Enrique Borja, the scorer who became the idol of El Chavo del 8

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The Mexican and universal character shouted “Gol de Borja” every time he converted. Who was that striker who scored a goal at Wembley for a World Cup?

There was Chavo del 8, a Mexican character, everyone’s character. He would come out of his barrel, inevitably modest, and see if football was played. And if he found any of those unlikely multicolored balls that no one used anymore, he would start playing. I played, many times, what it was Enrique Borja. Or, failing that, he responded to the whims of Quico, who was not so poor and always had his own ball. The chilindrina, Don Ramón’s daughter, she looked for a while.

Chavo’s face, of course, belied the eight years that fiction offered. Escaped from an orphanage, he liked football, even though it was not his distinguishing feature. Roberto Gómez Bolaños was the actor, now great, now celebrity, now emblem.

And he, poor and noble, had a fantasy: shouting goals that the owners of the ball would not let him.

And alone, there, in the neighborhood patio, he shouted a goal that became an emblem of Mexican culture and of almost all Spanish-speaking or other corners.

-Borja’s goal.

The neighborhood happened in Mexico City. Land of precious mysteries.

The following was written by a journalist who is British, grew up in the corners of Latin America and loves two cities: Mexico and Buenos Aires. By Juan Rulfo and by Julio Cortázar.

Your name? He does not say so when he publishes what he modestly calls “purported poetry” or “prose poetry.” For years he has been fascinated with that detail of Borja and El Chavo. He justifies it: “It’s for Rulfo.”

The pleasure of listening

(to Juan Rulfo)

Everyone on those streets knows it.

In Mexico City, so eclectic, the walls speak, some scream.

One celebrates an old goal by Borja. Yes, yes, the idol of Chavo del 8.

Another recites Villoro under her breath.

And one, in love with Rulfo, thinks Pedro Páramo, a crazy wall of beauty and sympathy.

There is another wall, La Muda.


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