There is no image that better represents Marcelo Gallardo’s cycle than that of the coach lifting the Copa Libertadores in Madrid together with Leonardo Ponzio and Jonatan Maidana, since these two footballers are the greatest emblems of the most glorious era in the club’s history. Two machines to win titles.
The 39-year-old captain would reach the 16 Olympic laps tonight at the Monumental with the Ángel Labruna Band and two other members of a legend: Machine. While the rude central defender of 36 pirulos would summarize the fourteenth title in the Millionaire.
It cannot be affirmed that Ponzio is a product of Gallardo, since when the Doll took over as River’s detainee the central midfielder was 32 years old, more than 300 games in his career, three titles at the club (Clausura 2008, Final Tournament and Cup 2014 Championship) and a total of six Olympic laps. However, MG found him with an image similar to the Tom Hanks in the film The Castaway and made the Lion of the Roses the king of his team, none other than the most glorious River of all time.
And today, against Racing, the captain has the chance to celebrate another championship that would have the special seasoning of his return to the 11th title after more than six months: 193 days. The last time it had been in the superclassic on May 16 for the quarterfinals of the League Cup (1-1 and loss on penalties). Although this will have the unbeatable plus of the presence of 72 thousand fans in the Monumental and the feeling of a farewell to football with movie nuances, which would add another chapter in the final of the Championship Cup against Colón.
I read with the fans.
The case of Maidana is similar, with the difference that Joni had been a figure in the River Ramón Díaz champion while Leo had been displaced with the Rioja. In addition, he central was not part of the entire Napoleon era because after the victory against Boca in Madrid he left for Toluca until February of this year. He also had the chance to return to 11 because Rojas consolidated himself as a right back and Casco’s suspension plus Angileri’s injury left a gap in the rear, since Martínez would be the left back.
Javier Pinola also appears as a candidate to be Diaz’s partner in the cave. Like the other warriors, he is living the twilight of his successful career and is flirting with hanging up his boots shortly.
Enzo Pérez and Ponzio in the victory against Boca.
Everyone could retire like a champion.