These days, there are only two kinds of Peruvians: there are those who are bursting with joy with the news of Paolo Guerrero being allowed to play in the World Cup, and then there’s Claudio Pizarro and Magaly Medina.
Pizarro and Medina are the bullseye target Peruvian Twitter’s jokes after being cast as villains in the saga of Guerrero, whose 14-month ban was suspended by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland on Thursday morning, clearing the way for the forward to join La Blanquirroja in Russia.
Pizarro, 39, was a stalwart of the Peruvian attack since 1999, but played his last game for Peru in 2016. His age and diminishing fitness, as well as the little playing time he was getting at his club led coach Ricardo Gareca to call others for his position. But he stirred controversy when he told Kicker magazine that he dreamt to play in the World Cup, on the eve of a crucial game against Argentina. Some people interpreted it as an indication that he was trying to jump on the bandwagon now that Peru had a real chance to qualify, and that angered a sector of fans who thought he didn’t deserve it.
Shortly afterward, Guerrero was banned and Pizarro’s name started to circulate again as a possible replacement. But some saw darker forces at work. Petronila Gonzales, Paolo Guerrero’s mother, told the press that there was a conspiracy at the Peruvian Federation to leave her son out of the World Cup and give the spot to Pizarro. “Doña Peta”, as she is affectionately known, apologized days later, but the seed of suspicion had already taken root. Pizarro didn’t reply to the accusations.
The inclusion of Pizarro in the update of the World Cup squads for FIFA 18 by EA Sports also fueled the controversy, with hundreds of Peruvians asking the company to include Guerrero instead.
All the conspiracy theories were ripped apart by the decision of the Swiss tribunal, but it also sank Pizarro’s hope to be in a World Cup.
The other focus of Peruvians’ jokes was the TV and radio host Magaly Medina. She was one of the first to announce the extension of Guerrero’s ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but couldn’t help but add some personal commentary. “I personally understand what it’s like to bring your truth to a tribunal that doesn’t believe you. It happened to me once: they didn’t believe my truth, knowing what it was, while I had a clear conscience. It happens, Paolo Guerrero. That’s how things are.” Medina also responded to a tweet celebrating the ban of Guerrero saying “Cheers!” She was suspended from her anchor job for the incident, according to the online portal Trome and now, fans are having fun at her expense.