Salvadorans celebrate soccer hero ‘Magico’ Gonzalez through art, hot dogs

By Sara Acosta

San Salvador, Feb 15 (EFE).- Jorge “El Magico” (The Magical One) Gonzalez, El Salvador’s most celebrated soccer star, now finds himself the subject of a pair tributes in this capital: one by a street artist who has displayed his image in different public settings and another by a hot dog vendor whose business is named in honor of the famed athlete.

Francisco Moreira and Alvaro Guerrero both have been inspired by the greatness of their countryman, who represented El Salvador in the 1982 World Cup and also played for Spanish-league teams Cadiz and Real Valladolid between 1982 and 1991.

Moreira, a 34-year-old visual artist who explores different themes in his street “interventions,” told Efe he has chosen to focus this year on El Magico.

“It’s a tribute to him as a person and above all to his rebellious spirit,” he said of a player known not only for his tremendous talent but also his partying and self-admitted lack of discipline. “Because we relate to those ideas about … not doing what people what us to do. Like him, we reject the system and that’s why we’ve taken him to the street.”

Like many poor or middle-class children, he said he grew up on soccer fields trying to follow in the footsteps of the best players and that El Magico was the biggest idol.

Moreira said that of all of his artistic projects this latest one has triggered the biggest response.

“It’s very rare for people to comment (on social media), but in this case it’s generated quite a lot of opinions, some supporting the project and happy that tribute is being paid to him and others criticizing (it) because of (Jorge’s) lifestyle,” the artist said.

One of the goals of the project is to attract the attention of the former player, according to Moreira, who said he hopes Gonzalez, now 63, will sit down with him one afternoon and share some of his stories.

The street artist launched this latest project in November 2021 and said that over the next 12 months he will put up images of El Magico in his Cadiz kit in different parts of the city.

Guerrero, for his part, launched a family hot dog business last year in downtown San Salvador named El Once (The Eleven), the number El Magico wore at the different clubs he played for between 1975 and 1999.

That fast-food business has christened its frankfurter the “culebrita macheteada,” the nickname for the signature dribble move the soccer star used to elude defenders.

El Once also sells a combo meal known as the “Magico,” which sells for $2.50 and consists of two culebritas macheteadas and a beverage, Guerrero said.

Referring to the hot dogs themselves, he said the goal was to make something “totally different” and non-traditional. “What we didn’t want was to be in the hot dog line, but rather to do something totally outside the box, yet still tasty.”

Finally, “we decided to fill the sausage with cheese and add smoked bacon to give it a special touch,” he said, adding that ketchup, chipotle, mayonnaise and chimichurri – a combination of parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, white vinegar and lemon – provide even more flavor.

“Jorge is the best thing that’s happened to El Salvador. To this day he’s still our biggest (soccer) figure globally. Jorge is mentioned everywhere for everything he did on the field. That’s why we wanted to pay tribute to him,” Guerrero said.

“Jorge’s an exceptional person. He didn’t need to talk on the field. His soccer and his magic did the talking for him, so that even now, many years after he stopped playing professionally, his magic hasn’t gone away,” he added. EFE


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