EL ÍDOLO OLVIDADO

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“A mí no me gusta el ruido alrededor mío. No sé reaccionar y me pongo como triste, ensimismado. Es que no me parece justa tanta admiración. Bueno, algo justa sí, pero pienso que es excesivo. Al final, no soy otra cosa que un jugador de fútbol. Si a mí me hacen esto, ¿qué habría que hacer con los Premio Nobel de Medicina?”. El responsable de aquellas palabras es Mario Kempes. Uno de los mejores jugadores nacidos en suelo argentino, pero indudablemente, algo olvidado por muchos futboleros.

“El Matador” fue la pieza fundamental para la obtención del Mundial 1978, el primero para Argentina; el tan esperado luego de tantos cachetazos. Quizás el motivo del poco reconocimiento se debe a que aquella Copa del Mundo, se sabe, terminó beneficiando a una Junta Militar deplorable por donde se la mire. Kempes, al igual que gran parte de aquella Selección, sufrió el olvido y la mirada de reojo. Porque en el inconsciente colectivo vive y vivirá la ilusión de que aquel logro no fue legítimo, sino influenciado por el gobierno de aquel entonces. Pero eso es incomprobable. Lo que sí podemos comprobar es que Mario Kempes fue la figura y el goleador de aquel certamen.

Hablamos de un jugador portentoso, alto, flaco. Potente por donde se lo mire, pero repleto de otras virtudes: habilidad, destreza, energía, coraje, técnica, concepto. Todo eso en un contexto en el que, como siempre, los argentinos sabíamos que éramos capaces de ser los mejores, pero no sabíamos cómo demostrarlo. No se caía una idea. Fracasábamos en el intento, mundial tras mundial. Hasta que César Luis Menotti preparó un equipo que podía equiparar el ritmo físico que proponían los europeos. El entrenador trabajó día y noche, buscó jugadores por todo el país, convenció al plantel de una idea de juego, y también los preparó mentalmente para afrontar y responder de manera óptima ante tanta presión. Menotti hizo mucho, pero siempre supo que la joya de aquel equipo, el distinto, el desequilibrante, era Mario Kempes.

Un joven nacido en Córdoba que apareció las primeras veces vistiendo la camiseta de Instituto. Ahí, dando sus primeros pasos mientras conseguía el título de perito mercantil, «el Matador” llamó la atención de Rosario Central. Y fue un canalla. Un canalla atrevido, desvergonzado adentro de la cancha y avergonzado afuera. Casi no hablaba. No le gustaba. Pero en silencio metió 101 goles en 123 partidos y fue dos veces máximo goleador de la temporada. Como no podía ser de otra manera, llamó la atención de los europeos. Más precisamente, Valencia fue su nuevo club. El equipo español vio el más alto nivel del atacante argentino que llegaba al gol con facilidad, siendo un mediapunta elegante y potente. De los de antes. De esos que agarraban la pelota con hambre y sin temor, y encaraban, gambetaban. Kempes es uno de los máximos símbolos del fútbol argentino porque revalorizó conceptos que desde un principio diferenciaron nuestro juego criollo al de los ingleses. Y allá lejos, en España, aquel cordobés tocó el cielo con las manos.

Pero antes de ganar Copa del Rey, Recopa de Europa y Supercopa de Europa con el cuadro valenciano, «el Matador” debió entrar en la historia. Asumir el compromiso de ser el mejor jugador de un gran equipo. Jugar un Mundial con la camiseta de la Selección Argentina, y en tierra argenta, con todo lo que eso significaba en aquel entonces. Aquel flaco al que no le gustaba el ruido, aturdió adentro de la cancha con talento y personalidad. Marcó 6 goles en el Mundial, 2 de ellos en la finalísima ante Holanda, para que de una vez por toda, rompamos la malaria y nos sintiéramos los mejores, pero con argumentos sólidos.

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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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