“I can very clearly remember the first day that I saw Kun. Of course, back then I didn’t know who he was or even what he was called, let alone that I would later meet him in person or that, from then on, we would become great friends.
I was in Rosario when I saw him on that first occasion (…) I took the opportunity to watch the match that was being shown on television : Independiente vs. San Lorenzo, in the last roud of fixtures in the domestic league.
I remember little or nothing of the match itself. But I do recall the moment that they showaed a boy in the Independiente squad who, I thought, must be about the same age as me, and who was about to make his debut. I then heard the commentators say that he had recently turned 15 and that he was going to become the youngest player ever to play in the Primera Division. That moment has remained etched on my memory ever since. Not so much for his face nor, as I say, his name which I struggled to recall. But because at such a young age he had taken a major step forwards in football, the same as I had imagined for myself on so many occasions.
A year-and-a-half later (…) I saw him again (…) he didn’t know who I was back them, and nor did I initially make the connection with that 15-year-old boy who I’d seen making his first team debut on television in Rosario.
But a few months later, in June 2005, we were to come across each other again, this time as part of the Argentinian Under-20 squad (…). We went straight from that casual chat to seeing each other out on a football pitch, in the last training session before traveling to the World Cup. And we clicked right away. We were the youngest players in the squad, which meant that we spend more time together.
What can I say about Sergio back then…? That he was a real character, a really sound guy, capable of listening and then saying exactly the right thing to let you know he was there for you or, with perfect delivery, to make you burst out laughing. And on the field, he was talented, a winner, a born competitor who never knew when he was beaten. These were qualities that we shared, and that helped us form a bond that would be strengthened over the years when we met up with the national teams.”
-A part of Lionel Messi’s foreword to Kun’s book. There’s, of course, another part that I might post tomorrow or later. Hope you enjoyed this!