Joan Bargués is a 31-year-old from Altafulla who fulfilled a dream in 2019. What he had always wanted came true. Despite having only one leg, he began to play football, his favorite sport, in the modality for amputees, reaching the Spanish team with which he played the European Championship last year, proclaiming himself runner-up. He is now preparing to be called up to the national team for the 2022 World Cup in Turkey and thus increase the fantasy.
Bargués was born with a malformation in his right leg, which was shorter than the left. After several years of unsuccessful treatment to try to lengthen it and equalize the size of both limbs, her family decided that her best option was to amputate. She was 11 years old at the time, and since then she has lived with a prosthesis. “I have always liked all sports, I watched the Paralympic Games and more than once I had considered the possibility of practicing one at a competitive level, but I bet more on studies,” says Bargués, who remembers when three years ago he saw on TV3 an interview with two boys who played football for amputees and who had played in the European Championship. “I was already living and working in Barcelona, I contacted them and in no time I started playing in the Sant Vicenç dels Horts 2014 AE”, says the young man from Altafulla.
After passing through the ranks of the UE Sector Montserratina de Viladecans, Bargués will return to Sant Vicenç next season with the aim of forming a very competitive team to win the Spanish championship and thus qualify for the next edition of the Champions League, which will be play in a European city for a weekend. It should be noted that the high point of Bargués’ football career was when he was called up by the Spanish team for the Eurocup that was played in Poland last September.
“When I started playing it was hard for me, because you’re on crutches and it’s not easy, I fell all the time, but little by little I got better and the coaches told me that if I pushed a little harder they could call me for a concentration with the national team”, explains the footballer, who remembers that «this motivated me a lot and they ended up calling me to the Las Rozas Football City. It was amazing, we did the same as professionals, with schedules and talks ». There were several concentrations in which Bargués participated until he was called up for the European Championship in Krakow. “That moment was one of the happiest of my life, but at the same time I was very nervous, because we were in the midst of a pandemic and that summer I remember that I practically did not leave the house so as not to get infected,” says the young man, who affirms that “although I did not I played a lot of minutes, it was a great experience.”
Although Bargués has already fulfilled a dream by achieving the European silver medal, he is not satisfied. He is currently preparing to be called up for the World Cup, which is played in October in Turkey. “Now I am recovering from a small injury by going to the gym, and in no time I will be training again and when October approaches I will do it with a physical trainer,” he explains, while assuring that “if they call me for the World Cup, the dream will be much greater. Hopefully I get it, which I think I will, and have more minutes than in the European Championship.”
Through his example, Bargués hopes that more people in the same situation – with a disability in one of their limbs – will realize that if they want they can practice their favorite sport and fulfill their dreams. In addition, he explains that playing football for amputees also helps him and his colleagues to meet other people without legs or arms: “Some of us have already assumed it because we have had the disability for years, but there are colleagues, for example, who lost an arm or a leg a year ago, and for many playing in an amputee team is a way to live again. On the other hand, he hopes that in Spain he will bet more on this modality: “It is true that it is growing, but there is still a long way to go.”