Without a visa for a dream | Copa América 2024 | Soccer

Luciano Cabral, the best figure of the national tournament, will not be able to take the field defending the Chilean team in the debut of the Copa América. The reason is simple and forceful: he did not obtain a visa to enter the United States because he served a sentence for simple homicide in prison.

While Ricardo Gareca’s team debuts against Peru, Cabral awaits the most important contract of his career in Chile. Intended by the Pachuca group from Mexico, the main clubs in the country and by several other institutions abroad, he is unable to defend La Roja despite the fact that he already wore the under 20 shirt, before the trial and the ruling that changed his life forever.

Luciano was born in General Alvear, province of Mendoza, Argentina. Thanks to his Chilean grandfather, he was able to obtain nationality, which allowed him to play in the 2015 South American Youth Championship in Punta del Este, after which he debuted in Argentinos Juniors and was later loaned to Atlético Paranaense in Brazil.

But success took its toll. In the early hours of January 1, 2017, she participated in a street fight in General Alvear, where his family group clashed with Joan Villegas, 27, who died as a result of the blows received. At the trial, José Cabral, his father, explained that the victim was a troublemaker who blackmailed him into harming the soccer player every time he returned to his hometown, and that the death was the result of a dispute caused by Villegas. In one of the pieces of evidence from the trial, Luciano Cabral’s bloody sneakers placed him at the scene of the event, although before the judges and in a message sent to the victim’s mother he stressed that he “He hadn’t killed Joan.”.

The sentence was lapidary. Ten years for Luciano and 18 for his father, although the footballer, due to his good behavior, was released from prison after a five-year sentence. It was then that Coquimbo Kingdom trusted that he kept his abilities intact. Talented and persistent, Cabral took a year to fully adapt to the game, leading a team of moderate expectations in the Chilean championship.

In a country where skilled midfielders are not plentiful, Cabral has been filled with praise, to the point of earning a place on Gareca’s pre-roster for the Copa América in the United States. However, all the efforts of the Federation to obtain an entry visa for him were in vain, despite the fact that the soccer player played in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay representing the Coquimbanos in the Copa Sudamericana.

Cabral’s surprising story has few precedents in world football. Most convicted players serving time in prison fail to stay fit to resume their careers. The majority, in the middle of the process, are suspended by the clubs until the ruling is handed down. The exception is Brazilian Breno-Vinicus Rodríguez, who went to prison for three years accused of burning down his house when he was a member of Bayern Munich. After serving his sentence he returned to Brazil, where he played for São Paulo and Vasco da Gama, winning titles and garnering praise.

Cabral may not play in the Copa América because of US immigration policies, but he is looking forward to his future. From his club, Coquimbo Kingdom, they make efforts to achieve the best transfer price and for him to enroll abroad. The regulations of the local League allow a player to defend two teams in the tournament, so Cabral could be the biggest enemy of his squad’s aspirations to win the first title in its history.

Trifles next to an immense story of redemption that has football as its setting. And to a young man who, once he has paid for his sins, wants to dream big.

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