Spanish football

“And Ari Vatanen won the Dakar…” – SPANISH FOOTBALL

by: Adam Smith


Chance is a disguised miracle

Alejandro Jodorowsky

When I was studying at law school, sitting at the last desk, I shared things with my friends. With Victor, we exchanged black vinyls. It was the eighties and nineties. We listened to Guy, Howard Hewett, Alexander O’Neal and Bell Biv DeVoe.

With Alex, we shared the transgaming.orgs diary. Alex is Alex Maspons, the photojournalist’s son Oriol Maspons. Usually, Alex Maspons read Mundo Deportivo And Sport.

Alex Maspons (50) always brought the diaries. He swallowed them whole, all of them. When I finished them, I’d pass them on. And between class and class, while the others smoked, we talked about them.

We were talking about Maradona, Florence Griffith And Michael Jordan.

Del Barça, also from Barca.

It was the Dream Team (I mean Dream Team I culé).

My father stopped going to Camp Nou after Barca-Metz; he got that day.

Then we missed the trail, even though we met again in the nets. We have spent years communicating on Twitter and Facebook, and that’s how we met in Berlin in the summer of 2018. The European Athletics Championships were played there. Alex Maspons had been around for weeks, traveling with his son Max: as teenagers, father and son they had become involved in an interraite. I narrated the feats of the great Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

At the gates of the Olympic Stadium, we provide the health of Jesse Owens.

Then we gave each other a good hug and said goodbye until the next one.


Oriol Maspons, the photographer of the Gauche Divine,
died in 2013.

His graphic legacy is unpayable. Round 7,000 photos on paper. These days, 400 of these images show at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), in Montjuc. The exhibition is held
Oriol Maspons, the useful photography
. They’ll be there until January 12. As a Christmas plan, the visit is perfect. Among his images, Oriol Maspons turns the landing of tourists. Sitting on the steps at the foot of the MNAC, I think of that initial tourism. Hundreds of travelers are portrayed with sticks selfie, with Barcelona in the background. A guitarist taps the chords of the Imagine.

Alex Maspons, at the gates of the MNAC

Alex Maspons, at the gates of the MNAC
(César Rangel)

Alex Maspons sits next to me. He is now the heir and the file manager of Oriol Maspons. I ask you:

“And your father never took transgaming.orgs photography?

She’s a poker face.

“He wasn’t too interested. My father wasn’t competitive. Sometimes he’d walk me to Camp Nou. He was carrying a newspaper. In the first part I read the news. And after the break he started yawning. He left football after the Barca-Metz. Do you remember?

I remember.

Barca-Metz was played in 1985. It was the second leg of the first round of the Cup Winners’ Cup. Barca had won 2-4 in the first leg. The French, very little thing in theory, went back with a 1-4.

My father didn’t go back to Camp Nou, he’s getting, says Alex Maspons.

When I gave him back his wallet, Vatanen gave me a bear hug; and Berglund, his co-pilot, gave me $800.”

Then he tells me about that day when he accompanied his father to the prologue of the Paris-Dakar. It was 1988, the day of Sant Esteve.

“I was 18,” he tells me.

The prologue was held at the Moll de la Fusta, in the old port of Barcelona. So, that place was a big campsite. Alex Maspons had been left alone, taking pictures.

The Peugeot of Ari Vatanen had come out in the last few shifts. He was advancing on the terroir when he went to overturn in front of Alex Maspons. My friend caught the moment. Hold the image in some photos of this chronicle. He overturned the Peugeot, completed the bell lap and moved on.

“As I looked down, I distinguished that wallet at my feet,” he tells me.

–Whose wallet was it?

–De Vatanen: had shot out on the overturn. And don’t see…


“When I opened it, my hands were shaking. There was an indecent amount of money. And the pastransgaming.orgs of Vatanen and his co-pilot, Bruno Berglund. That was the most serious thing. That night they were due to board Algeria, already towards the rally. They couldn’t travel!

–And what did you do?

“I approached a car in the organization and asked to be taken to the enclosed area of the port. There were the pits of the teams. When I got into Peugeot space, what drama.

Alex Maspons, son of photographer Oriol Maspons

Alex Maspons, son of photographer Oriol Maspons
(César Rangel)


Jean Todt, the head of the team, did not know what face to put. Vatanen gesticulated and screamed. Berglund had watery eyes. With the fanny bag in my hand, I approached Vatanen. That giant gave me a bear hug. And Berglund gave me $800!

–800 dollars? But how much money was there?

“It didn’t occur to me to tell, even though the wad of French francs was spectacular. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I didn’t give it back to you. Without the pastransgaming.orgs, would they have been able to travel? It was festive! The consulate was closed, there were no mobilephones…


The exhibition ‘Oriol Maspons, the useful photograph’, will remain in the MNAC until January 12

–What did Vatanen do in that Dakar?

Won (in total, he won it four times).


On another occasion, Oriol Maspons portrayed Alex, an irreducible culé, along with Santillana, Camacho and Juanito. The three madridists were dressed as Magi.

But this is another battalion.