Happy Birthday to… Gonzalo Montiel

Argentine international and seasoned penalty-taker Gonzalo Montiel has turned 27 today. Montiel, who is also a Nottingham defender, spent most of the first half of this season off the pitch due to injuries to his calf, tibia and heel, according to a summary by the Daily Mirror on the extent of Premier League injuries.

Montiel’s football career took a controversial turn in 2023 when he was accused of aggravated sexual assault, as declared by the victim’s attorney Raquel Hermida. The incident allegedly occurred during a birthday party at Montiel’s house on the 1st of January 2019 when the complainant, who had lost consciousness after consuming drinks, was allegedly assaulted by the defender and others.

Before his fall from grace, Montiel had already established a reputation in his homeland playing for River Plate, drawing attention from several European clubs. Early in the decade, the newspaper Olé reported interest from Roma, Inter, Betis Sevilla, and Crystal Palace. However, any potential buyer had to contend with a €20m release clause.

Months later, his agent confirmed his readiness to move abroad, stating in a direct quote, “Gonzalo is about to make the leap to Europe. It is time for him to do so in one of the top 3 or 4 leagues. There are many clubs interested in him.” While Bologna and Fiorentina were rumoured to be interested, and Benfica also thrown into the mix, it wasn’t until 2021 when Montiel made his move to Sevilla in Liga. The club had an impressive record in the Europa League, which played a significant factor in his decision.

On the eve of the Europa League final, Montiel told ABC about the impending match against Roma. In quote, “We have prepared well. The final is a dream and I will give everything if I have to play. If I won, it would be an unforgettable year. Roma is a great rival.”

He also reflected on his role in the World Cup during penalty shootouts, particularly against France. Quoting his words, “At the World Cup, I cried before the final shoot-out because I had caused the 3-3 penalty. Scaloni approached me and asked if I was ready to shoot. My teammates also helped me, saying I had to get my revenge, and they calmed me. When it was time, I thought of my family and all the sacrifices made to get there”.

In a dramatic rematch with Roma, Montiel scored the decisive penalty kick just as he had six months prior. Unfortunately, he experienced a setback in the Super Cup against Manchester City; while he converted his shot, it wasn’t enough to secure another trophy.

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