It was supposed to be a friendly soccer match christening a newly renovated stadium in La Paz, Bolivia. But Evo Morales, the country's president, had plans of his own. Morales, a combative leader and lifelong soccer fan, led the green team, which represented the Movement Toward Socialism party, while Luis Revilla, mayor of La Paz, led the yellow team, representing the Movement Without Fear opposition party. After a player slid into the president and scraped up his leg, an infuriated Morales kneed the man in the groin. The move instantly sent the player to the ground, wincing and clenching his nether regions. (Moment of contact begins at 0:35 mark):
If that weren't bad enough, one of Morales's bodyguards attempted to arrest the battered player after the game, according to the newspaper La Razón. Morales said he never ordered the arrest but justified his actions on the field: "I passed the ball and suddenly I received a hammering. It's not the first time it happened."
CNN called it "the type of move that only a head of state could get away with" while Bettor's Michael Anderson took the president down a notch:
If the President cannot control his temper while playing a game of football, he should really not be playing. He should be very well aware of the fact that football is a physical game and fouls do occur. Is kicking someone in the groin really the answer? Hopefully, the President does not take the same hard handed approach to his politics. We might be lucky to see a calmer and more civilised leader of Bolivia at the next match he plays.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.