UK time is: 15:14:53
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Chilean Miner Coming To Old Trafford!

Kicking Off a Life of Freedom

Chilean Miner Super Mario speaks exclusively of Football Freedom

After 69 days stuck in 'hell', the first thing Mario Sepulvera, aka Super Mario, wanted was to head to the beach and play football. 'Football is the most beautiful thing there is so as soon as I left the cave and started my new life I wanted to feel air, water, and a ball at my feet'.

Mario is a long time lover of English football and says it has always been a dream of his to go watch a live Man U match at Old Trafford. So for Mario, and his fellow miners who share his footie passion, it was a nightmare turned into a dream when they surfaced from the hellhole to be invited to go to Manchester and watch a game in 2010/2011. Recently signed sponsors Concha y Toro also issued the joint invite and cheered the bravery of their fellow countrymen from thousands of miles away.

Bravery, but also fear. Mario says that 'Although I had faith in the people above on the surface, in the few days before contact was made we were losing hope. I thought about dying and I wrote a farewell note to my wife and kids'. But when the drill reached the men they knew they had been saved by god. They had been found, and Mario knew he would once again return to the outside world and play football.

Mario appreciates the joint invite coming from Concha Y Toro, 'I used to work as an electrician for Concha y Toro so personally I'm really happy that they are now an international success and are giving something back to us Chileans after this life-changing event'. Even Alex Ferguson has publicly admired the heroism displayed by the 33 miners, 'The miracle of San JosÚ is one of the most remarkable stories I've ever heard. The courage, bravery and resilience of the miners and the rescue teams was inspirational'.



Franklin Lobos, the 27th man to be hauled up the shaft, is the known footballer among the men. Nicknamed the 'magic mortar' for his free-kick abilities, he made Chile's national team and then traded in football for mining, believing it his most profitable retirement option. The first thing he did after reaching the surface was take a ball and show off his skills for the cameras and millions of TV viewers.

Football was used as a tool in the mine to bond the group together. Rescue workers sent a cable down the shaft into the mine 700m underground so that the men could watch games. Mario describes the value of this, 'Down in the mine watching football gave us a strong connection and group mentality. For me that is what makes football so beautiful'.

However, after watching many matches together with his fellow survivors, Mario appreciates the chance to be alone at the beach running free with just a football and his son. All the natural elements are in their glory as the clouds move in the colour-changing sky and the waves roll in. Mario charges after the ball to trap it and practice his balancing skills, determined to hold onto Chile. 'While I was in the mine I felt a power struggle between god and the devil, but up here out in the natural world I feel god all around and the devil nowhere to be seen'. Funny then it must seem to Mario that both his favourite football team and previous employers have devils as their trademarks.

While he catches his breath, and inhales the sea air he didn't know he would ever taste again, he faces the sea and prays. He gives thanks for his son, his freedom and his chance to go to Old Trafford, 'For me it is a dream come true to see Man U play live after so many years watching them on TV'.

By Gemma Dunn




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Gemma Dunn Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 22 2010

Time: 6:25PM

Your Comments

very cool, bet he'll get a great reception for Sir Alex!
The Fear
from one hell hole to another some might say!
merlin
Enjoy your moment,well we can only dream of being there.
Antriksh (abmtd)
Could only imagine what its like to be stuck hundreds of feet underground and what they went through.
TheFamousNo7
 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Manchester United Articles

Falcao Better than Rooney Insinuation! (Monday September 22 2014)

Is There a Gambler in the House? (Monday September 22 2014)

It`s a Joke! (Monday September 22 2014)

Louis van Gaal`s Lament! (Sunday September 21 2014)

Stats: Leicester City v United (Sunday September 21 2014)

Leicester City 5 United 3 (Sunday September 21 2014)

Leicester v United - Team Sheets (Sunday September 21 2014)

The Shirt off Your Back! (Saturday September 20 2014)

Will They Sell? No! (Saturday September 20 2014)

United Target is Staying in Milan! (Friday September 19 2014)

Archived Manchester United Articles

List All Vital United Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Leicester City 5 - 3 Man Utd
Man Utd 4 - 0 Q.P.R.
Burnley 0 - 0 Man Utd
Sunderland 1 - 1 Man Utd
Man Utd 1 - 2 Swansea

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
9. Spurs 5 2 1 2 1 7
10. Hull City 5 1 3 1 0 6
11. Liverpool 5 2 0 3 -1 6
12. Man Utd 5 1 2 2 1 5
13. Stoke 5 1 2 2 -1 5
14. Everton 5 1 2 2 -2 5
15. Crystal Palace 5 1 2 2 -2 5

Breaking League News

Falcao Better than Rooney Insinuation!
╗ Man Utd : 22/09/2014 13:01:00
Is There a Gambler in the House?
╗ Man Utd : 22/09/2014 13:00:00
It`s a Joke!
╗ Man Utd : 22/09/2014 12:58:00
Gabby - We Shouldn't Blame The Virus
╗ Aston Villa : 22/09/2014 12:17:00
Morrison Delighted With Winning Goal
╗ WBA : 22/09/2014 11:48:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Leicester (a) MOTM?
Suggested By:  Red Boy
De Gea 1%
Rafael 0%
Evans 0%
Blackett 16%
Rojo 0%
Blind 0%
Di Maria 83%
Herrera 0%
Rooney 0%
Falcao 0%
Van Persie 0%
Smalling 0%
Mata 0%
Januzaj 0%