Hand in hand with Bono, the Moroccan World Cup champion in Qatar who dreams of taking on River Plate: “I hope I get a chance”

The Moroccan goalkeeper was born in Canada and learned Spanish in Spain, but with an Argentine accent

With the age of 32 (on April 5), a Spanish with a clear Argentine accent (“I learned it when I passed Atletico Madrid B, and there were many with whom I shared hours of music and television from their country”), the goalkeeper of the Moroccan national team Yassin Bono Better known as “Bono” – Talk to infobae About the great moment that football is experiencing in his country after the fourth place in the last World Cup, and about his love for River Plate, especially for his idol, Ariel Ortega.

– What a wonderful moment in Moroccan football, right?

Fortunately, yes. The fourth place in the World Cup in Qatar was very important because it was a historic event, because never before had an African team reached the semi-finals in a World Cup, and because I believe that from now on it is proven that this can be turned into a repeat and that we are capable of achieving it. .

What is the formula for success?

I don’t think there is only one. It’s a success for the great work we did with our coach (Walid) Regragui. There were very good players who are fortunately in the best teams in the world, although sometimes things happen in a certain way, like our penalty shootout against Spain in the last 16.

They achieved very good results against very good teams.

– Yes, it is no coincidence that we drew with Croatia, beat Belgium, eliminated Spain and Portugal … But now the World Cup is over and we beat Brazil and draw with Peru, two results that indicate that we are still on the right path.

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– You were in the Moroccan national team for a decade but it was said that you were able to play in Canada because you were born there. was like this?

– Yes, that’s right, although when I was young I went back to live with my parents in Morocco because they were both born there. In fact, I made my debut for Wydad Casablanca at the age of 19, but I am Moroccan at heart and that is why I never thought of anything other than playing for this team.

Rewarded with a River shirt signed by Ariel Ortega, which he received as a gift during the World Cup

– Was shortlisted for the FIFA ‘Best’ goalkeepers at the final ceremony in February in Paris. What does this mean to you?

– Pride and appreciation for what I have been working on for years in football, with a long career, and that, like many people, I had to face many circumstances and many teams in order to be able to strengthen myself. I had many satisfactions, such as winning the Zamora Trophy (in 2022) as the season’s least defeat in Sevilla, or being the Champions of the Europa League against Manchester United (in 2020), or being one of the two goalkeepers with the most assists. . In the 21st Century with Dodi Awati (Israeli).

– You mentioned many moments in your career, but how much does the World Cup affect the award?

– I don’t know, but it is clear that the World Cup is important and conditional, but it is logical that this should happen.

– Do you think it’s fair that Emiliano Martinez won the award?

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– Yes, of course, he is a great goalkeeper and was decisive without a doubt.

Bono covers the penalty kick taken by Spaniard Sergio Busquets during the 12-step penalty shootout in the World Cup Round of 16 match.

Some have questioned that he was not in the FIFA Ideal XI for 2022 and that (Thibaut) Courtois would take that place.

– In the end, it’s prizes, it’s events, it’s like that and that’s it. You don’t have to look elsewhere either. What is certain is that the players who appear in the Ideal XI are absolutely fantastic and deserve it.

– You became a hero to your people during the World Cup, but especially when you saved two penalties against Spain in the Round of 16, against Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets, and helped Morocco qualify for the quarter-finals.

– Yes, it was a great joy and we also feel local because of the great support we received from our people and from the Qataris. The celebration was impressive and unforgettable.

Yassin Bono, nicknamed Bono, was watched by Croatian Andrej Kramaric in the Morocco-Croatia match in Qatar 2022

– In that match against Spain, I ran back but every counter-attack looked like a goal.

-Yes, we won it with Cholo Simeone’s best style (laughs).

– During the World Cup, I received an Ariel Ortega shirt as a gift, he gave it to you. What can you give us?

Yes, he’s been my idol since I was a kid and he knows it. We were able to talk about it on social media. My dog ​​is named “Ariel” in his honor. I was thrilled when I received the ‘Orteguita’ shirt and he sent me a video message.

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How did Ortega become your idol?

– I have been a fan of River since I was very young, as my father gave me the shirt of the Argentine national team, which was my first football shirt, and from that moment I have always loved Argentina and I love Argentines, especially River fans. . I never got to visit the Monumental, but I was in the 2018 Copa Libertadores final at the Santiago Bernabeu and went to Japan to watch it against Barcelona in the Club World Cup in 2015.

Is it true that you almost missed going to the Bernabéu in 2018?

-Yes, this is correct. I was playing for Girona at the time and got injured against Atletico Madrid and at the end of the match, I approached (German) Burgos to ask him if he had tickets for this final and he said to me “you son of a bitch… I was injured on purpose”, but no, it was the injury serious. I ended up bringing me (Leandro) Chichizola, who was at Getafe and is a friend of mine.

Do you play in River?

I’d love to play there sometime, but you never know. I hope that happens. I like this atmosphere, what they sing about, how they live.

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Amber Cross

"Music buff. Unapologetic problem solver. Organizer. Social media maven. Web nerd. Incurable reader."

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