UN CACHO DE LA PLATA

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El 2 de Febrero de 1944 nació en la Ciudad de La Plata un jugador que ganó la Copa Libertadores en tres oportunidades. Además, fue el capitán de su equipo en dichas conquistas. Se trata de Oscar Malbernat, símbolo de Estudiantes de La Plata.

Cuando el 19 de Enero de 1965 Osvaldo Zubeldía dirigió su primera práctica en el club “Pincharrata”, el único de los juveniles era Malbernat. “Cacho” –así lo apodan- realizó todas las divisiones inferiores en la institución. Jugaba de defensor central, hasta que el revolucionario entrenador lo situó como lateral izquierdo a pesar de que su pierna hábil era la derecha. Según el periodista Osvaldo Wehbe, se trataba del único integrante de la defensa con “cara de bueno”. El resto de sus compañeros en la última línea tenían un aspecto más rudo: Eduardo Manera, Aguirre Suárez, Henry Barale o el propio Raúl Madero. No obstante, quien terminó haciéndose con la cinta de capitán en las gestas más importantes en la historia de Estudiantes, fue Malbernat, con su rostro más simpático y toda una adolescencia en el club.

Cuando Zubeldía arribó a La Plata, “Cacho” ya había debutado en Primera División el año anterior, el 23 de Agosto de 1964, en el triunfo 1-0 ante Argentinos Juniors. Por aquel entonces, el único de los que estaría cuatro años más tarde en Old Trafford sería Raúl Madero. Malbernat se había ganado la oportunidad a los 20 años, luego de destacar con la Tercera División dirigida por Don Miguel Ignomoriello, un adelantado a su época que implementaba sistemas de trabajos novedosos tanto dentro como fuera de la cancha. Aquel equipo sería recordado como “La Tercera que mata” por su subcampeonato y posterior vuelta olímpica. Juan Ramón Verón, Alberto Poletti, Eduardo Flores y Carlos Pachamé eran otro de los integrantes de aquel equipo juvenil. También ellos serían fundamentales para los logros venideros. Antes de llegar a aquellos méritos, Malbernat trabajaba en un hipódromo. Gracias a una beca económica del club logró dedicarse de lleno al fútbol.

Resultado de imagen para la tercera que mata

Carlos Bilardo y Marcos Conigliaro serían dos de las caras nuevas para afrontar el año. Estudiantes venía de situarse en los últimos puestos. No bajó a la segunda categoría sólo porque en 1964 no hubo descensos. Con la llegada de Zubeldía, el trabajo se duplicó y los resultados estuvieron a la vista: 5° puesto en 1965. Malbernat ya era una realidad y no una promesa de 20 años. «Osvaldo era una persona muy simple, no era muy complicado pero era obsesionado por el trabajo», recuerda “Cacho” sobre uno de los entrenadores más emblemáticos del fútbol argentino.

Resultado de imagen para oscar malbernat

El Metropolitano de 1967 fue el primer título de aquel Estudiantes, que rompió con la hegemonía de River, Boca, Independiente, San Lorenzo y Racing, los únicos dueños de las alegrías hasta ese entonces. Justamente ante la “Academia” fue que los de La Plata gritaron campeón. No obstante, los de Avellaneda ganarían aquel año la Copa Libertadores y la mismísima Intercontinental ante el Celtic. Con un equipo en su mayoría de la casa y capitaneado por Malbernat, Estudiantes fue subcampeón de Independiente en el Nacional 1967 y de San Lorenzo en el Metropolitano 1968. Aquel equipo de Zubeldía ya era cosa seria. Ese año fue el de la primera gran gesta internacional: la Libertadores de 1968 quedó en La Plata luego de que los Pincharratas dejaran en el camino a Racing –el campeón defensor- y en la final a tres partidos vencieran a Palmeiras. Malbernat, aquel chico de inferiores en el club y con cara de bueno, levantaba la Copa. Recuerda el capitán: “Les caíamos simpáticos a todos. Éramos el típico equipo chico que llegaba a Uruguay a jugar una final con un grande como Palmeiras, que tenía a jugadores que formaban parte de la selección brasilera de aquellos años”. Pero todavía faltaba lo mejor.

En Old Trafford y ante el mismísimo Manchester United, Estudiantes logró empatar 1-1 gracias a un cabezazo de Juan Ramón Verón. En el partido de Ida jugado en La Bombonera, el “Pincha” había triunfado 1-0 gracias a un gol de Marcos Conigliaro, por lo que la Copa Intercontinental una vez más se iba para Argentina, aunque era una verdadera sorpresa que sea para las vitrinas de La Plata y no a las de los grandes equipos de Capital Federal. Ante el poderoso United dirigido por Matt Busby y con figuras como Bobby Charlton, George Best y Denis Law, Malbernat debió hacer las veces de lateral derecho por una lesión de Eduardo Manera. Aquella final en Inglaterra también es recordada por el apodo de la prensa y los hinchas británicos a los jugadores de Estudiantes: “¡Animals!”. Era el comienzo de un ataque al estilo de juego que pregonaban los de Osvaldo Zubeldía. Según Malbernat, la clave de aquellas críticas se basaba en la presión asfixiante del equipo. Los de La Plata eran incansables y no dejaban jugar al rival. El debate sobre “anti-fútbol” aún está más que latente en Argentina. “Todos jugaban cómodos y vino Estudiantes e incomodó a todos, menos al hincha. No éramos anti-fútbol, éramos un grupo incómodo».

Resultado de imagen para oscar malbernat

Estudiantes de La Plata logró ganar tres Copas Libertadores de forma consecutiva (1968-1969-1970), y una Copa Interamericana (1969) además de los ya mencionados títulos en el Campeonato de Primera División 1967 e Intercontinental 1968. Oscar Malbernat, lateral izquierdo de buena marca y proyección, fue el capitán hasta que en 1972 emigró a Boca Juniors. En total fueron 10 años en el club de La Plata y 10 finales jugadas, de las cuales seis terminaron en triunfo. Su paso por La Bombonera no fue muy alentador: apenas jugó 17 partidos oficiales antes de pasar a Racing Club, club ante el que supo lograr grandes victorias. Allí, en la institución de Avellaneda, Oscar Malbernat se retiró del fútbol debido a repetidas lesiones. Apenas tenía 30 años, pero le fueron más que suficientes para conquistar América y el Mundo con la camiseta que amó desde que era chico. El sueño de cualquier apasionado por el fútbol.

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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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