Santiago Munez is now an unofficial part of footballing folklore across the world. It all started when the movie Goal! The Dream Begins was released in 2005. The movie followed Santiago Munez, a young Mexican football player looking to defy the odds and make it to the big leagues. Newcastle United was the club featured in the movie, in what went on to become an iconic trilogy in football, back in 2009. However, it turns out that not only did the 'Goal' trilogy inspire football fans across the globe, it also helped Newcastle in the transfer market. Here's how.
Isaac Hayden, a defensive midfielder currently playing under Steve Bruce at St. James' Park earlier revealed that the first instalment of the 'Goal' franchise was one of his favourite movies growing up. "I loved it. I was a mad keen football fan, I watched it all the time, and of course, St James' Park featured heavily in it.", Isaac Hayden told the Northern Echo in 2016.
In addition to Isaac Hayden, Jonas Gutierrez, who spent six years on Tyneside and Algerian striker Islam Slimani, who spent a season on loan with Newcastle in 2018 also admitted to being inspired by the movie in their teens. Chelsea's Kenedy is also reported to have watched the movie before signing on loan for Newcastle in 2018.
It is clear that Santiago Munez's exploits aided Newcastle United to snap up some important players over the decade. Kenedy and Isaac Hayden were both parts of Rafael Benitez's side when he saved them from relegation in the 2018-19 season. This season, a parallel can be drawn between the careers of Santiago Munez and Miguel Almiron.
Miguel Almiron made his way to Tyneside in January last year. A South American talent making his way to Newcastle United forms the crux of the story of the first part of the 'Goal' series. In fact, Newcastle United fans also compared the arrival of Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United when he made the switch from Atlanta United back in January 2018.
The movie Goal is happening!— Capital North East (@CapNorthEast) February 1, 2019
Santiago Muñez from Goal is South American 🇵🇾
Miguel Almirón, Newcastle's new Signing, is South American 🇵🇾
Muñez worked in a Chinese restaurant 🍚
Almirón worked in a Chinese restaurant 🍚
Muñez moved to NUFC ⚫️⚪️
Almirón moved from to NUFC ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/dv663GJ8ph
Miguel Almirón has now scored as many goals for Newcastle in 2020 as he managed in the whole of 2019 (1).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 4, 2020
New Year, New Miggy. 👏 pic.twitter.com/2Kvd08fUb9
While he may not have quite recreated Santiago Munez's goalscoring exploits at St. James' Park since his move, he did break his goal drought for Newcastle United in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in December. Interestingly, at the turn of the decade, Miguel Almiron once again ended up on the scoresheet in Newcastle's FA Cup tie against Rochdale.