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How Argentina’s Favorite Song Became the World Cup’s Soundtrack

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Lionel Messi apart, arguably no one has played a more outstanding role in Argentina’s run to the World Cup final than a 62-year-old musician and a 30-year-old teacher, neither of whom is anywhere near Qatar. Between them, though, they created the song that has turn out to be the soundtrack to Argentina’s games and an earworm contracted by anyone who has been in Doha during the last month, or watched any of the tournament on television.

The song, Muchachos, Ahora Nos Volvimos A Ilusionar, has been adopted as an unofficial anthem not only by Argentina’s vast army of traveling fans — around 40,000 are expected to attend the ultimate at Lusail today — but by the players themselves: Instagram videos of their dressing room celebrations after every victory have invariably featured a joyous rendition of the song.

Its popularity, doubtless, has something to do with the proven fact that its two verses hit all the key notes of Argentina’s campaign: it’s a homage not only to Messi but to Diego Maradona; it pays tribute to the Argentine soldiers who died throughout the Falklands War of 1982; it draws within the country’s various disappointments in international tournaments lately; and it goes into its key change with a taunt directed at Argentina’s major soccer rival, Brazil.

But it is usually a well-known tune to most Argentine fans. Various Argentine club teams have their very own bespoke versions of Muchachos, Esta Noche Me Emborracho, a 2003 hit for the rock band La Mosca Tsé tsé, led by the 62-year-old singer Guillermo Novellis. A (relatively) cursory try to trace its genealogy would suggest that fans of Boca Juniors were the primary to adapt the melody for their very own purposes, on this case mocking its fierce rival, River Plate. Inside a few years, Racing Club, a team in Avellaneda, had an interpretation, quickly followed by its rival, Independiente. Within the infinite round of call and response that marks Argentine fan culture, each were dedicated to denigrating the opposite. Essentially the most famous iteration, though, probably belonged to River Plate.

That it became something approaching a national anthem is down, largely, to a 30-year-old teacher named Fernando Romero. Along with a friend, he modified the lyrics over again in the times after Maradona’s death last yr, turning it right into a tribute to the player widely thought to be either Argentina’s first or second best. When the 2 friends were filmed singing it outside River’s Monumental stadium, during a game against Bolivia, the footage quickly went viral. Messi became aware of it: he named it, soon after, his favorite soccer chant. So, too, did Novellis, who got in contact with Romero and volunteered to record and release a version along with his lyrics within the buildup to the World Cup.

Even Novellis, though, is just a little surprised by its success. La Mosca has a curiously fitting relationship with soccer. Maradona was such a fan that he invited the band to play his fortieth party in 2000. And 7 years later, one other devotee asked in the event that they would do a turn at his twentieth party. Messi and Novellis have been in occasional contact ever since.

Now, the song has not only reverberated around Lusail, many times, on Argentina’s method to the ultimate, it’s currently primary on Spotify in Argentina. It has been streamed 4.4 million times in only a number of weeks. (The unique is currently at almost 14 million.) Novellis has been interviewed by media outlets the world over; a campaign was launched to fly Romero to Qatar, though he turned it down, suggesting the country had “more essential things to handle.” The story, as Novellis told La Nacion, is “easy to clarify, but obscure.”

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