On Tuesday night, the Copa del Rey quarterfinal involving the other club from Barcelona and a team that most definitely is not Real Madrid nearly made the bitterness of El Clasico and the actual cup irrelevant. CD Mirandes of the Segunda Division B, Group 2 -- a club that has a budget of less than €1 million and plays in a stadium with a capacity of 6,000 -- beat Espanyol 2-1 in front of its small but overjoyed home crowd to advance on a 4-4 aggregate score.
The man who scored Mirandes' first goal of the second leg and set up the injury-time winner was 31-year-old captain Pablo Infante, who is the top scorer in the competition with seven goals -- three more than the next best. And when he's not scoring buckets of goals to lead his team into the unexpected glory rounds of the Copa del Rey, he's doing something far more mundane than you would probably guess.
Infante leads another life; he's a bank clerk by day. The wily midfielder commutes some 30 miles to get to his job in Quincoces de Yuso working at Caja Círculo bank. After the victory at El Sardinero he was up for work the next day at 7am — he travelled in his car too, that has 90,000+ miles on the clock. This sort of details, you just couldn't make up.
More details you can't make up: Infante has a degree in business administration from the University of Burgos -- the province where he has played his entire footballing career. He has also turned down offers from bigger clubs to keep his job at the bank branch and vowed to even reject first division sides to continue helping the club where he's grown over the last seven years.
He also says stuff like this:
"You have to stay happy in life, I feel happy in this job" Infante said in the lead up to the game, as the TV crews descended upon his bank.
In short, Pablo Infante is a heart-warming character who happens to be fantastically real. Whenever the eye-poking, diving and general, never-ending cynicism of Real Madrid vs. Barcelona gets to be too much, just think of him.