BÚFALO DE AMÉRICA

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«Siempre fue grandote. Cuando nació pesaba casi 5 kilos», recuerda Doña Marta, madre de Juan Gilberto Funes, el futbolista que brilló en el fútbol de Argentina y Colombia. Su carrera terminó a los 27 años, y dos años más tarde, en 1991, perdió la vida producto de una endocarditis protésica.

«No puede jugar más al fútbol. Si usted lo hace, puede morirse en una cancha». El diagnóstico médico truncó su llegada a Boca Juniors. Ya había hecho lo mismo con el Niza francés. Su último equipo era Vélez Sarsfield, en el que convirtió 12 goles en 25 encuentros. A Funes le alcanzó con 10 años de carrera para entrar en la historia: el Estadio Provincial de San Luis lleva su nombre.

En Millonarios de Colombia lo amaban, por convertir goles de todos colores: el «Búfalo» era derecho, pero se cansó de convertir con la zurda. Infló la red como buen centrodelantero, algunas veces pescando rebotes y otras de cabeza. Pero lo que lo destacaba era su corpulencia y potencia fisica. Cuando encaraba hacia el arco lanzado en velocidad, daba la sensación de que nada ni nadie lo podría detener. Estuvo dos años en Colombia, y anotó 45 goles. Su siguiente destino estuvo otra vez en Argentina, pero ya no para jugar en Huracán y Sportivo Estudiantes de San Luis (su ciudad natal), Sarmiento de Junín, Jorge Newbery o Gimnasia y Esgrima de Mendoza. Esta vez, lo buscaba el mismísimo River Plate.

Resultado de imagen para bufalo funes river

Oscar Ruggeri lo tuvo de compañero en el club de Nuñez, y lo recuerda como alguien alegre y muy buena persona. No es el único, claro. Su familia y otros compañeros siempre recuerdan al delantero como alguien humilde y simpático. Por eso no extrañó que caiga bien en el hincha de River. «El Búfalo» llegó al club para disputar las semifinales de la Copa Libertadores 1986, y fue aquel certamen el de su consagración: en las finales ante América de Cali, convirtió dos tantos, uno en Colombia para el triunfo 2-1, y otro en El Monumental, para que los de Nuñez levanten por primera vez el trofeo más importante de América. “Si encontraba una escalera, me trepaba para abrazar a cada uno de los que gritaba.

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1994. Si no rueda una pelota me siento incompleto. Cuando sea grande diré que vi jugar a Messi. Disfruto de leer y escribir.

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