Smiling, simple and humble, exemplary in his behavior and absolutely impeccable in the firmness with which he faces the hard setback of the disease. This is how Kirian Rodríguez Concepción (Candelaria, 1996) shows himself just three weeks after publicly telling what was happening to him. Transparent and without duplicity, as he is, the conversation with the soccer player is a delight for those who listen to it, full of messages and richness, full of the values that were instilled in him at home. Adversities can be faced from sadness, fragility or restlessness. Or as Kirian does, that he promises to “come back and make it even stronger.” He tells it the day after being the protagonist –without being present– of a match at the Heliodoro Rodríguez López, there where one day he scored and did not celebrate. On Sunday, the stands roared. And he did it for him.
How does an ovation feel when you know it’s going for you, even without being on the pitch?
The truth is that it was something very, very beautiful. Above all because in the end I am from Tenerife, many of my friends are fans of CD Tenerife and were there at the Heliodoro. Feeling everyone’s affection was something very gratifying. In these cases it is clear that there are no colors.
I don’t know if during the week I was aware of the repercussion that the initiative was reaching, which somehow began spontaneously on social networks and grew until it became unanimous, thunderous applause on Sunday. Did you expect to find something like this?
Well, the truth is no. As in Gran Canaria, lately I have disconnected a bit from the mobile phone but you do get notifications and messages from friends. That’s how I found out that they wanted to do something for me and of course it’s something nice, which is appreciated.
Where were you in the 20th minute of the first half, when the stadium began to applaud?
I was just watching the game with the family. Some friends who were going to the Heliodoro stopped by my house earlier, they told me that they were going to be there and immediately from the stadium they sent me some images. First the one of the two teams with the banner of “Animo Kirian” and then also the videos of what happened in the stands. It was something impressive.
More than anything because in scenarios like this we are used to rivalry, each defending their colors…
Of course. It was amazing because you play with the colors of the rival team and with which there is always a healthy and sporting touch; and that they [los aficionados del Helidoro] They decided that being from Tenerife deserved that gesture, because it is something that excites you. They wanted to convey that encouragement and affection to me; and it is something very nice, which of course has come to me.
Obviously this is an unwanted situation but it is serving to demonstrate to what extent Kirian Rodríguez is a person and a professional who is valued and appreciated in Tenerife. In a way, you reap what he sows, among other reasons because he never had a bad gesture or a bad word towards CD Tenerife or towards anyone at the club.
I believe that what you are commenting on is based on the values of the person. It has nothing to do with me being from the rival team. I’ve always said that I’m very fond of CD Tenerife. In the end I trained here, I had five very nice years at the club and due to life circumstances I had to go look for chickpeas elsewhere. I have always had respect for them and I think that has also influenced the fact that the fans have said: we are going to give him that encouragement, we are going to have that detail with him. I understand that they thought I deserved it and I am grateful that they think so.
It all starts the day of his public appearance before the media. It was that morning when his example struck a chord with many people and when the displays of affection began to multiply. He said to you: “I don’t want pity messages, I want them to see me well.”
It is clear that in the end the fact that I came out, that they saw my face, that they saw that I was whole… and above all that they saw me smile, that I continue with the same jokes, I think has convinced everyone that this It wasn’t going to change me and it isn’t going to change me. That has made the support that is reaching me different, that they are not effectively messages of sorrow, like: how inopportune that this happens to you now; but that the love is coming to me in another way.
What do you mean?
I didn’t want to convey sorrow. And that message that I gave has made the support has been in another tone, I don’t know, that it has been in the form of energies and good vibrations. If even then I was sure that this was going to make me stronger, now even more so.
In the last few hours, he received a message from Pedro Rodríguez, the most universal footballer from Tenerife of all time. What do you suggest to be an example of strength and integrity for athletes of his stature?
The truth is that I am very grateful to Pedro, without a doubt a reference for many reasons. From his Foundation they sent me messages when he spent everything because I went to the campuses that he usually does to see the children and be with them. I have received a lot of messages and of course I am grateful to each and every one of those who have made such gestures with me.
I take advantage of the conversation to ask him where his recovery process is going and if he sets deadlines, because that day of the press conference he did state that he would like to be the best possible “winter signing” for Las Palmas.
Well, look, right now I’m in Tenerife, and since the team was traveling to Malaga I took the opportunity to come and see the family, who hadn’t had the opportunity since everything started. Because I keep going to Barranco Seco every morning to do a bit of mobility, a bit of cycling… and now I’m at home resting a bit and hoping it’s Thursday, since it’s time for my second treatment session. I go step by step. Already in the next session I will say that I have already completed a third of the treatment; Later I’m already halfway there. And so on until the end.
He has been sent a message by Carla Suárez, who went through the same illness, successfully overcame it and returned to the tennis courts to play again and enjoy her sport. Is she the reference and the demonstration that she will be able to return?
Without a doubt, she is the reference. In fact, she sent me a message on social networks as soon as she heard the news. I remember her when she did the kick-off with us and I have a lot of admiration for her. It is my clear reference to know that I can play again, have fun again. And do it as soon as possible, without a doubt.
I don’t know to what extent this process involves deprivation, but he has told his closest friends that there is something he is not going to lose: his smile.
It’s that in the end if you lose your smile… That’s my way of carrying it, smiling. Anyone who approaches me will think: if he is like this, that he is the one who is going through the situation… A little bit that is what I transmit to the team. In fact, I trust that this will bring the group closer together. When I arrive in the morning, any joke I make, what it transmits is that. The companions will think: if he is out, he cannot play and he is like that. I already tell you; I think all this will make them much stronger.
How many times have you dreamed of his return?
I always joke with my partner. I usually sleep very well, it’s not hard for me to fall asleep… but the times I do have a hard time, I tell him: it’s not that I’m in a downturn, quite the opposite, I’m already thinking about getting in shape, about recovering… I can’t wait to go back, enter a rondo or eat a corridor of collejas, I even miss that. I tell you the truth: I am more of having those thoughts of being with the group training than visualizing returning to the competition, that surely is further away.
Pedro, Carla Suárez, the eternal rival… I don’t know if he can quantify how many messages of encouragement he has received in these weeks of counting down to his return.
Messages have not been lacking, no. They have come to me from everywhere. Practically all the teams from the Second Division, many from the First Division. I would tell you that practically all the captains of the two categories have written to me. The support has been unanimous. It is noted that with this type of situation, people turn over.
The spirits of Carla Suarez
Kirian Rodríguez has in the tennis player Carla Suárez an excellent example to confirm that it is possible to get out of this disease and return to competition at the highest level, as the Gran Canarian did, who even participated last year in the most important sporting event on a planetary scale , the Olympic Games, in an extraordinary final touch to his sports career. Although they had already been in contact through the networks, Kirian received a voice message from the islander yesterday. “I wanted to send you a lot of strength, a lot of encouragement. I want everything to go well. And hopefully soon we can be celebrating your goals with the Sports Union, but the important thing and the main thing is that everything goes very well, “said Suárez, who was especially interested in knowing if Kirian has already started treatment. Indeed, the recovery process from the cancer that has been diagnosed is already underway, he is receiving it well
“and with great encouragement” and this Thursday is the scheduled date for the second session. The cases of Kirian and Carla have the same umbilical cord. In the course of two very successful sports careers, they were diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in time and therefore received immediate treatment. The tennis player immediately began chemotherapy, which lasted six months, and once her recovery was complete, she was able to return to the courts and compete. During this time, she received endless messages of encouragement, including that of her idol and reference, Serena Williams: “It’s something you value and it helps a lot.”