Soccer-Argentines snap up souvenirs of stand-in goalkeeping hero

·1 min read
Copa Libertadores - Group D - River Plate v Santa Fe

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentines are snapping up merchandise honouring midfielder Enzo Perez after his heroic goalkeeping effort helped a River Plate team ravaged by COVID-19 to win a Copa Libertadores game earlier this week.

River were without more than 20 players who either tested positive for the virus or were injured, including all four of their goalkeepers. Hence Perez was forced to don the keeper’s gloves for Wednesday’s match against Independiente of Santa Fe.

They had 11 fit players and no substitutes but River won 2-1, with the debutant goalkeeper lifting the man-of-the-match award.

Now, the replica jerseys, caps and figurines made in tribute to the 35-year-old player are in high demand.

Jerseys with the number 24 on the back like those used by Perez are being sold for 2500 Argentine pesos ($26.57) online, and there are also caps, t-shirts and key rings available.

One of the most sought-after items is a ‘Limited Edition’ figurine of the yellow-clad keeper.

Perez was injured in River’s previous game and would likely have sat out Wednesday’s game but for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Instead, he has become an overnight sensation.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)