The big eyes. Nerves on the surface. The centenary full of people. The anthem, the flag, the light blue shirt on his chest, thousands of images running through his mind. And when the game started and he came across the striker he had as a brand reference, to break the ice, he couldn’t think of a better thing than to ask him: “What car do you have in Spain?” Radamel Falcao looked up in surprise.
It seems a lie, but of that debut at just 18 years old who etched blood on his skin with a tattoo on his forearm, eight years have passed, two World Cups, three Qualifiers and three America’s Cup which, added to the friendlies, translate into 60 games.
José María Giménez, with 26 years and leadership skills, is on his way to becoming one of the players with the most matches in the history of the National Team.
On Thursday, against Paraguay, he will leave Paolo Montero and Jorge Chifle Barrios on the way, with Carlos Aguilera ahead.
As time goes. When he first appeared in Danubio, where he had been placed as a right back, he was called up for the youth teams of Uruguay. He had no place in the squad but the injury of captain Emiliano Velázquez opened the door to the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
He won a place in the team and when he returned he did not last a sigh in Uruguay because Atlético de Madrid took it.
There Diego Godín waited for him to put him under his wing. In time they became inseparable.
A few months later, Uruguay had to face a vital match for the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers against Colombia in the Centennial. Lugano and Godín were suspended. Tabárez surprised by confirming the chiquilín in the eleventh starter.
It will be remembered that Josema asked Lugano for permission to use his shirt. He did not leave the campus.
“We overcame difficulties that we have had as a little boy who jumps from the U-20 to play against Colombia and one finds answers. We were sure that they were going to represent the team in the best way, ”Tabárez declared after the match that ended with a 2-0 victory for the celestial team.
But Josema’s desire to defend the celestial went further, as he demonstrated in a talk with the coach of the Under 20 team at the time, Fabián Coito, whom he called to tell him that he wanted to play the tournament of the category that Uruguay would organize. in 2015.
“It’s something we talked to José many times and he told me he wants to play the South American game with us. And it is an issue we have to speak well because José is already a player of the senior team, ”revealed Coito.
The fact is that Giménez was summoned for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and facing the second game of the group, where Uruguay played their stay in the tournament against England, Lugano was injured. And again he sent the teacher to the field.
In that dressing room at the Corinthians Arena in San Pablo, he witnessed the moment when Lugano, complying with his partner’s request, put the captain’s ribbon on Diego Godín’s arm. A kind of transfer of legacy that now his partner from so many battles in Atlético Madrid and the national team, can carry out with him in a very short time.
Players with the most matches in the national team
Diego Godín 139, Maximiliano Pereira 125, Edinson Cavani 118, Fernando Muslera 116, Luis Suárez 116, Diego Forlán 112, Cristian Rodríguez 110, Martín Cáceres 102, Diego Lugano 95, Egidio Arévalo Ríos 90, Diego Pérez 89, Álvaro Pereira 83, Rodolfo Rodríguez 78, Fabián Carini 74, Enzo Francescoli 73, Álvaro González 72, Ángel Romano 70, Sebastián Abreu 70, Álvaro Recoba 68, Pablo García 65, Walter Gargano 64, Carlos Aguilera 64, José María Giménez 60, Paolo Montero 60 and Jorge Barrios 60.
Players with the most minutes played
Diego Godín 12,110; Maximiliano Pereira 10,154; Fernando Muslera 10,530; Luis Suarez 9,578; Edinson Cavani 8,871; Martín Cáceres 8,722; Diego Forlán 8,161; Diego Lugano 8,152; Egidio Arevalo Ríos 7,306; Rodolfo Rodríguez 6,996; Cristian Rodríguez 6,955; Fabian Carini 6,452; Roman Angel 6,350; Diego Pérez 6,105; Enzo Francescoli 6,089; Álvaro Pereira 5,697; Pablo García 5,514; Paolo Montero 5,134; Jorge Barrios 5,084; José María Giménez 5,034; Álvaro González 4,082; Álvaro Recoba 4,832; Walter Gargano 3,896; Carlos Aguilera 3,886 and Sebastián Abreu 3,407. (AUF statistical data).