Avila’s path to LaLiga has been anything but a straight line. As he talks to ESPN, he reflects on how, as he says in Argentina, ‘all beauty comes at a cost.’ Courtesy of Pablo Garcia
Chimy Avila is an open book, and what a book. He has an extraordinary story inked on his skin: a tale of survival and miracle, of poverty, guns and crime, of football too, all of it told raw and unfiltered. “This is the journey so far,” he says, pointing at the tattoos all over his body, the messages and moments that made him. A journey always present, and not finished yet. “People say don’t look back, but I look back always because if you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going,” he says.
It is written right here. Sitting on the bench at Osasuna’s Tajonar training ground, the Argentinian striker and one-man wrecking ball is busy explaining how he got his first tattoo by rigging up a wire and a pen to the motor from a DVD player. “When the motor was plugged in, the thing would spin and the needle came out the top,” he recalls. “That’s how we did it in the barrio. My first was the Rosario Central badge, where my brother plays now. We’re huge fans.” He was 10 years old at the time. Many, many more followed.
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Did it look good? “Well,” Chimy says, and then he starts laughing, which is an answer of sorts. “It hurt, but I took it,” he smiles. “There have been a lot of wires, but as they say in Argentina, sarna con gusto no pica — ‘scabies with pleasure doesn’t itch’ — basically, all beauty comes at a cost. Every pleasure has pain.”
It could be his motto. Another one for the needle.
“My body is my life story. My left arm symbolises my mum. The legs, my brothers and sisters. My chest, my wife. My newborn daughter’s hands. On my leg is the koi fish that swims against the current. My brothers. Every moment of my life goes on.”
There’s a pause and Chimy laughs again. “There will come a time when there’s no room left. I’ve decided on small drawings now, so there’s still space for …….