June 17, 2021

Hilario, a Netflix life


Imagining Kylian Mbappé or Erling Haaland disguised as a woman, with heels, a wig and a long salmon-colored suit, to take a boat and evade the marking of their managers and agents, sounds like a script from the Netflix adventure factory. Juan Marrero Pérez, known as Hilario, a historical exponent of the exquisite Gran Canaria quarry, did so in 1928 when he embarked for Galicia by boat dressed as a soprano to sign for Deportivo de La Coruña. As the chronicles of the Diario de Las Palmas say, ‘the escape of the fugues’ occurred and it was a stabbing for island followers.

Passed away in 1989, at the age of 83, the interior Hilario marveled at Porteño and Victoria -one of the founding clubs of UD Las Palmas- for his power, harmony and incisive instinct. The midfielder’s request to compete for the Galician club, before the first edition of the League, was a bomb.

The sports team paid 43,000 pesetas, but Victoria had closed the operation with FC Barcelona -for 100,000-. But Hilario had a plan. The ship of his dreams was about to set sail. With his wig he avoided the gaze of onlookers, managers and judges of the competition. Once in La Coruña, the Federation prohibited its registration, but no one could stop the ‘little devil’, who reached 81 duels with the sportsmen in the Second -from 1928 to 1931-.

He avoided the execution of the goal of Racing Trigo and defender Layas by the Falangists in a cabaret in La Coruña


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Hilario’s escape generated rivers of ink. Araujo’s ‘Chester case’ would be an anecdote. The soccer player in trouble was arrested in Valladolid for “a scam when selling a car, after expending the ballots to raffle it.” The Gran Canaria player himself clarified that everything was a mistake and that it was a misunderstanding. Barça used it to portray the betrayal and labeled the signing by Dépor as ‘a vile act of coercion’.

The RFEF agreed with the Galician club and the ‘little devil’. Real Madrid signed him for 100,000 pesetas. The ‘Hilario case’ was already history. He achieved star status and kissed titles. He was international and accompanied Luis Valle in La Roja. From Las Canteras to Olympus.

The great star of the 1934 Spanish Cup was this escapist from the ship of dreams. Madrid rewarded its great campaign with the delivery of a plot of land in La Castellana. He received a historic slap with Spain in England (7-1) at the historic Highbury in London -December 9, 1931-. He played two games with Valencia, defended Barça’s elastic and returned to Dépor, where he was a coach.

The ‘no smoking’ sign

In the middle of the Civil War, two Falangist soldiers broke into a cabaret in the Galician capital. Paco Trigo, Racing’s goal, and defender Layas were arrested. The intervention of the ‘little devil’ prevented them from being shot. Hilario signed two autographs for the military and became a guardian angel in the face of barbarism. The other Schindler. The heart of genius.

Merengue legend, marquis of escapism, rogue, lover of dance and his land. JM Saavedra drew up in LA PROVINCIA, in February 1989, a portrait of the character with the title ‘It was good’. ‘Among his memories, I evoke a confession from the great Hilario:’ The biggest disappointment of my life happened to me in London when I was traveling with the national team on the way to the sports venue in the capital of the Thames, in a modern bus. It turns out that there was a non-smoking ad on the vehicles there and I thought I couldn’t go in a suit. ‘ A ship, a wig, heels and the delirious life of the devil.

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