Atardecer de domingo, 12 de diciembre de 2004. El 1 a 1 contra Arsenal le pone stop al impulso de Vélez. Ya no quedará cara a cara con Newell’s en un desempate para definir al ganador del Torneo AperturaEl equipo dirigido por Tolo Gallego se lleva el título, pese a la derrota contra Independiente, y la temperatura llega a su punto de hervor en Liniers. Un grupo de hinchas quiere agredir a los jugadores en el playón del estadio. Culpan a Gastón Sessa por error en el gol visitante y otros nombres del plantel por la decepción final. El ruido por los balazos de goma y los efectos de los gases lacrimógenos quedan alojados en el archivo del presidente Raúl Gámez. Son un recuerdo ingrato. Y seis meses más tarde, los compagina en una edición memoriosa. Justa. “A este equipo casi lo para la propia gente de Vélez cuando se puso hostil”, dice en medio de los fuegos artificiales por la corona en el Clausura 2005. El análisis evita la demagogia futbolera. Es real, certero y demoledor en cada palabra.

Amanecer de lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014. La foto en celeste y blanco domina la tapa de los diarios y los suplementos deportivos. Atrae las miradas en los afiches de las calles. Racing grita campeón. Después de 13 años, festeja el título del torneo Transición. Y el día después, sin las luces de la pirotecnia sagrada, Diego Cocca podría pedirle derechos de autor a Gámez y asegurar que a esta versión de la Academia también “casi la para su propia gente”. De hecho, la derrota contra Independiente 2 a 1, a principios de septiembre, despertó el hábito autodestructivo de Racing. “Prefiero a que te vayas que pelear el torneo. Chau, Cocca”, se leyó en una bandera colgada en el Cilindro tras perder con el Rojo. Era el contraataque al entrenador, que había sostenido que prefería “perder el clásico, pero pelear el torneo hasta el final”. “$aja $$, cansaste”, fue otro mensaje de un grupo de hinchas, al que se sumó “Jugadores y cuerpo técnico, los clásicos se ganan”.

Las banderas contra Saja y Cocca, después de la derrota contra Independiente.

Como en los primeros metros del torneo, cuando Racing encadenó tres triunfos y sólo una derrota en cuatro partidos, Cocca mantuvo el pulso y, sobre todo, resistió las turbulencias por las caídas con Independiente y Lanús. El temporal en La Bombonera, con suspensión incluida cuando su equipo perdía 1 a 0, tampoco le inundó las ideas. Y allí, en medio de los relámpagos, tomó una decisión vital: le dio pista a Gustavo Bou y sumó poder ofensivo. En los 34 minutos restantes contra los xeneizes, el delantero pagó en efectivo con dos goles y, de ahí en más, fue contundente en la red. Tanto, que volvió a festejar por duplicado ante Belgrano y Estudiantes, y gritó de uno ante Newell’s, Banfield, Quilmes y Vélez. Sus diez gritos lo llevaron a ser el máximo goleador de Racing en el torneo. Y fue un nombre titular en una base a la que Cocca le movió pocas piezas.

Al igual que Cocca, Saja se plantó firme y cortó los centros de las críticas. Quería salir campeón. No se ilusionaba con ser convocado a la Selección, tampoco con el regreso al fútbol europeo. Y al fin, se dio el gusto de lograr un título con la Academia. Lo hizo con un papel protagónico, en especial en la definición del campeonato. La película indica que la Academia ganó sus últimos seis partidos al hilo para vivir coronado de gloria. Y en estos cruces, el uno clausuró el arco. No recibió goles. En el triunfo contra Quilmes, le tapó un penal clave a Sebastián Martínez. Y en Rosario, tuvo sus dedos de acero hasta queGastón Díaz abrió el arco y Diego Milito dejó en claro -otra vez- su calidad en el cara a cara. Festeja Saja, también Cocca y otros jugadores. Nada pudo frenar su impulso. Ni siquiera el desencuentro con sus hinchas en un momento del torneo. Resistió todo. Aprovechó el despiste de River. Y por la mezcla de atrevimiento y oportunismo, grita campeón.

Santiago Tuñez

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El fútbol de otra manera.

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