MANUEL SEOANE: KILOS DE GLORIA

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En los últimos años se ha despertado un debate en el fútbol argentino sobre el valor que tiene la época del amateurismo. Más allá de posturas y talentos, no se puede negar que aquellas décadas han dado a historias y personajes símbolos de nuestro deporte. Uno de ellos fue Manuel Seoane, el máximo goleador de la Era Amateur.

Algunas fuentes indican que nació en Avellaneda, pero en una entrevista a la Revista Imparcial, Seoane dijo que nació en Rosario. En 1920 su nombre comenzó a hacerse conocido, ya que debutó jugando para Independiente. Sin embargo, aquel no era el sueño de su vida. Seoane prefería al cine y hubiese deseado ser actor. Ya entrado en la adolescencia, descubrió que tenía una gran gambeta, y su futuro casi que se vio determinado por aquellas condiciones innatas. En el famoso ritual del «pan y queso», «La Chancha» era uno de los últimos en ser elegidos, producto de sus 82 kilos en apenas 170 centímetros de altura.

Manuel Seoane

Manuel Seoane

La Revista El Gráfico lo definió como “potente, guapo y pícaro”. Por su parte, el reconocido Renato Cesarini no tuvo pudor al definirlo como: «el más grande de todos los tiempos, hábil y fuerte, una barbaridad”. Como si fuera poco, en el libro «Sobre Héroes y Tumbas» del gran escritor Ernesto Sábato, hay un fragemento que refiere al jugador: «el negro Seoane personificaba la clásica picardía criolla puesta al servicio del noble deporte. Era un cra’ inteligente y atrevido, la pesadilla de los arqueros en su tiempo».

Además de goleador, Seoane fue uno de los primeros líricos: caños, tacos y rabonas también formaban parte de su extenso repertorio. Lo cierto es que Independiente gritó campeón por primera vez en 1922, y «La Chancha» fue el goleador del equipo. Al año siguiente, AFA lo suspendió por ocho meses tras protagonizar una gresca, y se fue a desparramar su magia a El Porvenir.

En 1924, Boca lo fue a buscar para llevarlo a su famosa gira por Europa. A Seoane, que ya pesaba más de 82 kilos, lo creyeron parte del cuerpo técnico en lugar de futbolista, ya que su físico en poco se parecía al de un deportista promedio. Aun así, fue el máximo goleador en aquel viaje del Xeneize. Al regresar, volvió a jugar para Independiente y gritó campeón en 1926. Seoane fue el símbolo de una delantera que se ganó el apodo de «Los Diablos Rojos». A su lado estaban Raimundo Orsi, Zoilo Canavero, Alberto Lalín y Luis Ravaschino.

Con la Selección Argentina, sus números también son positivos: marcó 16 goles en 21 partidos. Su cuenta pendiente fue el no poder viajar a los Juegos Olímpicos de 1928 y al Mundial de 1930, ya que los dirigentes se negaron a ayudar económicamente a su familia mientras él no estaba, por lo que decidió quedarse a seguir trabajando en al país. No obstante, pudo ganar 3 Campeonatos Sudamericanos: 1925 -goleador con 6 tantos-, 1927 y 1929. Seoane es el máximo goleador del amateurismo, con 207 conquistas en 217 partidos, sin incluir sus números en El Porvenir.

Cuando el profesionalismo llegó, a «La Chancha» le quedaban sus últimos trucos: jugó tres temporadas y convirtió 34 goles en 56 encuentros. En 1934 llegaría su retiro de las canchas profesionales. «No me retiro porque estoy viejo ni mucho menos, sino porque el exceso de carnes me decreta una jubilación obligatoria», soltó con el humor que lo caracterizaba. El 22 de Agosto se le realizó un partido homenaje en el que se recolectó dinero para comprarle una nueva casa. Bien merecido lo tenía. En la cancha ya había hecho demasiado. Era la hora de cederle el puesto a quien le arrebataría el logro de máximo goleador de Independiente: Arsenio Erico. Es que si jugaban los dos, a los relatores no les alcanzaría la garganta para gritar tantos goles.

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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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