In December, the GAY BLOG BR team revisited the most read articles of the year and gathered them in categories so that readers could elect, through voting, those deserving of the extremely valuable Poc Awards trophy.
The interview with Marcelo Bechler (34), where the journalist talks about the backstage of the viral video with the player Gerard Piqué, motivated the nomination of the mineiro in the “Straight Non Toxic of the Year” category of the award. With 53% of the public vote, the Poc Awards 2020 trophy went to Barcelona, where Bechler has lived for five years.
In a new interview with GAY BLOG BR, Marcelo Bechler talks about coping with corona virus in Spain, the clubs positioning with diversity and a little bit of his personal life.
Its popularity has grown a lot, not only in sports, but in different types of public, including the respect of the club. Here at GAY BLOG BR, your interview was one of the most accessed in 2020. At that time, you even had about 80 thousand followers on Instagram; today it exceeds 166 thousand. What do you attribute your great engagement with the audience? Was it a surprise being chosen by the public in your category at the Poc Awards?
It was very surprising, yes! Because I really don’t think I did anything too much in taking a joke. About the growth in popularity, I get messages from people saying they don’t like soccer and follow me just to see me. The comments on the photos are well divided between praise from soccer fans and men who think I’m handsome. I think it’s really cool that they see me for positive things. And I think I can only reciprocate by setting an example of tolerance and lightness for friends, family and followers.
From the moment we did the interview until now, did you have any new interactions or a new interview with Piqué?
No, because of the pandemic, our access is almost minimal. The closest was one day that I was walking down the stairs at the Camp Nou and the players coming out to warm up and he shouted “Hey, Marcelo!”. Nothing further. He did an interview in a post-game that I was in, but my interview position was far away and he didn’t go to all the TVs.
Regarding the prevention with the corona virus out there, how do you see the government acting to make things go back to “normal”? Can you make a parallel between the measures there and those of Brazil?
I think that first, there is a sense here. For restrictions, relaxation, etc. Even if they make a mistake, because we are facing the unknown, there is logic and science behind it. The measures are stricter and there is a expensive fine for those who do not comply. I think there is more willingness by the government and the population to help each other. Each one of us have to give a grain of sand, otherwise it is impossible.
Europe has a very developed soccer. North America too. Not only in the national teams, but also in the national leagues. What do you attribute that to? Is it just a cultural issue or are there public policies that favor this development?
It is a money issue. Brazilians, Argentines, Uruguayans shine in these leagues. Europeans have media, big sponsors, a collective organization to sell broadcast rights. But imagine that the great South Americans were there and we had a Libertadores with Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Alisson, Marquinhos, Lautaro…. it would be as good or better than the Champions.
For you, what role does sport play in building social horizontality, not only from a racial point of view, but also in gender and sexual equality? Do you see pro-diversity measures in the clubs there?
The clubs are very timidly taking a stand. Some like Rayo Vallecano and Unión Berlim are more active. And I think the big ones do it because it generates a beautiful engagement, not with spontaneity. Statistically, each club with 30 players must have one or two gay players and no one comes out of the closet. Fear of the fans reaction, sponsors, media and that they will judge you for that and not for their soccer. I think that sport would be fundamental to normalize issues like these. We are seeing an important movement in the battle against racism, driven by engaged players, but it is still an extremely sexist and retrograde in that way.
Through social media, we can say that you exercise a lot. How are you playing soccer? Can we wait one day to see you playing on any club?
Hahaha! What I do least here is to play soccer, because it is difficult to reconcile the schedule of 10, 15 people. I love to play and I even made to the base category at América-MG. Today I am 34 years old and it is impossible to chase 20, 22 year old boys. I follow with paddle, weight training and climbing stairs (yes, I love running up the stairs hahah).
And do you have plans to return to live in Brazil?
I do not. Brazil is in a very sad, intolerant moment that generates more stress than traffic or public safety (the reasons that motivated me to leave in 2015). My learning of many things here continues to motivate me to continue. I miss my friends and family, but the mentality that we have today keeps me away from Brazil, unfortunately.
And what are your post-pandemic plans?
I want to travel. A lot. In 2019 I went to South Africa with Clara, my girlfriend, and it was amazing. Last year we went to Sardinia and I have never seen such an ocean. I took a 3-day trip to Ibiza with friends and it was also amazing. I miss trips to work and leisure. I want to see my parents and brothers. Eat my grandmother’s tropeiro beans in Brumadinho, play biribol with my family in Olímpia. And I want to go to Atacama and the beaches of Vietnam and Indonesia. Will the budget be tight? Yes, but I want to!