "El País" in Uruguay.
This story of overcoming could not end it punishment against Al Ain who prevented the river from winning the game and gaining access to the final of the Club World Cup against Real Madrid. The two goals against Japan's Kashima Antlers – especially the second – in the duel for third place was a much more appropriate closure for the "Pity" cycle on the river. The festivals in Monumental to achieve Copa Libertadores against Boca served as the dessert strawberries for this affair between the player and the fans.
"I will miss you". These were the four words that Martinez repeated until the meal after the final at Bernabéu. He said them in Madrid, in the United Arab Emirates and in Nuñez. He told them to his teammates and fans. He always told them with tears in his eyes.
That recreation of his goal to Boca on the lawn at Monumental was the last feature of "Pity" with the red band on his chest. River fans hope it's not goodbye, but we'll see laterand that for some years it may echo in its stands that "What a madman he is …".