“LOS CABALLEROS DE LA ANGUSTIA”: LA MÁQUINA DE RIVER

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¿Cuántas veces escuchamos a nuestros abuelos protestar porque en la actualidad los equipos ya no salen de memoria? ¿Cuántas veces los escuchamos recitar, como si no les hubieran pasado las décadas, los 5 nombres de jugadores de integraban delanteras históricas, casi mitológicas? Combinaciones prácticamente musicales de apellidos ilustres que sentaron las bases para el Fútbol de hoy, en una época en la que primaba el lirismo y la vocación ofensiva.  De entre todos aquellos conjuntos que regaron los primeros pasos del profesionalismo en nuestro país, se alza esplendoroso un quinteto que desplegó un andamiaje sin precedentes en estas tierras: Muñoz, Moreno, Pedernera, Labruna y Loustau, integrantes de La Máquina, fueron los máximos exponentes de un concepto futbolístico que dejó sin aliento a todas las hinchadas, dominó las canchas argentinas durante 10 años e inclusive sirvió de influencia para la sorprendente Naranja Mecánica

Si bien estos 5 apellidos no se juntaron dentro del rectángulo de juego hasta 1941, la génesis de La Máquina tuvo lugar mucho tiempo antes. El primer ideólogo de la cultura y la idiosincrasia fue Carlos Peucelle. “Barullo” arribó a River en 1931 (fue por su compra y la de Bernabé Ferreyra que, al año siguiente, la escuadra de Núñez recibió el apodo de “Millonarios”), y en esa época empezó a dibujar el antecedente de la movilidad y el toque corto que caracterizaría a su club especialmente en la década del ´40. Además, su influencia en los destinos de “La banda” se sintió en las divisiones inferiores, que empezaron a seguir la misma identidad y, más adelante, a convertirse en fruto valioso del equipo titular. El primer encuentro en que el recitado del recuerdo se encontró sobre el césped fue el 21 de Septiembre de 1941: aquella tarde en Avellaneda, el DT Renato Cesarini cedió finalmente a voluntad popular, y ubicó a Adolfo Pedernera como 9 acompañado de Juan Carlos Muñoz, José Manuel Moreno, Ángel Labruna y Aristóbulo Deambrossi –quien fue reemplazado en el 2do tiempo por Félix Loustau-. Con esa alineación, River superó 4-0 a Independiente y terminó consagrándose campeón del Torneo Local.
El liderazgo y pase gol de Pedernera, la polifuncionalidad del “Charro” Moreno (para muchos, el mejor futbolista argentino hasta Maradona), el poder goleador de Labruna (segundo máximo artillero en la historia de los torneos locales, con sólo 1 festejo menos que los 293 de Arsenio Erico), la descarada habilidad de Muñoz, el desborde y centro atrás de Loustau… el potencial ofensivo de La Máquina anulaba con facilidad a todos sus rivales, hasta el punto de que muy a menudo pasaban la mayor parte de los encuentros entreteniendo a la multitud, sabiéndose superiores, venciendo a la defensa adversaria para tocar atrás y volver a empezar, y sólo definían el marcador cerca del final. Esta actitud, que sacaba de las casillas a muchos de sus fanáticos y encendía el nerviosismo en las plateas riverplatenses, llevó a la prensa bautizarlos como “Caballeros de la angustia”. Sin embargo, estos 5 hombres, que apenas jugaron juntos 18 partidos, fueron únicamente los responsables de la expresión más pura, perfecta y letal de un dinámico planteo que incluyó a lo largo de los diversos campeonatos a otros cracks como Alberto Gallo, Antonio Báez, Roberto Coll, José María Minella, Omar Sívori, Alfredo Distéfano, Eliseo Prado o Santiago Vernazza.
El apodo de La Máquina fue acuñado el 7 de Junio de 1942 por el periodista de El GráficoRicardo Lorenzo Borocotó, quien tituló luego de la aplastante victoria de River por 6-2 ante Chacarita: “Como una máquina jugó el puntero”. Aquella formación también se alzó con la Copa Escobar ´41, Copa Dr. Ibarguren ´41 y ´42, Copa Aldao ´41 y ´45, y torneos locales de Primera División ´42 y ´45. En 1947, con la brillante delantera ya casi disuelta, River se consagró campeón nuevamente del torneo local, contando con las destacadas actuaciones del arquero Amadeo Carrizo y el goleador del torneo, con 27 anotaciones, Di Stéfano. De esta manera se cerró uno de los ciclos más exitosos en la historia de River Plate, y se agotaron los últimos arrebatos de un modelo que, además de Copas y Campeonatos, consiguió llenar de algarabía y optimismo las orgullosas gradas de uno de los clubes más grandes de Argentina, ganándose así un lugar privilegiado entre las páginas más gloriosas del Fútbol local.
Predecesora táctica y estratégica de otras “máquinas” de atacar, como Millonarios FC de Colombia, Universidad Católica de Chile o el esplendoroso Real Madrid de Di Stéfano y Ferenc Puskas, casi 70 años después La Máquina de River sigue siendo considerada como una de las delanteras más explosivas, vistosas y eficaces de todos los tiempos. Su memoria continúa siendo una leyenda suprema en los pasillos del Monumental que la vio nacer, llegar a la cima y abandonar los campos de juego dejando atrás su rastro de innovación y genialidad.
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Comunicador social antisocial. Inconformista crónico. Profesor de Periodismo Deportivo. Fundamentalista de Messi.

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