DOS VECES CAMPEÓN DEL MUNDO

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Muy pocos jugadores en la historia del fútbol argentino pueden jactarse de haberse coronado Campeones del Mundo, tanto a nivel Clubes como a nivel Selecciones. Si bien es indiscutible que Ricardo Bochini es el ídolo más grande de Independiente de Avellaneda, resulta imposible evocar su apellido sin el complemento que viene detrás completando el verso, devolviéndole las paredes, siguiéndole el juego: Daniel Bertoni, el espejo prístino que necesitó el “Bocha” para convertirse en mito, que demostró su valor individual cuando brilló con luz propia con la albiceleste, convirtiendo unos de los goles más festejados de punta a punta de la República Argentina.

Apenas habían transcurrido 16 años de su nacimiento cuando el joven Daniel ya jugaba en Primera para Quilmes, desparramando rivales en la B Nacional, y ganando unos míseros mangos que no le hacían justicia al talento incipiente e insoslayable que evidenciaba. Naturalmente, pasaron pocos partidos antes de que un gigante posara sus ojos sobre su magnífico potencial. En 1973, el Club Atlético Independiente de Avellaneda se quedó con el pase de Bertoni casi sin oposición y, sin saberlo ni la institución ni el jugador, pusieron la firma que desataría a la brevedad la etapa de gloria más pronunciada de cualquier club del continente. El «Rojo», no conforme con ya haber sido campeón de América, seguía buscando con obstinación la fórmula para dar el golpe a nivel mundial.

El club de Avellaneda ya había empezado a forjar la mística que le ganaría el mote de “Rey de Copas” pocos años después, y en 1972 sumó su tercera Libertadores, ya con un tal Bochini empezando a sumar sus primeros partidos en Primera División. Sin haber cumplido ninguno de los dos los 20 años, el “Bocha” y Bertoni se reconocieron inmediatamente como dos caras de una misma moneda que fue fundamental para sacarse la gran espina: luego de 3 finales Intercontinentales seguidas con derrotas, la cuarta sería la vencida. En un solo partido y de visitante contra la Juventus, Bochini desarmó la defensa rival a fuerza de paredes y dribbles concatenados con Bertoni. Fue una jugada magnífica que le dio a Independiente la tan ansiada Copa Intercontinental.  Y aquel dúo fue la muestra pura de una sociedad en su máxima expresión, que se las arreglaría para conseguir las Libertadores 74 y 75, y las Interamericanas 73, 74 y 76.

No obstante, sería injusto circunscribir las abundantes cualidades de Bertoni a su habilidad para combinarse con Bochini. A partir de 1978, el nacido en Bahía Blanca demostró que tenía suficientes atributos como para marcar diferencias por sí solo: potencia, gran remate con ambas piernas y una notable capacidad goleadora. Esta confirmación llegó ni más ni menos que en la Copa del Mundo llevada a cabo en Argentina, en la que no sólo fue una pieza clave en la maquinaria ofensiva ideada por el “Flaco” Menotti, sino que anotó un gol trascendental: el último del torneo, el que selló el triunfo por 3-1 de la Selección local en la Final contra Holanda, que amenazaba con empatar el marcador y estirar la incertidumbre. Gracias a la fama obtenida en el Mundial, Bertoni fue parte del primer grupo de jugadores argentinos que empezó a emigrar sostenidamente a Europa. En su caso fue el Sevilla de España que desembolsó una cifra millonaria e inusitada para la época con el afán de hacerse de sus servicios. Sin grandes títulos pero sí con notables actuaciones y gratos recuerdos, el temible delantero dejó su marca también en Fiorentina, Napoli y Udinese, y se retiró de la actividad profesional en 1988, tras 17 fructíferos y asombrosos años de carrera.

Como técnico ocupó el banco en el club de sus amores, Independiente, en 2004, pero la crisis futbolística y económica de una institución muy distinta a la que lo vio vestir su camiseta 30 años antes, no ayudó a su desempeño y lo privó del tiempo necesario para llevar adelante su proyecto. Con 4 goles en 11 partidos jugados entre los Mundiales de 1978 y 1982, Bertoni consiguió pasar del corazón de todos los hinchas de Independiente, al corazón de todos los argentinos. Su juego esplendoroso fue su arma principal, claro, pero su conducta intachable, su entrega innegociable y su sonrisa inolvidable son la cuña que lo define como un hombre tan admirado como querido.

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Comunicador social antisocial. Inconformista crónico. Profesor de Periodismo Deportivo. Fundamentalista de Messi.

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