SportsRubén García, help from Primera for the refugees from Ukraine

Rubén García, help from Primera for the refugees from Ukraine

Last Sunday, the car park that precedes the Tajonar facilities, where Osasuna players exercise, became a meeting point for those who would like to collaborate and send aid to refugees from Russia’s military offensive on Ukraine. From ten in the morning until one at noon, cars, boxes and bags full of food, clothing and other essential goods came and went until they ended up in one of the five vans destined to complete the trip between Pamplona and Warsaw ( Poland), where a large number of people fleeing the horror of war are concentrated these days.

Two days earlier, Rubén García (Xátiva, Valencia; 28 years old), a fine attacker for the Navarrese team and one of the most outstanding left-handers in the First Division, posted a message on his social networks making the call. “And the donations have exceeded all expectations,” said the footballer who, explained from the club, had no choice but to attend to the journalists who had come there to take an interest in the initiative “because he does not want this to seem self-promoting.” In fact, “he has not accepted any of the multiple interview proposals that have been made to him,” they specify from the entity, delighted with a player who escapes the prototypical profile of the carefree elite athlete.

“We are experiencing situations that we do not want to happen, but they are happening, so we must contribute our grain of sand. I think that, as soccer players, we have a loudspeaker that can attract more people and the truth is that the reception has been brutal”, explained García, who yesterday got into one of the vans and, accompanied by friends, family and his girlfriend, Ane traveled the 2,500 kilometers one way to reach her goal. There, in addition to distributing all the donated material, he will pick up a series of refugees -hand in hand with the Second Family Association- so that they can start a new life.

Rubén García, with his nails painted purple for International Women’s Day. / @RubenGarcia14

“We will try to arrive as soon as possible, rest little and drive many hours changing drivers,” said the winger, who received permission from the club and will return to exercise directly on Tuesday. “The truth is that Rubén is a very good guy, with concerns far beyond football. Here he is loved a lot ”, they transmit from Osasuna. They confirm it from the locker room and his involvement is also corroborated with facts. In addition to the trip to Poland –and the opening of a solidarity current account that had already deposited more than 7,000 euros on the 20th–, García has endorsed a social commitment that goes back a long way.

The Valencian player, who landed in 2018 at El Sadar after training at Valencia, growing up at Levante and also passing through Sporting de Gijón, has always spun a vindictive and progressive discourse, in defense of gender equality and the rights of women and homosexuals, and has defended that the involvement of the footballer should be greater.

Among other things, two years ago he tweeted the LGTBI flag on Pride Day and played a game against Espanyol with his nails painted purple for 8-M, receiving a good string of insults after commenting: “Feminism benefits us everyone”. Later, the Osasuna supporter shared a message accompanied by applause in which, under the hashtag #VoxEsRacismo, he censored the electoral poster about migrant children and adolescents.

His body is covered with tattoos that appear on his arms, legs and neck – from his grandmother Herminia to a Japanese lion – and his great distinctive is the joker from Batman. He celebrates the goals with the smile of the Marvel character and in addition to having it engraved on his skin, the film starring Joaquin Phoenix in 2019 is a source of inspiration. “I have a family that works with people with functional diversity and I know him closely. It pisses me off that aid is taken away when they need it most, ”he denounced in 2020 in an interview with the newspaper The vanguard.

Portrait of the artist LKN in the streets of Pamplona.  /AC
Portrait of the artist LKN in the streets of Pamplona. /AC

“Last week, the day before playing, my neighbor knocked on the door and explained a little about the situation he had experienced. He had gone with a friend to Poland and they brought 12 refugees with them. They loaded with enough material. He made me reconsider and think. It inspired me and I said to myself: ‘What can I do in a particular way and as an elite athlete to help?’, affirmed García, who has played 137 games with the Osasuna shirt, in which he has scored 19 goals and distributed 21 assistance, fully identified with the institution and the city. A work hanging in a central street by the artist LKN testifies to this.

“In this land he feels at home”, they affect from the entity, while the player can be seen getting lost in the profuse forest, strolling through the Old Town of Pamplona, ​​practicing with Basque or climbing Mount San Donato. We should all have a place to meditate, a place that gives us a different perspective on life and leaves us mentally strengthened from its visit. Mine is Beriain”, says a great player. But much more than a footballer.

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