«They put me against the wall, with my hands resting above my head. They frisk me as long as they don't stop me in a language I don't understand. Something happens, but I don't know what. Togo (Athletic Club Foundation, 2019) starts like this, as if it were a thriller . Togo , however, is the autobiography of a soccer player, the first-person account of the first season of Oscar de Marcos as Athletic's soccer player. 100 pages in which the Alava player gets naked emotionally, both in his experiences on the pitch and on the trip to Togo as a social volunteer who made just after the 2009/10 season.
That's where the story begins, at the Lomé airport, where the professional footballer, the fledgling mass idol in Bilbao, is simply a suspicious foreigner who has placed himself in the wrong row when he got off the plane. And the one they treat as such in Togo, a country in which true democracy is still a distant aspiration. A place where De Marcos is removed "from a slap all protective bubble, all nonsense, all fame."
The book, available from November 4 for free in bookstores in Bilbao and in digital version, follows two different chronological lines. In the first one, De Marcos recounts his experiences in the African country, not all as gloomy as the one that welcomes the reader; and in the second, he speaks openly of his first season in Athletic, he is sincere about how the king of the mambo was believed after 20 years after a spectacular start and how he had to learn to deal with the doubts that appeared later, including a descent to the subsidiary.
Visits to the hospital
It is not, however, a propaganda book in which De Marcos seeks to sell a humanitarian facet of himself. The second Athletic captain collaborates with multiple causes throughout the year and uses part of his summers in solidarity work in different parts of the world, actions he has never wanted to speak in public. In fact, he did not like anything that a year ago came to light that every week he goes to the Oncology unit of a Bilbao hospital to spend part of his free time with children suffering from cancer.
“These are things that I like to keep secret, because if the accounts lose value, it seems that you do them to be recognized by others. My father always tells me, 'son, better for the shadow'. I was reluctant to this book, I didn't want to open this way. In the end I said yes because of the confidence I have in the people of the Athletic Foundation », explains the player about a work that will be distributed to schools and youth clubs and that he has completed with the writer José Mari Isasi.
Because beyond the trip to Togo that gives its name to the book, De Marcos also tells about its maturation process as a footballer and as a person. Remember the day that his older brother ordered him to go home instead of partying after losing a game, how much he was affected by criticism in the press and social networks or the stage in which he did not want to play the next game for fear of not living up to it Fears, weaknesses and obstacles that De Marcos takes from his privacy to tell the reader "what he would tell a friend."
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