A humble ex-football player lives in Puerto de Santa María (Cadiz). A footballer who was forced to hang up his boots due to a rare and evil illness that threatens his life. His name is Carlos Gómez Matallanas and his brother Javier works at AS. They are both grandsons of the famous Madrid based football scout Bernardino Matallanas who scoured the regional league systems in the Spanish capital on the hunt for talent during the sixties and seventies. Carlos Matallanas was forced to abandon the game when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
There was a time when Carlos would write articles for AS, but sadly those days are in the past with the disease affecting his muscular ability and depriving him the use of his fingers. Despite this situation, he can still communicate and even write things using a special screen which allows him to focus on letters with his eye. Using this technology he recently composed a one-off article for investigative online daily El Confidencial. He also still manages to collaborate with LaLiga clubs in providing dossiers on certain emerging talents as was showcased in a recent El Mundo report.
His is a dignified struggle against the constant face of defeat and his effort is bolstered with the unwavering support of his wife, family and brothers. He can also count on support from the world of football with Fernando Torres being a long-term friend and despite constant adversity, Carlos maintains hope that a miracle will permit him to stay alive and enable to do what he loves most, watch football. I am genuinely unaware of any other individual who I could call a hero. His is a daily battle, as the illness constantly corrodes his body as he spends his time campaigning for a cure for this treacherous disease. Carlos is an example, and a beacon of hope for anyone facing adversity in their lives.