Al aceptar el buzo de entrenador, Maradona debió bajarse de la estatua. Correr el riesgo. Poner su idolatría en discusión. Así lo cuenta Santiago Tuñez.

Un mediodía de junio, allá por 1986, el futbolista se hizo mito. Puso sus manos sobre la Copa del Mundo, miró al cielo del Distrito Federal y se hizo un espacio entre los personajes argentinos pintados de leyendas. Ahí convivió un largo tiempo. Infló su silueta en otras batallas futboleras y ni siquiera los deslices en los controles antidoping le quitaron su lugar.

Hasta que, una tarde de noviembre de 2008, decidió arriesgar y, otra vez, se hizo mortal. En Glasgow, donde había convertido su primer gol en celeste y blanco, Diego Armando Maradona le dijo sí al desafío y pisó el césped como DT de la Selección Argentina. Fue un día como hoy, hace siete años. El principio de una misión sobre la tierra. Una misión terrenal. “Yo pasé del infierno al paraíso. Todo se puede en la vida, muchachos. ¿Cómo no van a poder ustedes?” En esas palabras, Maradona abrió su ciclo en el equipo argentino. Buscó mostrarse como un líder que había superado años de autodestrucción y tratamientos contra las adicciones. Un nombre que había resucitado pese a los peores pronósticos. Era el golpe anímico ideal para un plantel que transitaba sin rumbo en las Eliminatorias al Mundial de Sudáfrica.

“A llorar a la Iglesia”, había afirmado Alfio Basile, días antes, tras la derrota contra Chile. Y su lamento terminó en renuncia. Entonces, Maradona atendió el llamado de Julio Grondona, acordó con sus hijos Humberto y Julito, y desembarcó en el seleccionado. Volvía a su casa. Tenía la oportunidad tan fantaseada en sus sueños. De entrada, nomás, lanzó una de sus frases célebres. “Mi equipo va a ser Mascherano más diez”, sentenció en uno de sus primeros mensajes. “Puede contagiar mucho de lo que brinda en la cancha”, argumentó ante los micrófonos. Y el Jefe, entonces, tomó la cinta de capitán dejada por Javier Zanetti. Se trató de uno de los movimientos fuertes de Maradona. Y de a poco, diseñó su andamiaje sobre el césped. Así, sus primeros 11 en cancha fueron Carrizo; Zanetti, Demichelis, Heinze, Papa; Maximiliano Rodríguez, Mascherano, Gago, Jonás Gutiérrez; Lavezzi y Tevez. Faltaba Messi, por un acuerdo entre la AFA y Barcelona, tras su presencia en los Juegos de Beijing. Ese fue el equipo con que se estrenó Maradona.

Durante el amistoso ante Escocia, se vio un equipo de viaje vertiginoso y transiciones cortas. Los acordes de rock and roll sonaron de mitad de cancha hacia el ataque. El gol de Maxi Rodríguez, a los siete minutos del primer tiempo, hizo la diferencia y le dio el triunfo a la Selección. Clink caja en el primer juego de Maradona como DT. Después, llegó el tiempo de abrazar a cada jugador en el vestuario. “El clic que quería lograr, lo logré. Era superar el miedo a perder que se instala cuando venís de una racha negativa. A mí no me importaba ganar hoy, sino que los jugadores dieran todo en la cancha, dieran todo lo por la camiseta”, dijo luego del partido. Estaba satisfecho. Su charla previa, enfocada en la vena emocional, había dado resultado.

Era el fin de su primera misión terrenal sobre la tierra. Después, llegarían éxitos y turbulencias en su ciclo como DT. El conflicto con Juan Román Riquelme, la zambullida por el gol de Martin Palermo a Perú, la dedicatoria a la prensa por la clasificación a Sudáfrica, las convocatorias interminables hasta definir el plantel mundialista, los cuatro triunfos en fila en la Copa del Mundo y la despedida con goleada ante Alemania.

Escrito por: Santiago Tuñez


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