Cover of the book Life is a game by Carlos Matallanas.
At the end of 2014, the Spanish Footballers Association invited journalist and ex-footballer Carlos Matallanas to offer a talk on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) . At 33, he had been diagnosed with the disease. The speech – which his brother Gonzalo read and which made an analogy between life and football – began to circulate, first, in the football environment, to then go beyond the limits of the playing fields and serve as a guide and motivation in different scopes.
"Because there will always be a child looking at you and to whom you must give the best of witnesses: your example", was the phrase that closed that solidarity intervention. When he wrote it, he had his nephew Mario in mind.
That speech evolved into Life is a Game (Aguilar), a book that is actually an instruction manual for existence. Also of values for the enjoyment of the game . His apparent recipients are his nephew and Blanca, the daughter he was unable to have because of the disease. The real recipients are the thousands of readers to whom he wanted to convey a message of integrity, hope and humanity. To those who wanted to explain that not everyone can be forwards, and nothing happens either: “if you have to be central in life, know that you are going to be respected and loved by those who really matter. Perhaps you do not feel that you are appreciated in certain areas by those who have the scale of values deviated by success. But you will be useful people so that everything works, necessary to make the world a little better from anonymity. ”
Carlos Matallanas passed away last Tuesday at the Virgen del Rocío hospital in Seville. He lived with the disease for seven years – median survival is around four. During all this time, he was involved in publicizing the ailment and promoting initiatives aimed at raising funds for research. He continued to write, through his pupils, articles and books. He was still enjoying football. He never stopped being a footballer. Nor to smile. He leaves this last book as a legacy, which is an extension of Serrat's phrase that he repeated so many times: it's only worth living to live.
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