His name is Luis Rodriguez, but the country knows him as Insónias. Born in England, he came to Portugal at the age of five and is still known today as “The Englishman” among friends. He is 43 years old, holds a degree in business communications, is married and has two children.
He’s been making the Portuguese laugh out loud for eight years with his montage. So he became an internet phenomenon that changed his life. He quit his TV post-production job and now dedicates himself exclusively to memes.
Interestingly enough, in his post-production job, where he worked for 14 years, he learned to work with Adobe image processing software. His co-production company colleagues were patient with his education and the practice led to perfection.
He has collaborated with many newspapers and magazines, has been part of the Ricardo Araújo Pereira team for several years and has a huge number of fans: about 73 thousand followers on Twitter, 267 thousand on Facebook and 285 thousand on Instagram.
Despite this, he likes to keep his privacy and does not appear often in interviews. Misfotibol contacted him in February, and explained that he would be giving an interview that week. Call asked a month later, which turned into three months.
How did your passion for football begin?
It started really late. It started exactly on June 12, 2000. Not many people remember the day they started loving football.
real real. But why that day?
Because on that day the Euro 2000 tournament was held between Portugal and England. My brother and my friends really liked football, they watched all the Benfica and Seleção matches, but I didn’t care. That afternoon, I watched the match with friends and knew it was worth it in the end. From then on, I started watching, watched the whole competition and started to get a feel for football.
The Portugal-England match was amazing, great…
Of course it was amazing. It was a nice way to start, no doubt.
How old were you at the time?
He must have attained the age of 21 years.
So, he saw Portugal-England and thought: maybe my brother and his friends are right…?
Yes, I remember thinking, “Hey, that’s hot.” And it was exciting, wasn’t it? I absolutely remember McManaman scoring the second goal and then there was a moment Alan Shearer looked at him with that ‘we won’ look, which sparked national pride and then it was Figo, Joao Pinto and Nuno Gomez. By the way, €2000 was so great, we almost made it to the end. We went to France and Abel Xavier.
There he suffered his first major disappointment with football…
Yes Yes Yes. But since I am a Benfica fan, many others have followed me.
Was this also where you became a Benfica fan?
No, he was already a Benfica fan, but only because he was. My brother was a Benfica fan, and so was I. But I didn’t really like football and therefore, I have no idea ‘I’ve always liked Benfica since I was young’. No, I started liking him from a specific date: June 12, 2000. From that day on, and from that time between Portugal and England, I started watching football.
From there you started following all about football?
Yes Yes. But I’ve always had a very special affection for the national team. There are a lot of people who don’t care, who especially love the clubs, but I really love the national team. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t have that thing for being a partial fan, and so passionate about the club.
Even because he plays with all the clubs the same way and if he has to be mischievous with Benfica, he is also…
Yes, I ended up playing a little bit with everyone. I’m probably more critical of me, because there are those moments when you feel good and are touched by it.
Have you ever had trouble with fans because of your memes?
Any thing. At least nothing bothers me. Apparently I got and received some messages more or less… but nothing doesn’t go away when I hang up the phone. I even think I should get paid more for what I do.
But before that, for example, did you like playing football at school?
No, nothing, nothing. I never played ball, I loved to play the computer and read. But after Euro 2000 I started playing, which is curious. From this EU I really started to enjoy watching and playing football. Before that, he was not an athlete at all. I have that exact date and from there I started playing. I stopped during the pandemic, like everyone else, but in the meantime, I started again.
For someone who started playing at the age of 21, wasn’t it just a problem at first?
Of course, obviously [risos]. I’m still a little, but now a lot less. For those who started playing football at the age of 20, imagine… But I played a lot, and I played two or three times a week, so I evolved. Now I play once a week.
Did you say that when you were a kid you loved reading and playing computer above all, and played soccer games?
not zero. I didn’t like football games at all. But then the Euro 2000 tournament, I started playing too. What is funny. Now I play a lot. PES, FIFA, those games.
What kind of skilled are you now?
I’m cool witty. I’m not one to get watermelon or heartburn. I’m not one of those things. I prefer Benfica and Portugal winning, but I don’t lose sleep or anything like that. I love watching, but I always associate football with socializing. Guys get together to watch matches and stuff, and I like to watch and, if possible, watch them all. But I don’t stop going somewhere because there’s going to be a game, and I don’t. On the weekends I also watch a small part of the Premier League, but the aquarium type TV shows more games than sitting on the sofa watching them.
By the way, your Insónias em Carvão project didn’t start with football, did it?
No, no, I started with illustrations, circa 2013. That had nothing to do with what it is now. The illustrations were what? I have made drawings over the pictures. And you sold a lot of work. For people with children, pregnant women, children. Teddy bears and objects are drawn over the pictures.
And how did it evolve from there to humor?
This bit of mockery and montage, I was actually doing at the time, but it was for making fun of friends and things like that. There was even someone who said to me: “Ebba, you need to put these things on your page.” Then I started sharing it on social media. I started with politics, until one day I did a montage with football and from there the project flourished. Football is another world. And I love football too. I find it very entertaining.
In other words, did you realize in football that the impact was huge?
With politics it really felt like a bit, but with football it was so much more than that. And what I did at times was combine the two: montages in which football seemed to be mixed with politics and had some success.
You should have already made a few thousand uploads like that…
Yes, yes, it’s in the thousands already. I do an average of one montage a day, Insónias is already eight years old, so that’s already in the thousands, yeah.
And is there anyone who still thinks: “That was brutal…”?
I have a lot of affection for the national team at Euro 2016. On top of that we won, so everything was great. That montage of mustachioed players, in which I added Portuguese, even in Fernando Santos, with bottles of wine and cod. I really like this. It was a good time.
There is one I have to share and it is always my reference, and it is the one who finished it…
Yes, yes, yes, from Nhaga.
In which he made a magician in Africa dancing.
Yes, yes, with a small TV showing Brian Ruiz’s lost goal. Ebba, I didn’t even remember this, look [risos].
Do you plan to continue doing this for how long?
As long as you are able. It’s basically my life now, I live on. I quit the job 2 years ago and all that, and now I dedicate myself only to this, so I hope I can keep doing this for a long time.
“Coffee with…” Misfotibol sits at the table with prominent figures of our society, names that have no obvious connection to sports, other than passion. Music, literature, cinema or politics are intertwined in the four lines of free and relaxed conversations.