加载中…
个人资料
孟洪涛
孟洪涛 新浪个人认证
  • 博客等级:
  • 博客积分:0
  • 博客访问:2,330,332
  • 关注人气:360
  • 获赠金笔:0支
  • 赠出金笔:0支
  • 荣誉徽章:
相关博文
推荐博文
正文 字体大小:

2014年05月24日

(2014-05-24 21:54:37)

Atletico victory would fulfill Aragones' final wish

Posted by Sid Lowe
Luis Aragones had leukemia the day he gave his last interview, but he didn't tell anyone. He was 75 and had dedicated over half a century to professional football. As a player, he won three league titles and two cups, and as a manager he led Spain to their first international success in 44 years, winning the European Championship in 2008. Regrets, he’d had a few. Hopes, he still had a few of those too. And the two things went hand in hand.


"I would like to see Atletico Madrid win the European Cup," he said. "That's still a thorn in my side."

It had been wedged there for 40 years. With six minutes to go in injury time in the 1974 final at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Aragones scored the brilliant free kick that looked destined to win the European Cup for Atletico Madrid. Opponents Bayern Munich certainly thought so. This was a side that contained Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness and Gerd Muller, but they were about to be defeated. When one German player approached the bench to ask his manager what he could do, the response came back, "Nothing."

And yet with 30 seconds remaining, the defender Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck picked up the ball 30 yards out. He was pretty much the last person that Bayern Munich would have wanted on the ball, but he struck a shot hard and low to the right of the Atletico goalkeeper, Miguel Reina -- father of Spain and Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina -- and the ball squeezed into the net. "It was the kind of shot a goalkeeper should always get to," Reina remembered. He, though, didn't.

The game finished 1-1 and Atletico's players could not believe it. They had been so close. Adelardo Rodriguez, the captain, later admitted that he had even glanced across to the stands to locate the royal box to find out where he would be going to collect the trophy. Instead, he led his team back to the dressing room, heads down, hands empty. "Football has made me cry very, very few times, but that was one of them," he said.

Atletico had not actually been beaten, but they were beaten. That night, no one could sleep. Some sat, vacant, staring into space. "There was silence," remembered Javier Irureta. "Hardly anyone said a word, only Luis who kept saying: 'We can do more.'" They could not: They had been shattered, exhausted emotionally and physically, and 48 hours later they lost the replay 4-0 at the same stadium.

After the final, the club's president, Vicente Calderon, declared them El Pupas, the jinxed one. Atletico won the Intercontinental Cup later that year, the Copa del Rey in 1976 and the league in 1977, but it never made up for that night.
 

Aragones once declared: "Atletico are my life." Few men have been more identified with the club. He played for them for 11 years and managed them for 15 seasons across four different spells stretching over a 30-year period that started in 1974, after the final, and did not end until 2003.

He led them to a league title and three cups, as well as brought them back to the first division after they were relegated in 1999 for the first time in their history -- a period where the idea of Atletico Madrid as the Pupas reverberated more powerfully than ever, eventually becoming a weight round their neck as well as an excuse for failure.

The first trophy Aragones won as a manager, having swapped the pitch for the dugout, was the Intercontinental Cup, but the last trophy he won as a player was not the European Cup. And that hurt. He was never able to make amends, nor was anyone at Atletico.

Much has been made of the fact that Real Madrid have waited 12 years to return to the final to play for their 10th Champions League title, and rightly so. It is an obsession and they have spent a billion euros in its pursuit. Every year, the promise is the Decima, and every year they appear equipped to chase it, but the wait has extended over a decade now. It is true that Madrid went 32 years between their sixth and seventh Champions League crowns, but 12 years is too long. 

The wait for Atletico has been longer. The difference is that their absence seemed normal; what is not normal is being there now. It is not just that Atletico have waited 40 years to return to the final, it is that you had to go back to 1997 for the last time when they had reached a quarterfinal, and that was straight out of the group. When they beat AC Milan in the last 16 this season it was the first time they had won a Champions League knockout-round tie since 1977, 37 years earlier.

2014年05月24日PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty ImagesDiego Simeone is looking to guide Atletico Madrid to their first ever Champions League crown.

In 1997, Diego Simeone was a player. Atletico's team had won the league the year before. This season, 18 years later, they have won it again for the first time since that 1995-96 campaign. Simeone of course is now the manager. They went to the Camp Nou to take the title off FC Barcelona -- exactly a year after they had gone to the Santiago Bernabeu to take the Copa del Rey off Real Madrid. That was the first time they had beaten Real in 14 years. Now, for the first time in 40 years they have returned to the Champions League final.

The romantics among Atletico's fans wanted to play Bayern Munich; they wanted revenge for 1974, closure. El Pupas, lying at the heart of a victim complex that did them no good, has been slain. Beating Bayern would have been its symbolic burial, gone forever. Facing Real Madrid is not bad, though, and the fact that they have got there at all is extraordinary. The pity is that Luis Aragones will not be there to see it. He died Feb. 1. Fate has been cruel and yet there is something that seems to link the two.

Aragones, like Simeone, always rejected the myth of El Pupas, even though he had been there at its inception, even though he lived through bad times as well as good. It was he who declared that the approach had to be: "Win, win and win and win again, and win and win again and win and win again." Simeone's philosophy is the same. Midfielder Tiago this week noted: "Simeone only thinks of winning, winning, winning."

Under Simeone, Atletico have won, won and won. Some have talked of them doing it for Aragones. The emotional connection has been made. When Atletico knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League, supporters at the Calderon immediately sang Aragones' name. When they drew Barcelona at the Camp Nou last Saturday to clinch the title, Simeone said of those final, tense minutes as the clock ticked down: "I thought about Luis, with us from up there. I am sure he would have been in the area defending with us." When they run out at the Estadio da Luz, Atletico will wear special commemorative shirts. Stitched onto the inside of the collar, it says: Luis Aragones.

On Saturday night, Atletico will face Real Madrid in a final, just as they did when Aragones led them to a Copa del Rey victory over their rivals in 1992. It is the first Champions League final they have reached in 40 years, the first since the night Schwarzenbeck thrust that thorn in Aragones' side. Win and they will remove it at long last, granting a dying man his final wish.

0

阅读 评论 收藏 转载 喜欢 打印举报/Report
  • 评论加载中,请稍候...
发评论

    发评论

    以上网友发言只代表其个人观点,不代表新浪网的观点或立场。

      

    新浪BLOG意见反馈留言板 电话:4000520066 提示音后按1键(按当地市话标准计费) 欢迎批评指正

    新浪简介 | About Sina | 广告服务 | 联系我们 | 招聘信息 | 网站律师 | SINA English | 会员注册 | 产品答疑

    新浪公司 版权所有