Copa Sudamericana de Beach Soccer - Recife 2015
16 Feb 2015
“I did not expect it, but I was tremendously happy”
Wagner, two-time FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Champion, will never forget the gesture his teammates made when having him lift the Copa Sudamericana
2010 was a year that would change Wagner’s life forever. The Brazilian footballer had already accomplished much of what he set out to do in the beach soccer world; World Champion twice over, respected internationally for his craft, and a key cog on the best beach soccer team on the planet. It’s December 12th, 2010, and after attending a local beach soccer event, Wagner is traveling across the state in a car with four others, when it is struck by tragedy. The result is a wreck that leaves the athlete without use of his legs.
Fast-forward to 2015 and as Wagner is enjoying the Copa Sudamericana de Beach Soccer – Recife 2015 with his wife, Silene, and his daughter, Beatriz, things do not look as a grim as they once did on that tumultuous night in 2010. And Sunday, February 8th was about to get even better for the Brazilian. He was already elated to see his National Team get through the round robin stage and advance to the final, and being able to the watch their title game against Paraguay was already shaping up to be the highlight of his weekend.
The Verde-Amarela had what some may say stumbled through the first round at the tournament, but they had definitely been sluggish at times, and made mistakes that were not normal for a team of their stature, taking red cards, and looking at deficits, some quite big, in most of their matches. They even lost a match earlier in the week to the same opponent they were about to face for a second time. Maybe all they needed was a little push, inspiration, something, or someone, to play for. They found that spark and went like a buzz saw through Paraguay. The Canarinho scored early and often and their stars played like everyone expected. The final result of the match was 12-2 for the hosts.
Wagner sat in the stands with his family and he could not be more ecstatic with the result and the way the day and tournament went. Then the Brazilian National Team came up into the stands and brought Wagner onto the pitch he once used to dominate on. He was met by the entire team who asked him to do something for them. Lift the Copa that they had just won. Wagner could not take the smile off his face, even if he had wanted to. The team, led by captain, Daniel, decided to dedicate the victory and tournament to their former teammate. The emotions were high as Wagner was amidst his friends and family and he relished the time he was able to reconnect with his team. The Brazilian ex-goalkeeper has garnered much respect, both between the lines of the pitch and outside, and the simple yet grand gesture made by Argentina and Uruguay will not soon be forgotten. The rivals of Brazil came up to Wagner, talked with him, and hugged him. Moreover, he got two very special presents that day, the gloves of the Brazilian goalie, Mão, and the jersey from Marcelo Salgueiro, Argentina's keeper.
Wagner will always carry the reminder of that tragic accident on December 12th, but he will also have February 8th in his memory for life. He has triumphed over the first hiccup and now he has his eyes on more glory. The Summer Olympics will be in Rio in 2016 and the dream of being an Olympian is still in sight. Wagner has been training to play in the Paralympics and he has a legitimate shot. No one can count him out from anything. From a wreck to potentially winning a medal in the Olympics, Wagner has altered his fortunes and is grateful for what he has and what he is still able to accomplish.
Watch Wagner explain this moment to Globo TV: http://globoesporte.globo.com/pb/noticia/2015/02/ex-selecao-de-futebol-de-areia-revela-emocao-por-mimos-de-companheiros.html