"There are many people who tell me to practice in pigskin … But I do not care, it's my body." She is not a plastic surgeon, nor a veterinarian. It's María Pilar León, Mapi, (Zaragoza, 23 years old), professional footballer of FC Barcelona, international with Spain. "Do not you like it?" He asks with a smile, while showing the tattoo on La Palma of his left hand; "I did it to me. It's a rose. " He says that he has always liked to draw, that he is interested in art and that he has never lost his curiosity. He likes to talk, but listen. He also asks. At times reflexive, at others spontaneous; Mapi is, essentially, natural. And he has charisma. Save, above all, that wise unconsciousness of brave people.
"I do not feel an icon, why should I feel it? I, first of all, am a soccer player. I do not have a speech or want to have it. I just want to be honest. " Last summer, Mapi's Instagram account was hectic. I had just said publicly that she is a lesbian. Messages kept coming: "Thank you", "I've seen you and given me strength", "I'm not alone". Girls and boys from all over Spain recognized his gesture. "I read them all, I did not answer them. I did not think it could be important to so many people. "
His message, more revealing than liberating, was an engine of alien catharsis. "If you have an environment in which people say fucking gay shit or bolleras disgust me, maybe you have to think about it before confessing, right? This still happens to many people, "analyzes Mapi. "I've always been very reserved, very much mine. Before making it public, I analyzed the good and the bad. I have the feeling that I have been able to help. And that's what matters".
Mapi does not hide and, if in doubt, he takes a few seconds to meditate well on his response. Why are there no gay male soccer players? "I think it's funny"says Mapi. And he questions: "Of all the players in the world, none of them is gay?" He believes, however, that coming out of the closet would not be an easy test in the masculine. "There would be a lot of criticism, I hope I'm wrong." And he gives an example: "The boys of our age have many curiosities. One day, a friend asked me: 'In a changing room there are many lesbians? I could not be with a gay in the locker room, he would look at me. " Leon is not intimidated. "I tried to explain, I do not know if I helped him. Maybe when it happens he will realize that what he thought was nonsense. People fear the unknown, to which they are not accustomed. As a defense mechanism, judge. And that becomes prejudice. You have to normalize it, it's the only way. "
And, on that road, there is also women's football. A pure machete in the jungle of stereotypes. "When you listen to people who say it's neither football nor girls, you have to look who's coming from. I would like to ask them: 'What do you look for when you watch a match? What stick? That they play nice? That they run a lot? "There are very intense and beautiful boys' matches, as do we," explains León. Then, it lights up. He likes to talk about soccer. "And I think I understand," he warns. "There are fast people, another who knows how to haggle, there are the blunt ones … That you are good does not make you understand the game. There are people who do not realize what happens in the field, nor know how to find the spaces or manage the times, "explains the Barca defense.
From the playground of the school to the parks, until arriving at futsal. "I started from the end, I went to play side and now I'm central. The lame to the defense … ", he says. You can not hide the laughter. A pause and it becomes serious again: "I try to read the game, I was signed up for that. And I am blunt. I hate to lose, it gives me so much anger that I can not go stealing a ball at a trot, I have to do it to the fullest. That is in the blood and it shows, "explains Mapi, who was trained at Zaragoza, went through Espanyol and Atletico, before Barça signed for 50,000 euros. A historical fact: it was the first transfer in Spain.
It's not worth everything
He still could not lift the league with Barcelona, runner-up in the last three seasons. "I'm not going to say anything new, we leave points in fields where we should not have done it. I do not know if we lacked soul, pride, bad milk or what. Something was missing, "he explains. They know in Barça that the league is a priority, after investing about 3.5 million. The Champions, on the other hand, is still a chimera. "On a physical level we have to be as close as possible to the great powers. That does not mean that we have to forget what it means to play in Barcelona. Here is not worth being super mega good and making three goals. At Barça things are done in a certain way. This is the example of Guardiola when he arrived at Bayern … ", sustains the Barça back.
Mapi knows that he lives a unique moment for Barça, especially for women. "I consider myself a living part of the change. When I was a child I used to play on dirt fields, but I used to have a pipe. Now, it's true, the quality of the clothes, the amount of hobby and even the attention of the press changed. When the U-17 won the World Cup in Four, Before you had to see it … The sub-19 was European champion and I do not know who remembered. " You touch your right hand, look at the tattoo. "This was the first one I did. It has not been very good for me, but I do not care. " Is possible, pray. And for Mapi, there is no doubt that it was possible.