DAVID VENCIÓ A GOLIAT

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Hace 17 años el mundo presenció la derrota de uno de los equipos más ricos de la historia. Real Madrid, con todas sus estrellas, sucumbió ante Boca Juniors en la Copa Intercontinental. Allí, el Xeneize comenzó la época más exitosa de su historia.

El encuentro no iba a ser un trámite para los merengues, pero el Real Madrid era el gran favorito. En España se hablaba de cuántos goles le haría el conjunto blanco al Boca dirigido por Carlos Bianchi, que venía de consagrarse en la Copa Libertadores 2000. El Xeneize tenía una idea forjada y la prácticaba con éxito cada fin de semana en el fútbol local. Contaba con individualidades en altos niveles, como Juan Román Riquelme y el goleador, Martin Palermo. Sin embargo, en frente estaba el Real Madrid y no un equipo argentino.
El equipo dirigido por Vicente del Bosque aún no tenía a muchos de los galácticos, pero contaba en con nombres como Roberto Carlos, Makelele, Hierro,Luís Figo, Gutiy Raúl. Por ese gran plantel, los rendimientos y los logros recientes, la confianza madrileña llegó por los cielos de cara a la gran final.

Palermo y uno de los goles más importantes en su carrera.

El 28 de Noviembre del 2000, ante 60.000 espectadores, comenzó un partido que quedará marcado a fuego tanto como para victoriosos como para derrotados. Tras el pitazo inicial del árbitro Oscar Ruiz, se esperaba que Boca cediera la iniciativa y esperara en su campo, pero ni el más optimista de los miles de xeneizes que arribaron a Japón podía esperar que a los cinco minutos, el marcador estaría dos goles a favor. Es que de arranque, el equipo de Bianchi avisó que se iba a animar a disputar la tenencia de la pelota. Hubo una posesión larga duración con algunas primeras pisadas y cambios de frente de Riquelme. Y tras un pase largo de Matellán, el «Chelo» Delgado durmió a toda la defensa con una gran diagonal y Palermo fue al área a buscar el centro y empujar a la red. Era el 1-0 para delirio azul y oro.
El Real Madrid apenas amagó a reaccionar, adelantar sus líneas y generar un tiro de esquina. Enseguida, entre Serna y Basualdo recuperaron cerca del área propia y se la dieron a Riquelme. Román tenía la jugada en la cabeza. Controló orientando la pelota hacia adelante, levantó la cabeza para que Palermo empezara a correr. El diez envió un pase largo por demás preciso, y el nueve, lejos de ser un gran velocista, le ganó la carrera a Geremi y definió con un zurdazo cruzado al palo izquierdo de Iker Casillas. 2-0 en cinco minutos. Nadie lo podía creer.
El partido ni se había armado. No habían comenzado a estudiarse, pero los dos goles tenían una explicación. La precisión de Riquelme, la velocidad de Delgado y la eficacia de Palermo, que tocó dos pelotas y ambas fueron gol. Y por el lado del Madrid, el costado derecho de su defensa: un Geremi que nunca encajó en la elite, y los 32 años del capitán Fernando Hierro que lo hacían vulnerable en velocidad. Pero al conjunto blanco le tocaron el orgullo y fue enojado en busca de revertir la situación. Para eso eligió la izquierda de su ataque, y principalmente, a Roberto Carlos en el mejor momento de su carrera. El lateral brasileño jugaba casi de wing antes de los diez minutos. Primero se metió en el área y de derecha reventó el travesaño. Luego, la mató de pecho y con un zurdazo superó a Oscar Córdoba para poner el 2-1. El sueño parecía terminarse: había que aguantar 80 minutos al Real Madrid enojado y con estrellas que asustaban.
No obstante, Boca aguantó. Aquel equipo tenía una guapeza fenomenal, y soportó cada embestida. En la solidez de Bermudez, Traverso, Matellán, Serna, Battaglia, Basualdo, y sobre todo, en los pies de Juan Román Riquelme, que deslumbró al mundo entero y volvió loco a todo el mediocampo del Madrid, especialmente a Makelele.

Una y otra vez, Riquelme escondió la pelota debajo de su suela.

Ruiz dio por finalizado el partido y Boca se consagró campeón de la Intercontinental, dejando perplejos a los miles de fanáticos del Real Madrid que se acercaron al Estadio Nacional de Tokio para ver a su equipo sumar una estrella más. «Estamos muy dolidos por la derrota», dijo Vicente Del Bosque en los micrófonos. El entrenador no fue el único en mostrar su impotencia. Luis Figo expresó: «Después de venir desde tan lejos y perder, se te queda cara de tonto». Por su parte, Raúl descomprimió: «El Madrid fue superior, pero Boca marcó muy rápido».
Desde el otro lado todo era emoción, alegría, risas y festejos. Mientras en Argentina las calles se llenaban de autos envueltos en banderas azul y oro, Carlos Bianchi declaraba: «El comienzo fue demasiado perfecto como para desaprovecharlo». Palermo se mostraba feliz por sus dos goles y Riquelme, con la humildad que lo caracterizaba, soltó: «Todos han hecho un gran partido. Yo sólo he aportado mi parte». Años más tarde, Román emigró a España para jugar en el Barcelona.
El hincha de Boca tendrá para contarle a sus hijos y a sus nietos, que alguna vez el fútbol triunfó por sobre el poderío de los nombres en un plantel. Orgullosos y quizás con lágrimas en los ojos, dirán que su equipo conquistó el mundo derrotando al mismísimo Real Madrid. Y por qué no, también recitará de memoria a los once gladiadores que hicieron posible la hazaña: Córdoba; Ibarra, Bermúdez, Traveso, Matellán; Battaglia, Serna, Basualdo; Riquelme; Delgado y Palermo.
Sebastian Abib Neman
 
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