World Cup 2014: Argentine Captain's Encouraging Words to Goalie Go Viral
Javier Mascherano told goalkeeper Sergio Romero, "Today, you become a hero," right before he saved two Dutch penalty kicks, leading the team to the finals against Germany.
BUENOS AIRES – "Listen to me. It's today. Today, you become a hero." That's how Argentina's de facto team captain Javier Mascherano encouraged goalie Sergio Romero on Wednesday, seconds before the penalty kicks showdown that closed the semifinals.
Romero saved two Dutch shots, making Mascherano's words ring true and leading his team to victory — and the final match against Germany on Sunday.
Vine footage of that short and powerful dialog quickly went viral, prompting Mascherano, who lead his team in a legendary performance against The Netherlands and tackled a very dangerous shot by the Dutch's feared star Arjen Robben, to nationwide praise throughout social media.
Memes were also replicated all over Facebook and Twitter, comparing the Barcelona midfielder to Che Guevara and South American Liberator Jose de San Martin, among other strong and brave leaders. "Must say, Mascherano was immense. What a heart!" tweeted England football star Gary Lineker.
The social media buzz even earned him Chuck Norris status through the hashtag #maschefacts, with posts like: "Mascherano asks bouncers for their IDs," "Mascherano can win the Hunger Games with a teaspoon," and "Mascherano goes to negotiate with vulture funds and brings back change," among others.