Can you imagine that a man shot down an airplane with a football? That is what Roberto Gabriel Trigo did, who is a retired football player from Paraguay.
It has remained a mystery for over six decades now whether it was kicked during an official game or a practice match, but all narrators credit the same man for this worldly feat, Roberto Gabriel Trigo. Just 17 years young at the time, the footballer was annoyed by the pilot flying low over the football pitch. As a result of his annoyance, he kicked the ball towards the plane, hit an engine and was responsible for the crashed plane about 200 ms away from the field.
“He always flew over during games or practices, and I told him in Guarani (an American language): ‘anive reyu upeicha, because roityta’, which means: ‘don’t do this anymore, or I’m going to hit you with a ball I kick, and he was dying of laughter because he was my friend,” Trigo told EFE a few years ago.
The pilot, Alfredo Lird, was a fan of the club, General Genes, and well acquainted with Trigo. He was in the habit of flying low and was humorously warned a couple of times not to do it by the team members. But no one in their right mind thought that this would happen in reality until the day it did. Trigo does not recall all the events of the day, but he does remember that it was the February of 1957 in a game against football club Presidente Hayes.
The game was tense, and right after Presidente Hayes had got a corner kick, Trigo took the ball in his control and kicked it towards the low-flying plane. He never thought he would hit it, but he did; he recalls, “For a little while, the game was stopped. I panicked. They took me and made me drink cold water, and they poured it on my head. Then, they told me: ‘don’t worry, nothing happened at all, the pilot is fine.’ So, I started to calm down,”.
The footballer learned that Lird had a little boy with him in the plane, but, despite crashing into a nearby open field, both had escaped uninjured. Once things settled down, the game resumed, and Trigo’s team won with a score of 2 – 0.
What was more devastating for Trigo was that Lird had a little boy on board, but fortunately, both remained uninjured. Eventually, Trigo’s team won with a score of 2-0 against Presidente Hayes.
“Lird didn’t get angry with me, we were friends, and we always joked that at some point, I was going to hit him with a ball if he passed over us again with his plane. The problem is that we never thought it would happen actually,” Don Trigo said.
Trigo’s antics with the ball made news headlines all over Paraguay, and the story of him news of him shooting down a plane with a ball soon became an illustrious tale. The General Genes club has ceased to exist, but everyone still remembers Roberto Gabriel Trigo, the footballer who shot down a plane.