How did the brother's death in the summer come about?
Gio Reyna on the death of his brother Jack: "I just felt lost"
- Our youngster wrote about the importance of his brother Jack to him in his column for The Players Tribune.
- He also told why Sergio Agüero is responsible for the last beautiful moments of Jack's life.
"One day I really have to thank Sergio Agüero.
For a long time I thought to myself: I have to play this guy just so I can talk to him. Not just because my grandfather is Argentine, or because Sergio is one of my family's favorite players, or because we all sat in front of the TV at the World Cup two years ago and cheered Argentina on.
No I have a story to tell him. Many years ago Sergio scored a goal that brought me one of the happiest moments of my life. To understand why, you need to know about my older brother, Jack.
Jack was my hero when I was a kid. Some people think that my father Claudio made me a good player because he was a professional himself. Sure, he gave me great advice and some pretty good genes. But when I was growing up in Manchester, where my dad played for Manchester City, Jack was the one who always played with me in the back yard.
We had the old samba gates, you know? One-on-one, there is nowhere to hide. I was four years old and Jack was three years older so sometimes he let me win by slipping a few shots under his foot. Most of the time, though, Jack made me lose. And I got angry. I kicked him, bit him, hit him. Then I cried and ran to my mother, Danielle. These games made me very grown up, and Dad will tell you the same thing. My competitiveness, my stubbornness, it all came from trying to defeat Jack.
He was the perfect brother. I've always been a shy kid so he included me in everything he did with his friends, which meant I got used to playing against kids a few years older. That gave me confidence. When I wasn't around, he said nice things about me. When he realized that I would be better than him, he drove me to become the best I could be. And when I played a good game, he was the first to call me to tell me how well I played.
In 2007 our family moved to New York, where my father played for the New York Red Bulls. In the summer of 2010, Jack was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 11 years old. At one point it looked like he would make it, but in December 2011 doctors discovered that the tumor had come back. Shortly after, while we were going on vacation to Mexico, Jack began to get sick and put on weight from chemotherapy. He could still run and swim, but he got tired very quickly. That was when I realized this could end very badly.
We were all pretty sure City would beat QPR, one of the smaller teams in the league. When City scored a goal in the first half, the victory and thus the title seemed to be a matter of form.
But QPR turned the game around and took the lead in the second half. With United won, City needed two goals. Nobody smiled in our living room anymore. I felt sorry for Jack. He was so sick at the time that he could neither walk nor speak. Now he wouldn't see City win the league either.
Edin Dzeko scored the equalizer two minutes into stoppage time. That gave us some hope even when the game was almost over. Two minutes later, Aguero scored the winning goal. You saw the gate. You heard the comment.
We went nuts in the living room. We jumped around, screamed and partied and hugged. The first championship title in 44 years! Won in the most incredible way. We looked at each other in disbelief.
Suddenly we heard someone gasp. It was Jack. He rolled over on the floor, which came out of nowhere because he had hardly any energy left in his body. We were very worried. For 20 seconds it looked like he couldn't breathe.
Then, very slowly, Jack burst into a smile and started laughing. We realized he was celebrating the goal. He was just as happy as we were. I will never forget this moment. It was so amazing, so funny, so crazy.
A little over 9 weeks later, on July 19th, Jack passed away.
Losing your older brother when you are 9 changes the way you look at life. You learn not to take anything or anyone for granted. The next few years after Jack's death were very difficult for the whole family. Personally, I just felt lost.
Sport became my refuge ".
- Here you can find the original article.
- We have translated the second part of Gios' column - about his path so far and his goals - here.
- The third part - about the game against PSG in the Champions League - can be found here.
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