He secured immortality in his country. Whatever happens in the World Cup quarter-final against favorite Portugal, Morocco goalkeeper Jasín Bunú will be one of the main heroes of the tournament. So far, he has only conceded one goal and scored a spectacular goal against Spain in the round of 16.
The North African nation first edged past Belgium into the last 16, appearing in the world championship playoffs after a long 36 years. A spectacular celebration followed, as Morocco, in the role of outsiders, beat Spain on penalties and claimed historic football success.
They became the fourth African team in the World Cup quarter-finals after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010).
The goalkeeper who wears the nickname “Bono” on his jersey made a big contribution in this regard. In Qatar, only team-mate, West Ham stopper Najif Aguerd, has so far outscored him, scoring an unfortunate own goal in the clash with Canada.
In Montreal, Canada Bunú was born in 1991 to Moroccan parents. When he was three years old, his family moved back to Casablanca. The talented goalkeeper was approached by the Canadian Football Association years ago, but Bunú was clear whose national jersey he wanted to wear.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Lions of Atlas,” Bono maintains to this day. He already succeeded at the Olympics in London in 2012, he is only fulfilling his dream of world championships this year. Already a world class goalkeeper.
Ten years ago, a few weeks before the London Olympics, the 21-year-old goalkeeper from Wydad, Morocco, moved to Atlético Madrid. On loan at Zaragoza, he started chasing the second league and fought a long battle for his place in the sun in Spain.
He actually only saw it two years ago, when in Seville he beat Czech number one goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík, who ultimately preferred to go to Greece’s Olympiakos.
Initially, the Moroccan player only won the Europa League, but when he led the Rojiblancos to win the championship trophy, it became clear that he made Wolverhampton Gunners, Manchester United and Inter Milan desperate. Bono’s star is shining bright.
Last season, he was even named the best goalkeeper in La Liga. He also beat Real’s Thibaut Courtois, and Barcelona allegedly started trying to buy him.
The thirty-one year old footballer, a representative of quiet power, has not seen a transfer to any of the giant clubs. National euphoria, but yes.
“Unbelievable. Historical moment. I didn’t even prepare for penalties, I tried to enjoy it,” he smiled after setting up Spain’s miss.
For two hours after the duel of his life, this polyglot ran from one interview to another. He answered in Arabic, Spanish, English and French. “Punishment is just a matter of instinct and a bit of luck. Nothing else,” he explained modestly.
In Qatar, as well as Spain, the silver medal-winning defender, Croatia, is also aiming and not just chasing Belgium. Before the game he had a headache, he wasn’t feeling well. He was in the lineup, he even stood on the pitch during the opening ceremony and sang the Moroccan national anthem. However, just before the first whistle, he preferred to tell the terrified coach that he couldn’t catch up.
Fortunately, in the end nothing serious, without Bono, Morocco’s chances would have plummeted.
Another challenging task awaits him on Saturday. He will face the Portuguese, who terrified all opponents with a six-goal appearance against Switzerland in eight finals.
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