The Jewish 'Gooooooaaaaaal' commentator whose parents fled the Holocaust

Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory, and Andrés Cantor led the emotional celebrations


Some are famous for their performance on the field, and others are known for bringing those performances to life. At the World Cup Final, Lionel Messi delivered an iconic performance, and a Jewish commentator delivered iconic commentary.

Andrés Cantor, an Argentinian-American Jewish sports commentator has gone viral a number of times for his masterful delivery of the word "goooaaaaal" during football matches, with superstar Messi giving him the ultimate opportunity to scream the word out like never before.

But who is Andrés Cantor, and how did the Argentinian-born son of European Holocaust survivors end up as the voice of World Cup glory?

Cantor was born in December 1962 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His mother, Alicia, was born in Romania, and moved to Argentina at the age of 13, and his father, David, was born in Argentina. His father's parents were Polish and fled the country during the Nazi occupation in the Second World War.

After spending his early years in Argentina, Cantor moved with his family to Southern California, near Los Angeles, where he attended San Marino High School and the nearby University of Southern California.

Speaking to Tablet magazine in 2013, Cantor recalled how he listened to sport on the radio when he was young in Argentina, and said that the broadcasters were not afraid to let loose: "That’s the way I grew up listening to goals. It was nothing new.”

His father, David, a gastroenterologist, was originally disappointed that none of his children wanted to follow his pursuit of medicine, but his mother, Alicia, encouraged him to let their children pursue their passions, and for Andrés, that was sports writing and broadcasting.

The family's move to California in the mid-1970s was not easy on young Andrés, who felt that his connection to his favourite team (Boca Juniors), and football, had been severed: "I lost the love of my life, which was being around football.”

Through his university years and beyond, Cantor wrote for a number of publications, including Argentina's sports bible, El Gráfico. In the 1980s, he followed Maradona around the world, from World Cups to Italy's national league. And as he was growing his portfolio, football started to emerge from a fringe sport in the US to something more mainstream.

In early 1987, he was asked to audition for Spanish-language network Univision and commentated on a match between the Argentinian team Rosario Central and Mexican team Chivas: “And luckily I got hired right after that.”

But Cantor's breakthrough into mainstream consciousness came when he was working for Univision at the 1994 World Cup when his signature "goooaaaaal" shouts brought a new level of excitement to the commentary.

He told Tablet: “We make it a little more lively than English-language broadcasts, which are a little more subdued. But it’s just a matter of style. One isn’t better than the other.”

His place as star commentator was cemented with the first of two appearances on the iconic 'Late Show With David Letterman' that summer: “As I said back then, and obviously still to this day, it’s nothing that I invented. I just helped popularise it.”

And popularise it, he very much did, with clips of his commentary going viral around the world. None more so than yesterday as he shed tears of joy when calling the moment his country of birth won its first World Cup since 1986 - the third time the South American country has taken the trophy.

The emotional moment has now been seen and heard by millions around the world. Lionel Messi scored the goals, and Andrés Cantor brought the sheer, unadulterated joy that only football can deliver.

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