ALGO HABRÁ HECHO

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José María Minella. Es el nombre del conocido Estadio ubicado en la Ciudad de Mar del Plata. Pero bien, ¿Quién fue Minella? Te contamos la historia de un gran jugador, brillante entrenador, pero sobre todo, una muy buena persona.

Se inició en Independiente de Mar del Plata. Era el mejor de su equipo, y no tardó en llegar a las grandes ligas. En 1929 se sumó a Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata. Jugaba como delantero, y a sus 21 años, fue importante para que el «Lobo» se quede con el campeonato amateur de aquel año. Luego, en una gira por el mundo en la que los platenses disputaron 27 partidos, el marplatense anotó 11 tantos. Quiso el destino que en una ocasión, lo elijan para reemplazar al volante central ausente. Minella le agarró el gustito a la mitad de la cancha y nunca más la volvió a soltar. Desde su claridad conceptual, el «Expreso» se hizo famoso por ser perjudicado en el torneo de 1933. Contra San Lorenzo, los jugadores triperos decidieron sentarse en el campo de juego para repudiar los constantes fallos arbitrales en su contra.«Estaba todo muy bien y muy lindo hasta que el referí Rojo Miró, nos cobró un gol en contra cuando Herrera atajó arriba, con los pies detrás de la línea, pero con las manos fuera del arco. Con ese regalo, San Lorenzo se puso 2 a 1 y no aguantamos más. Nos sentamos en la cancha, negándonos a seguir jugando. San Lorenzo siguió metiendo goles ante un equipo que no se defendía, y cuando ya íbamos 7 a 1 en contra, el referí detuvo el juego».

En 1935, River lo compró por 55 millones de pesos. Su personalidad encajó perfecto en el césped de El Monumental: ganador y de buen pie. Capitaneó al equipo en los títulos de 1936 y 1937, con figuras como Adolfo Pederna y José Manuel Moreno. Se mantuvo como el volante central del equipo hasta 1941, cuando Renato Cesarini le dio forma a la famosa «máquina». Juvenal, ex periodista de El Gráfico, lo describía: “Era centrohalf, número cinco como le decimos hoy. Eje y motor de su cuadro, señorial, dueño de un excelente manejo (inicialmente había sido delantero con apetito para el gol), se lo respetaba tanto en su club y en todos lados que lo llamaban Don Pepe. Además de ser extraordinario jugador, nació para ser capitán y ganador, por su personalidad, su ascendiente natural sobre los compañeros y su caballerosidad…”.

En 1942 emigró a Peñarol, y luego se retiró en el fútbol de Chile. Pero como decía Juvenal, su figura era respetada en todos lados. Y por sus condiciones, no extrañó que en 1947 se haga cargo de la conducción técnica de River. Las fuentes de aquella época lo retratan como un entrenador tranquilo y de pocas indicaciones. Su sello característico era el de observar los partidos sentado en una pelota, al costado del campo de juego. Arengaba a sus dirigidos cuando alguno pasaba cerca de su posición. Su éxito se basaba en darle libertades al plantel. “Nunca me gustó improvisar –aseguró una vez-, River tenía un planteo de juego y que ese planteo era bueno, lo prueba la cantidad de triunfos y campeonatos que logramos. ¿Por qué iba a cambiarlo? Que cambiaran los otros, si querían ganarnos».

Sus principíos, extraídos de la Revista El Gráfico:

1) Tener siempre la posesión de la pelota. 2) La desmarcación es una necesidad permanente. 3) La habilidad individual debe aplicarse al toque y a la gambeta. Si puedo, elijo el toque. 4) Entre un pase largo y dudoso, me quedo con tres pases cortos. 5) La defensa se hace con once y el ataque también. 6) Toda táctica es buena o mala según los jugadores que se tengan. 7) Con mayoría de buenos jugadores, cualquier plan táctico se hace más fácil. 8) Los planes defensivos no son difíciles de imaginar, por eso como técnico les doy preferencia a los planes ofensivos, cuya esencia es la creación del fútbol. 9) Un principio fundamental de un ataque es empezarlo por afuera y terminarlo por dentro y 10) Contar con buenos punteros sigue siendo una necesidad imprescindible.

En el Millonario permaneció durante 13 años, y obtuvo 6 títulos de Primera División, 1 Copa Ibarguen y 1 Copa Aldao. Tras tantos años en el banco de suplentes, su idolatría aumentó todavía más. En 1960 dirigió Newell’s, también pasó por América de Cali y retornó a River para intentar cortar la racha de 5 años sin titulos -luego serían 18- pero se quedó en las puertas: subcampeón de Independiente. En 1964 llegó a la Selección Argentina: obtuvo, con la valla invicta, la Copa de las Naciones disputada en Brasil. También consiguió la clasificación al Mundial de Inglaterra 1966, pero los directivos de AFA se inclinaron por Juan Carlos Lorenzo para disputar el certamen. Vale destacar que con la Albiceleste, en sus épocas de jugador había levantado las Copas América de 1937 y 1941. El periodista marplatense Mario Trucco tomó la iniciativa para que el Estadio Mundialista de su ciudad lleve el nombre de José María Minella, en el cual hace las veces de local el Club Atlético Aldosivi. Minella resonará en el ámbito futbolero cada vez que el ‘Tiburón’ haga las veces de local, pero vaya que vale la pena preguntarse qué hizo ese señor para que dicho Estadio lleve su nombre.

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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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