It is no longer news that arguably, the biggest sporting event in the Universe, the World Cup kicked off yesterday in Qatar with the host nation setting a negative record of being the first to lose the opening match on their own turf, but what makes this global festival more exciting goes beyond what happens on the pitch, inside the stadiums or the dressing rooms. This event has created lifetime friendships, made families, and even written romantic stories that would meet Hollywood standards.
The 2010 edition on African soil in South Africa, did not just the record broken or the histories written on the pitch as Spain who won it for the first time, did so as the first European country to win the trophy outside their continent, but could this win have been inspired by a love promise from field hero to songbird?
So, one of the most popular marriages among world celebrities and sportsmen was the one between World famous Colombian singer Shakira who performed the theme song at the 19th edition of the tournament, and former Spain and Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique, although the two are now estranged.
It all began when the two of them met for the first time during the filming of one of the most popular opening songs for the world cup, “Waka Waka”, which was still used in Qatar. Pique was held spellbound by the Queen of Latin Music and he could not take his eyes off her until he begged for her number. Then he looked for all the excuses in the world to initiate the first conversation and eventually found one, though weak, but better than nothing, hoping to receive a cold response, at least that would do, for him. It’s a start.
So, Shakira was performing at the opening ceremony so, she was already in South Africa before the players, before Pique. Pique then picked up his phone, and texted her to ask about the weather because his team was arriving in a few days. The statement had slipped through his wobbling fingers before he realised, ‘what a stupid question and saw, “it’s cold, bring a coat, you dumb” in his mind. But, the Belly Dancer shocked him with her detailed response and epistle to brother Pique that day, explaining the change of temperature throughout the day.
This is some stuff from a Bollywood movie or something. ‘Jesus! This isn’t normal’ He could not believe his luck. In the details of Shakira’s response and weather report, Pique saw something different, an affection that created butterflies in his tummy. The tournament began and they never stopped messaging. As the tournament progressed, their love developed. Not until his country’s opening game did Pique woke up to the reality. After Spain lost 0-1 against Switzerland. He won’t get to see his love interest once more unless his team makes it to the final of the tournament where she would also be performing. Then he promised her that if it would take getting to the final to see her beautiful face again, he would get there!
Spain won their last two games 2-0 against Honduras and 2-1 against Chile. His teammates were wondering where his own extra energy was coming from. He was a man on a mission. C.Ronaldo’s Portugal could not stop him, and with a 1-0 triumph, Spain made it to the Quarter-Final. Beat Paraguay with the same goal margin. Brought down the German Machine.
Gerard Pique had the best sporting experience of his life when the game of his life brought him face-to-face with the love of his life. To crown it all, in 120 minutes, Spains overpowered the resilient Dutch team 1-0, thanks to an extra-time goal from his then-Barcelona teammate, Iniesta.
That was how these stars left the World Cup tournament in South Africa as different persons.