ENZO FRANCESCOLI: GRANDE ENTRE LOS GRANDES

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«Es muy chiquito, muy flaquito. Que venga el año que viene» fue la respuesta que recibió el joven Enzo Francescoli luego de probarse en River de Montevideo. Sólo tenía 15 años. Tiempo después, lo llevaron al club Wanderers, donde lo habían visto jugar en un partido amistoso, y lo ficharon inmediatamente. Así empezó la carrera de este exquisito jugador, que supo mostrar su clase en varios clubes del mundo.

Nació un 12 de noviembre de 1961 en el barrio de Capurro, en Montevideo, la capital de la República Oriental del Uruguay. A los 6 años ya jugaba al baby en el Club Cadys Real Junior, a un par de cuadras de su casa. También lo hizo en el equipo del colegio. Los que lo recuerdan, dicen que ya le pegaba muy bien a la pelota.

Enzo debutó en la primera de Wanderers en 1980, ante Defensor Sporting, como visitante por el Torneo Colombes. El encuentro finalizó con victoria 5 a 0. Así empezó la historia de un grande del fútbol. Al poco tiempo ya era tapa de los diarios: las noticias decían que River Plate lo estaba observando para comprarlo, y que el Milan de Italia también estaba tras sus pasos. Finalmente, el 21 de abril de 1983, el Millonario concretó la compra de Enzo Francescoli, a cambio de 310 mil dólares libres.

En su primer paso por el club de Núñez, Enzo tuvo de todo: desde la difícil adaptación a un club grande, pasando por técnicos que no lo tenían muy en cuenta, hasta la consagración total. Entre 1983 y 1986, obtuvo un campeonato de Primera División, y en dos de ellos fue el máximo goleador del certamen. Ese muchacho de aspecto melancólico, un tanto solitario y andar cansino, pasó a ser El Príncipe, apodo que le fue dado por el relator y compatriota Victor Hugo Morales. En poco tiempo, Francescoli provocó que la hinchada millonaria sacudiera el Monumental al ritmo de: «Vení, vení, cantá conmigo / que un amigo vas a encontrar / que de la mano / del Uruguayo / todos la vuelta vamos a dar». En 1983, fue parte del plantel de la selección de su país, con la que conquistó la Copa América.

Su buen paso por River y la Selección de Uruguay, le abrió las puertas de Europa. Cuando Enzo supo que su venta estaba cerrada, expresó: “Acuérdense de una cosa: Yo termino mi carrera en River, acuérdense de lo que digo esta noche«. Su primer equipo en la aventura europea fue el Racing de París, que abonó 4 millones de dólares por sus servicios. Luego siguió el Olympique de Marsella. Ya en tierras italianas, defendió los colores del Cagliari y el Torino. En sus ocho años en el viejo continente, disputó 266 encuentros y convirtió 65 goles.

EL REGRESO DE FRANCESCOLI Y UN GRITO MONUMENTAL: «U-RU-GUAYO, U-RU-GUAYO»

Francescoli besa la Copa Libertadores.

Con 33 años y una vasta experiencia como equipaje, cumplió su palabra y el 30 de agosto de 1994, firmó su nuevo vínculo con el club de sus amores, River Plate. Su reestreno se produjo una semana después, cuando enfrentó a Nacional de Montevideo, por la primera fase de la Supercopa. En esta segunda etapa, Enzo jugó 121 partidos y logró 67 tantos. Consiguió la tan ansiada Libertadores en 1996, y la Supercopa Sudamericana al año siguiente, además de cuatro títulos nacionales. Se retiró de la práctica profesional en 1998.

Más allá de su incuestionable trayectoria como futbolista, siempre destacó su caballerosidad. Fuera del rectángulo de juego, recogía el mismo respeto por su respetuosa y humilde forma de ser. Se pueden mencionar cientos de anécdotas que lo reflejan a Enzo, pero hay una que lo pinta de cuerpo entero. Hernán Crespo contó: «Yo entré a un restaurante y lo vi en una mesa comiendo con Paco Casal. Pasé cerca de él, pero no me animé a saludarlo. Me senté y dos minutos después sentí que me tocaban el hombro. Era Enzo: ‘Hola Hernán, mucho gusto. Yo soy Francescoli. Te felicito por los goles que estás metiendo y ojalá que podamos ser compañeros. A pesar de la diferencia de edad, creo que podemos ser buenos amigos’. No lo podía creer».

A sus 55, Francescoli es Mánager Deportivo en River Plate, y ha contribuído a que Marcelo Gallardo con muchos logros. Pero El Enzo será siempre recordado por lo que mostró adentro de la cancha. Dueño de una pegada formidable que lo llevó a ser el séptimo goleador histórico de River Plate. Una categoría diferente. Cabeza levantada, pelota al pie y el pase siempre exacto.

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About Author

56 años, escritor. El fútbol y el rugby, mis pasiones. San Lorenzo de Almagro un sentimiento. Escribir sobre fútbol y sus protagonistas, un oficio que intento aprender día a día.

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