It’s no wonder Javier Mascherano is considered Argentina’s de facto team captain…
The 30-year-old Argentine footballer’s inspiring words to the team’s goalie Sergio Romero during his team’s FIFA World Cup semifinal match against the Netherlands on Wednesday, just moments before the end of the match, have gone viral thanks to a Vine clip, and made him a star in his own right
“Listen to me. It’s today. Today, you become a hero,” says Mascherano seconds before the penalty kicks showdown that closed the semifinals.
Romero saved two penalty kicks from the Netherlands, making Mascherano’s words ring true and leading his team to victory — and the final match against Germany on Sunday.
Vine footage of that short and powerful dialog quickly went viral, prompting Mascherano, who lead his team in a legendary performance against The Netherlands and tackled a very dangerous shot by the Dutch’s feared star Arjen Robben,to nationwide praise throughout social media.
Memes were also replicated all over Facebook and Twitter, comparing the FC Barcelona midfielder to Che Guevara and South American Liberator Jose de San Martin, among other strong and brave leaders.
“Must say, Mascherano was immense. What a heart!” tweeted England football star Gary Lineker.
The social media buzz even earned him Chuck Norris status through the hashtag #maschefacts, with posts like: “Mascherano asks bouncers for their IDs,” “Mascherano can win the Hunger Games with a teaspoon,” and “Mascherano goes to negotiate with vulture funds and brings back change,” among others.