LA CARRERA DE BILARDO COMO JUGADOR

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«El Narigón» es otra de las personas que pasó a la historia como entrenador debido a la obtención del Mundial de México 1986. Pero el Bilardo jugador también tuvo una carrera interesante, e incluso ganó más títulos que como director técnico.

Bilardo jugador: joven, con la camiseta del club al que siguió de niño.

En Agosto de 1958 cumplió su sueño: estaba debutando en el primer equipo de San Lorenzo de Almagro, el club al que acompañó desde pequeño. Su padre era hincha del Cuervo; con su hijo y los amigos del barrio iba a los encuentros siempre que podía. Bilardo recordó en Larevistadelciclon al Viejo Gasómetro: «Era el mejor lugar que había para ver fútbol. Ahí, por ejemplo, también se jugaba la Copa América, porque era la mejor iluminación que había en el país. Y los tablones le daban algo especial. Fui muchos años a esa cancha». Por eso a los 12 años, el joven Carlos se probó con suerte en las divisiones inferiores del Ciclón. Ingresó en Novena División y pasó por todas las categorías hasta el esperado debut. Ante Atlanta y por la Copa Suecia, las cosas salieron mejor de lo esperado: triunfo con 2-1 con doblete incluido.

Bilardo jugador: en Deportivo Español encarriló su carrera.Bilardo era una especie de wing derecho, veloz y de mucha entrega. Dos meses más tarde debutó de forma oficial en el Campeonato de 1958. Otra vez se anotó en el marcador. No obstante, fue derrota del Ciclón ante el que sería luego parte vital en la vida de Bilardo: Estudiantes de La Plata. En 1959, San Lorenzo gritó campeón y el «Narigón» alternó en varios partidos.  Luego, debió quedar marginado por la llegada de Oscar «Coco» Rossi, quien jugaba en la misma posición pero era mucho más dotado técnicamente. Por eso en 1961 accedió a la posibilidad de emigrar al Deportivo Español en busca de jugar más minutos.

Con «Los Gallegos» se asentó definitivamente como titular y mejoró mucho sus cifras goleadoras. A los 26 años, con cinco temporadas y 111 partidos en Español, tuvo que optar entre dos ofertas: Estudiantes de La Plata y Argentinos Juniors. Paradoja: luego ambos clubes representarían paradigmas muy diferentes del fútbol argentino. La elección de Bilardo fue curiosa y tuvo que ver con su naciente profesión de médico: «Pensaba jugar un año y con esa plata poner el consultorio en el barrio. Los dos clubes iban últimos en la tabla. Entonces pensé: ‘si juego en Argentinos y se va al descenso se me va toda la clientela; y me fui a La Plata». En la ciudad de las diagonales le cambiaría la vida para siempre.

La ciudad que le cambió la vida

Bilardo jugador: en Estudiantes se volvió emblema, ídolo y referente.En 1965 llegó a Estudiantes para ocupar el sector derecho del ataque. El tridente, entonces, fue: Bilardo-Conigliaro-Verón. Su debut fue el 18 de abril de 1965, pero el equipo de Osvaldo Zubeldía cayó por 0-2 ante Rosario Central. Aún así, el Pincha ese año logró un aceptable 5° lugar: el año anterior había sido 14° de 16. Comenzaba una era inolvidable para Estudiantes, que en 1966 repitió una buena campaña y al año siguiente logró lo que parecía imposible: fue campeón cortando con la hegemonía de los cinco grandes del fútbol argentino.

El año del título, Bilardo retrasó su posición. La falta de gol comenzaba a perseguirlo y hasta llegaba a ser cuestionado. Pasó al mediocampo, junto a Raúl Madero y Eduardo Flores. En el tridente lo reemplazó Felipe Ribaudo, proveniente de Ferro. Los logros siguientes son más conocidos: tres Copas Libertadores, una Interamericana y la gloriosa Copa Intercontinental conquistada en Old Trafford ante el Manchester United. Demasiado éxito para una carrera que tomó el rumbo correcto priorizando el supuesto beneficio para su profesión de médico. Pero además, en su paso por La Plata Bilardo se afianzó como un discípulo de Zubeldía, y luego llevaría todas sus ideas a la práctica con una formidable carrera como director técnico.

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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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