GRANDOLI, LA CUNA FUTBOLERA DE MESSI

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Lionel Messi comenzó su leyenda junto a sus hermanos en el Club Deportivo Grandoli. Hoy celebra todos sus goles recordando a su abuela Celia, quien fue clave en sus inicios.

Los FONAVI (Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda) se crearon en 1970 para contrarrestar el déficit habitacional otorgando viviendas a sectores de menor poder adquisitivo. Así surgieron los famosos monoblocks: complejos o edificios con casas y departamentos. En la actualidad, Fuerte Apache -donde se crió Carlos Tévez, Comandante Luis Piedrabuena, Lugano y Grándoli son los FONAVI más grandes de Argentina. Este último, el Grandoli, está ubicado al sur de la ciudad de Rosario. A apenas unas diez cuadras del corazón del barrio, se encuentra ubicada la casa que vio nacer a Lionel Messi. Por ende, el astro argentino frecuentó desde niño aquel lugar, con el principal objetivo de divertirse jugando a la pelota. Salvador Aparicio se desesperaba ante la ausencia de uno de sus dirigidos cuando faltaban apenas unos minutos para que inicie el partido. Allí entro en escena Doña Celia Olivera, abuela de Lionel, para pedirle que ponga a su nieto en reemplazo del ausente. En principio, el entrenador se negó, pero ante la insistencia, terminó por aceptar. «Va a jugar, pero se lo pongo cerca de la raya, así cuando llora lo saca usted solita». Claro, Messi tenía apenas cuatro años, por lo que el entrenador dudaba de si estaba preparado para enfrentarse a nenes más grandes. El primer pase que recibió, no lo pudo detener. La pelota se escurrió debajo de su pie derecho. No obstante, el nene de cuatro años tomó confianza y demostró su calidad. Así, en el Club Deportivo Grandoli y junto a sus hermanos, Messi comenzó con su leyenda. El resto es conocido: el mejor jugador del mundo celebra todos sus goles señalando al cielo para recordar a Celia, la mujer que lo ayudó a dar su primer gran paso.

«Era tan diferente al resto que se notaban sus condiciones, aún siendo tan chico. Para su edad, era muy raro encontrar un chico con tanta habilidad, aunque a veces se excedía y pasaba a cuatro o cinco jugadores», contó un viejo dirigente del club. Por las calles de Grandoli el rumor era de que el nuevo Maradona jugaba allí, en las humildes canchas de aquel barrio. Diana Ferreti, maestra en la escuela de Messi por aquel entonces, ha sido varias veces consultada sobre la infancha del pequeño genio: «Era un niño bastante callado. No le gustaba demasiado estudiar, pero con la pelota en el patio era incansable. Todos lo querían en su equipo».

En Grandoli las cosas ya no son iguales. Las noticias dejaron de ser sobre el crecimiento del barrio o las andanzas del nuevo Messi. Ahora son policiales, inseguridad, carencias. Por eso cuando el director y guionista Alex del Llano visitó la zona para grabar escenas de la película «Messi» (2014), fue como volver al pasado y recobrar un poco de aquella frescura. Además, el papel del astro fue protagonizado por un niño que deslumbra por su parecido físicio y también con sus habilidades: Valentino Acuña, la gran promesa de las inferiores de Newell’s. Por su parte, Lionel nunca olvida sus inicios y mantiene contacto con gente del Club Grandoli. El presidente de la institución, David Trevez, declaró en 2015 para El Confidencial: “Si tenemos un problema, lo ponemos en conocimiento de Jorge, su papá, y de inmediato nos dan una mano. Leo siempre nos hace llegar su afecto y cariño».

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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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