Soccer star saddles up for a holy ride

Uruguayan Cristian Rodriguez is known to fans as “Cebolla,” or “Onion,” because he makes the other team cry. But it might be Rodriguez who sheds a tear or two over a sore backside this week.

Top: Cristian Rodriguez Facebook

The midfielder promised Saint Cono that if his team qualified to play in the 2014 World Cup, he’d ride a horse from Brazil to the Saint Cono shrine in Uruguay.

Uruguay was the last team to qualify for the World Cup, so at 4 a.m. last Friday, The Onion saddled up for a 170-mile ride.

rodriguez horse 2


“A promise is a promise,” to told Football Espana.

Riding is one of the star’s great passions, according to Unfortunately, his team’s not thrilled with the idea of a key player riding off into the sunrise on the back of half-ton beast in a World Cup year.

“I have been forbidden to ride horses,” Rodriguez told “But it is a promise and promises are to be kept.”

(Apparently, he hadn’t promised his team he’d stay out of the saddle.)

The soccer player isn’t a bad rider, judging from footage from the local news, though he might sit up a bit straighter. Though after mostly trotting for 100 miles, I might be slouching too. Along with about 20 friends, Rodriguez rode in 95-degree weather to deliver  a team jersey and a pacifier from his newborn daughter to a chapel devoted to Saint Cono in Florida, Uruguay.

It’s not the first time Cono’s come through for The Onion. In gratitude for his soccer achievements, he completed the same journey on foot in 2003. Apparently saddle sores are more appealing than foot blisters.

The onion looks far more comfortable on this field...

The Onion looks far more comfortable in the stadium…


...than in the saddle.

…than in the saddle.


 Watch The Onion trot on:


Go Riding.

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