GUSTAVO COSTAS: EN LAS BUENAS Y EN LAS MALAS

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Llegó a Avellaneda con la ilusión de pasar la prueba y cumplir el sueño de jugar en la mitad de la cancha de su amado Racing Club. No imaginaba que sería un histórico defensor central de la institución, y más aún: el jugador con más presencias en la historia del club.

Alguna vez Alfio Basile devolvió a Gustavo Costas a la mitad de la cancha, argumentando que tenía buena técnica. Aún así, «la cueva» terminó siendo el lugar de la cancha en el que se afianzó para siempre. Tiempista y líder por naturaleza, debutó en Primera División en el año 1982. Al poco tiempo sufrió una rotura de tendón rotuliano que lo alejó de la cancha mucho tiempo. Creyó que nunca volvería a jugar al fútbol, pero salió adelante después de costearse los gastos de operación con Fernández Schnoor, médico de Independiente.

Por esa lesión, vio desde la tribuna cómo su amado Racing descendía a Primera B hacia fines de 1983. Volvió ya en la nueva categoría, con el torneo avanzado, pero «La Academia» no pudo cumplir el objetivo de recuperar la plaza en Primera. En 1985 la suerte comenzó a cambiar. En la final del octogonal ante Atlanta que definía el segundo ascenso, Gustavo Costas capitaneó ambos encuentros disputados en El Monumental. El primero fue triunfo 4-0; el segundo, 1-1. De la mano de Basile, Racing volvió a la máxima categoría.

Después del ascenso, Racing y Central -el otro ascendido- debieron esperar seis meses para volver a competir de forma oficial. Para no quedarse sin sueldo por la crisis económica del club, los jugadores decidieron salir a realizar giras hacia el interior del país. Viajes, estadías y formas de cobro resultaron precarias. En Pergamino, ante Douglas Haig, Costas y los suyos decidieron no salir a jugar el entretiempo ante reiterados retrasos en los pagos. Luego, lo recaudado se dividía entre todos. Más tarde, todo el plantel de Racing pasó a representar a Argentino de Mendoza, que jugaba en la Liga Regional y aspiraba a ganarse un lugar en la nueva B Nacional. De lunes a jueves, el plantel se entrenaba en Buenos Aires bajo las órdenes del entrenador original, Rogelio Domínguez. El fin de semana viajaban a Mendoza.  «Fue durísimo: los rivales nos cagaban a patadas, nos puteaban, nos trataban de mercenarios, los árbitros también. Nos decían que le sacábamos el trabajo a la gente de ahí. Una vez nos dejaron como a 200 metros del estadio, nos hicieron un pasillito y nos iban quemando con cigarrillos cuando pasábamos. Los primeros partidos fuimos todos, después empezaron a acusar lesiones y terminamos yendo 2 o 3. Un desastre». A pesar de algunos nombres de jerarquía, Argentino no cumplió el objetivo y acabó en el 5° lugar.

Resultado de imagen para gustavo costas racing

Tras el ascenso, fue Rosario Central quien dio el batacazo y se coronó campeón del Campeonato 1986/87. Por su parte, Racing realizó una buena campaña: terminó en 5° lugar. Para el torneo siguiente mejoró la ubicación: 3° puesto y el título volvió a irse para Rosario, pero quien festejó fue Newell’s. Las actuaciones de la Academia podían anticipar una buena actuación en el nuevo trofeo continental creado por CONMEBOL, la Supercopa Sudamericana, que reunía a los 13 campeones de la Copa Libertadores hasta ese momento. Costas había visto a su ídolo Roberto Perfumo conquistar América y el mundo en 1967; ahora que era capitán podía entrar en la historia con un título internacional después de 21 años. Y lo logró: Racing venció a Santos y por guiño del sorteo accedió a semifinales, donde se batió ante River. Fue 2-1 en el Cilindro con doblete de Walter Fernández y 1-1 en El Monumental gracias al tanto de Néstor Fabbri, su compañero de zaga. En la final ante Cruzeiro se repitieron los resultados, por lo que en Belo Horizonte, el defensor que sentado en la tribuna vio con impotencia descender al club de sus amores, tuvo revancha y levantó un trofeo continental.

Ya en 1989 emigró a Suiza para jugar en el Locarno, aunque su vida no dejaría de estar ligada a Racing. El regreso del ídolo se efectuó en 1992. Costas jugó cuatro años más en la Academia pero por problemas con la dirigencia no pudo cumplir su deseo de retirarse en el club: lo hizo para Gimnasia de Jujuy. No obstante, el vínculo no quedó ahí: en tiempos difíciles post-quiebra y en pleno gerenciamiento, se hizo cargo de la conducción técnica. Fue él quien hizo debutar en Primera al luego ídolo absoluto Diego Milito. Su último paso fue en 2007, pero los resultados y la relación con el referente de Blanquiceleste S.A, Fernando de Tomasso, motivaron una corta estadía. Sus logros como entrenador han sido en varios países del exterior: Alianza Lima, Cerro Porteño, Barcelona SC y el más reciente, en Colombia con Independiente Santa Fe. Es imposible saber si su camino y el de Racing volverán a cruzarse, pero algo es imposible de negar: Gustavo Costas es un ídolo que estuvo en los momentos más difíciles de la historia académica, y el fútbol ha sabido reconocérselo con diversos logros.

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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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