In times when Boca is desperate to find an area 9 that scores goals and gives the fans illusions thinking about the knockout stages of the Copa Libertadores, the image of Martín Palermo undoubtedly generates nostalgia.
And on this day more than ever, since on June 12, 2011, 10 years ago, the Titan played its last game at La Bombonera. A special match, it is clear, in the stadium where he scored so many goals that remain in the club’s history.
That Boca directed by Julio César Falcioni did not arrive at his best, despite the fact that he had Martín and Juan Román Riquelme on the court, no less. But in the stands they looked askance (and enjoyed) River’s campaign, which was fighting to get out of the Promotion and relegation.
From early on, people paid homage to the Loco: the caravan departure from the hotel to accompany the last official tour of Palermo to the Boca court reminded many of that triumphant reception after the conquest of the Intercontinental in 2000, when thousands of fans they accompanied the bus from Ezeiza to La Boca.
The match against Banfield ended tied 1 to 1 with Colazo’s goal, but the result was anecdotal. After the game, the official moment of goodbye arrived. From the stands came the song that identified that day: “Thank you very much Palermo, you gave us happiness, what you did for Boca in life is forgotten …”
Martín cried before the encouragement of the public, who were moved along with him. Ciro had sung the national anthem with his harmonica and Mario Pergolini, the same one who recently resigned from the club’s vice-presidency, was the evening’s entertainer. The parents and children of Palermo also shared that unique moment on the lawn together with the scorer, who in the midst of tears, said: “I never imagined this affection from people. There are many things that go through my head at this moment. I am very grateful to all of you, for all the affection, for so many years together … The goal was the most I could do on the pitch to give it to you … So many titles and goals come to mind, so many teammates. I want to thank everyone who accompanied me this time, and you, because Boca would not be this without you. Boca is great not because of the players, the managers or the coaches, but because of its people. They always loved me despite saying that I am from Students, but they know that I will carry you in my heart ”.
As a finishing touch, there was a special gift: they gave him the bow that gives to the 12, with a bow included, so that the Titan can take it home as a souvenir.
What kind of 9 was Palermo? A scorer with a great sense of location within the area, without fear of ridicule, who scored goals in all possible ways, who had a magnet to make the ball always fall to him, who had a great header and He had a formidable personality that allowed him to always bounce back from adversity, on and off the court. An optimist of the goal, as defined by none other than Carlos Bianchi.
He scored goals for River, the most remembered, without a doubt, in the quarterfinals for the Libertadores 2000; to Real Madrid in the final of the Intercontinental that same year, I mark the two that gave Boca the title; he scored goals with torn ligaments, from a penalty kick, hitting him with both legs, from the midfield, from the head, from the left, from the right, from carom… goals of all kinds and for all tastes.
A week after the goodbye in La Bombonera, Palermo would play its last official match, no less than against Gimnasia (the match ended 2-2), where his friend and partner from so many battles was, another xeneize idol, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The Wolf, with that result, had to play a tiebreaker to avoid direct relegation.
Statistics say that Palermo played 404 games in Boca and scored 236 goals, a historic club record. He won 14 titles, 8 international and 6 local. Beyond the numbers, reality indicates that he was a unique, extraordinary scorer, so much so that 10 years after his retirement, people still miss him. Boy does he miss it.