Museum goals | Sports

A woman observes the photograph ‘Seminario de Madrid’, by Ramón Masats, in an exhibition at the Passion Museum in Valladolid in 2018.NACHO GALLEGO (EFE)

A flying cassock; two fingers touching the ball; six men who observe, expectantly, the perfect shadow of a goalkeeper under an aspiring priest, and an immense photographer acting as a net, capturing an instant full of beauty, mystery and irony: a goal, that of the seminarian Mariano Enamorado to his teammate Lino Hernandez. The image was taken by Ramón Masats one March 64 years ago. The author of it, who died a few weeks ago, at 92, admitted that she had “taken a mania” for the photo, which today is part of the collection of the MoMA in New York. She was her favorite, the most recognized among the public, and that caused her to always be talked about, that is, less talked about the others.

Zinedine Zidane, author of one of the most beautiful goals of all time, a museum volley against Bayern Leverkusen in the Champions League final in Glasgow (2002), has said on some occasion that his favorite is not that one, but one that He scored in a friendly against Norway in which he received with his back turned and began to dance in front of a hopeless goalkeeper. Roberto Carlos’s goal is not the one he scored against France after making the ball stop in the air and fall like a dry leaf into the net, but rather a goal against Tenerife in which the ball made so many antics looking for the goal that It seemed to have a remote control inside. “I don’t even know what I did,” summarized the Brazilian. The trick of suggesting other goals, other photos is good… because it awakens curiosity, which is now killed on Google. They are, indeed, two extraordinary plays, one from 1998 and the other from 1997. Masats was also especially fond of the Sanfermines report (1956) because he did it at the beginning of his career: “I was proving myself”… The photographer titled Against nostalgia a compilation exhibition, but as in almost everything, the best memories correspond to the beginnings, when we still do not know everything we are capable of doing.

Many years later, Masats met the seminarian again, now a veteran priest. The scorer of the goal, Enamorado, -what a great name for the back of a shirt-, went the other way: he became a businessman, got married, had children… Hernández, like the rest of the world, appreciated the beauty of the snapshot , but he regretted that it was precisely the goal that he failed to stop in the penalty shootout. To compensate, Ernesto Valverde, who in addition to being a coach is a photographer, would say in the documentary The ironic eye (TVE) that would have signed him as a goalkeeper. If he could stretch out like that in that heavy cassock, imagine him in shorts.

“It has fallen from the sky,” said a critic of the time, upon seeing his photos. In 1999, after his major retrospective at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Massats began to move away from photography. “I don’t have it in my head anymore, it’s like when you lose faith,” she explained. The vocation declined, but before then the great photographer of clichés and rituals – and there is no one more punctual and rooted than football – always found the formula to transmit his personality and talent in each image, with a unique look capable of transforming everyday into something different. The seminarians in cassocks played at “recess” at being free men and Masats played, in the midst of the dictatorship, at challenging the commonplaces, everything that should be tied and well tied, like his place at the family stall selling fish, inventing a job that practically did not exist then, that of a professional photographer. There is no greater trait of freedom than that: dedicating yourself to what you like. It is the closest thing to mastering time, like that obedient ball that stops before falling.

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