The concept of loyalty is one that I started to learn about at a very early age in my life. It wasn’t because of a childhood crush or anything like that, although I would’ve wished that were the case because I’m sure I would be a completely different person. How does loyalty connect with football? Yes I know it was football one again the one to blame for another life lesson, but at this point it doesn’t surprise me. Thankfully a soccer game was on TV was all it took for the connection to occur.
It was a game between El Nacional and Liga De Quito (LDU) a city derby much like Manchester City against Manchester United to give you an idea. The crazy things was that at the time I was a Nacional fan and whenever we played against Liga me and my maestro would always argue about who the team was. Nacional would always lose the derbies and that time wasn’t the exception, the game finished 4-0 in favor of Liga and after such a humiliation I decided to change teams. The decision was drastic but strangely I didn’t feel any guilt so it was a good sign. My beloved maestro and good friend gave me the basics on what would become my guidelines for life. The first and most important one was “unconditional support trough good and bad times, always stand up for what you believe in and never lose faith despite how hard the situation could be. Those words are still with me believe it or not, from that day on I would go on to support them trough their 10 national championships as well as 4 international championships. I would be put to the test for the first time when I managed to come across European football and the two clubs that would win special places in my heart the following years.
I would see the rise and fall of my beloved Liga as club executives made bad decisions causing the club to lose strength an miss out from international tournaments in recent years but it wasn’t all bad since I had discovered YouTube in the process and someone by the name of Ronaldinho. The player that would make me fall in love with his magical skills and the way hat he played football introduced me to F.C Barcelona. They were not as big as they are now but “Dinho” created a killer team, but most importantly a player that would make Barcelona the best team in the world. I managed to follow the clubs last few games before “Dinho” left for Milan but not even I knew that Pep Guardiola alongside Messi would make me support this club as much as I support Liga. The “Pep” team would steal my heart year after year with their fast pass system but it wasn’t against the game against Man U. in 2011 that I realized I would support this team regardless if Messi were playing or whom the coach was. The admiration that I felt for Barcelona did in fact gave me mixed feelings about my loyalty to my beloved Liga de Quito but all it took was a question from my friend to make me realize who still had my heart in the end. I remember him asking me “Barcelona is a big club but if you had the choice to play one game professionally, whom would you pick between Barcelona and Liga? Without thinking it twice I chose Liga, after my answer we kept talking about how we almost beat Manchester united a few years back, leaving the question behind.
The red devils in the other hand caught my admiration after the championship game for the club world cup back in 2008. They had players like Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Carlitos Tevez and a young Cristiano Ronaldo. We lost by 1-0 but we managed to put up a fight. The years that followed showed a more developed Rooney thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson and the departure of Ronaldo to Real Madrid. I must admit that despite all those wonderful seasons and the signing of Antonio Valencia, it wasn’t until Sir Alex’s retirement and his autobiography that I became a full Manchester united supporter. He revealed all the locker room talks and the development of players like Beckham, Giggs and Scholes plus the admiration towards the real Ronaldo and his hat trick at Old Trafford. The loyalty bond with them became stronger after their fall from top football and the total disaster that destroyed 25 years of glory with the following managers. Manchester United indeed deserves a blog entry after this.
Loyalty made me turn Liga, Manchester United and Barcelona against each other but despite obvious differences club wise Liga de Quito always remains unconditional in my heart. I can’t really explain how I haven’t forgotten them after so many years of not watching them play but I’m guessing that “supporting them trough good and bad” is a big reason why. It can also be the fact that I traveled to see them whenever they played near home and seeing the fans unconditional support made my bond even more personal. In the end a simple promise made that bond unbreakable…. “Liguista hasta la muerte” as I promised my eternal friend, and trust me when I tell you I will keep that promise until the end of my days as promised. Its also clear that loyalty shouldn’t be a problem as long as you know who you heart really belongs to.