Martín Mantovani, from sleeping on the street to get citizenship to mark Messi and Neymar and play for Gerard Piqué’s team

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The Argentine overcame many obstacles and almost left football, but nothing prevented him from fulfilling his dream of playing in the First Division and at the age of 36 signing for FC Andorra.

Martin Mantovani he is happy with life. He has just signed as a reinforcement of the FC Andorra, the club of the European Principality with an ambitious project backed by its owner: none other than Gerard Piqué. Yes, Lionel Messi’s partner at Barcelona.

But not everything in the Argentine’s life was playing in Spain and marking the best forwards in the world, such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar. “Mine is a different story,” Martín tells Clarion.

The comings and goings marked the one born in San Miguel, who lived in Mar del Plata and was able to make the leap to Europe to try his luck thanks to an acquaintance, because Juan Esnaider had an ambitious project in Cadetes de San Martín to bring players to the Old Continent .

Martin had a ultimatum his father’s. The idea was to study and work and “leave football for the weekends, because I was already 21 years old.” But a few days later, the test from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean emerged. “I went from almost retiring to being able to live from football in the same week”, bill.

His first test was at Atlético de Madrid C. The 36-year-old defender managed to obtain the condition of obtaining community citizenship. But what seemed like just a procedure, was a life experience that marked him forever.

The Argentine traveled to Italy to carry out the paperwork for citizenship and when he returned something unusual happened to him. The bus that was taking him back to the airport stopped his journey due to a strike. So without a hotel had to sleep one night in a train station in Bologna.

“I woke up hearing fights and noises. Surrounded by almost 15 people. It was a place where several homeless people went to spend the night. I covered myself with cardboard and my bag,” recalls Martín, who made one more. And he adds: “At dawn, when everything cleared up, I left.”

Already with dual nationality, the Argentine began his career at Atlético Madrid C. “They were four very beautiful years”, describes who shared a team with some established players, such as Koke and David De Gea. However, he could not settle and sought new horizons.

An agency brought him a proposal from a newly promoted club from Romania. The idea was to gain minutes on the court, but fate had other plans for the Argentine.

“We always trained in different places and the costumes were made in half. The new ones we changed in the part that was under construction, “says Martín about his early days.

After the first preseason game, Tirgu Mures lost 1-0, without the Argentine for not having the transfer, so the leadership decided to dismiss the defender and the three Spaniards who came with him.

The athletes objected, since they did not want to go without receiving the corresponding financial compensation. What did the club do? He locked them in a room with a bully and the sports director.

“It was difficult because I thought anything could happen to me. They threatened us in various languages. I was alone and didn’t understand anything. I was even afraid to go out on the street“He explains. A few hours later, he decided to rescind.” When I arrived in Spain, I felt safe, “adds Martín.

After going through Leonesa, the Balearic Islands and Real Oviedo, Ligue 1 appeared in Martín’s life to excite him with the chances of making his debut in the First Division.

An Argentine representative, a friend of him and his family, approached him with a tempting proposal to play for French Nancy. “I was going to play in the First Division and win five times what I was winning in Spain. It was a big leap,” he says.

But on the day the paperwork was to be completed, the alleged representative never showed up. “I called him and he didn’t answer me, so I asked my wife to go to the house,” he says.


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