Saturday, January 7, 2012

Real Madrid, Las Cuarto Primera Copas de Europa

  The Real Madrid walked the field in Switzerland, on 8 September 1955, in the first game ever to be played in the European Cup. Real Madrid had been drawn against Servette of Geneva - the country's oldest club - and were not quite sure what to make of them. What they encountered, unexpectedly, was a very physical side, one whose hunch that the Spanish 'might not like it up 'em' backfired miserably. Madrid could look after themselves, and Munoz and ZSrraga took no prisoners in midfield. Navarro and Oliva were very solid at the back, and although Madrid were still not the finished article, the crucial balance of flair and steel was sufficiently in place by that year to carry them through a game like this. At half-time, however, with the score at 0-0, the Madrid dressing-room was apparently suffering one of its occasional silences, because Di Stefano was in a bad mood. The game had been messy, with no real pattern, and he had been unable to stamp his authority on the proceedings. Terrified of upsetting him, no one spoke. Suddenly the door opened and in walked Saporta accompanied by no less a figure than the exiled Prince of Asturias, now the Spanish King, Juan Carlos. 

 The Prince was at finishing school in Switzerland, and had taken the day off to see some of his compatriots. The players shot to their feet, apart from Di St&fano. The Prince walked over to the Argentine, shook his hand (upon which he stood up) and remarked in his faltering Spanish, 'Saeta - los emigrantes esperan una victoria (Blond Arrow - the emigrants are hoping for a win) - referring to the Royal Family. Di Stefano, unmoved by the royal presence, simply nodded. The 17-year-old Prince, desperately trying to break the ice, came up with the famous phrase referring to Di Stefano: 'Ese chico ahora es el rey (Now, this guy is the King). In the second half, in the 74th minute to be precise, Miguel Munoz scored Madrid's first ever goal in Europe, and Rial the second in the 89th. There was no reply from the obsessively defensive Swiss. In the second leg, Servette were shown the door in no uncertain terms, and the Bernabeu witnessed a historic 5-0 demolition of the visitors, a presage of things to come. Another ominous sign for the other teams competing was that Di Stefano had opened his European account, scoring two of the goals. So far so good...

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2 comments:

  1. Well, Real Madrid of Di Stefano, Puskas, Gento, and others... unfortunately it is only resumes.

    Thank you, Beppe

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