Uruguayan midfielder Cristian Rodriguez, of Atletico Madrid, rode about 60 kilometers on Friday on horseback to fulfill a promise he made during the World Cup qualifiers: if Uruguay qualified to Brazil-2014 he would ride a horse to thank Saint Cono.
"At four in the morning we left Progreso," a city of the department of Canelones (south), Rodriguez told the local news, which followed him on part of his route.
A little over 60 kilometers separates Progreso from the city of Florida (south-central Uruguay), where a chapel pays homage to the popular Italian saint.
"It's a promise I made for the World Cup qualifiers and if it is a promise you have to fulfill it," said the player, who is on vacation in Uruguay and who did not hesitate to defy the heat wave sweeping the country, with temperatures around 35° Celsius. He began the expedition with about 20 other riders.
Horseback riding is one of the great passions of the player, who admitted however, that his club asked him not to.
"I have been forbidden to ride horses, but it is a promise and promises are to be kept," said the midfielder.
It is not the first time that Rodriguez has thanked Saint Cono for his football achievements: in 2003, when he was local champion with Peñarol, he made the journey on foot.
Uruguay made it to the playoffs for a spot in the WC. They became the last team to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil where they dream of repeating the feat in 1950 when Uruguay was champion in the final against the hosts silencing the world and the Maracana.
After being dropped at the last minute of the squad that took fourth place in the 2010 World Cup, Rodriguez took an active part in team, who dreams of a good performance in Brazil.