20 years after Saviola’s arrival in Barcelona


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20 years after Saviola's arrival in Barcelona

Javier Saviola was one of the great figures to emerge from Argentine soccer.

El Conejo came to River with 15 years, where he made his debut and transcended as a footballer. And he was one of the most expensive players in Argentine soccer. In 2001, Barcelona took it for no less than 36 million euros. One of the great sales of the Núñez club without a doubt, along with other star footballers such as Gonzalo Higuaín, Javier Mascheraro and Hernán Crespo, among others.

Ramón Díaz made his debut against Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy when he was only 16 years old, for the 1998 Apertura: in that match he scored a goal and began to show everything he could give.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the big clubs in Europe laid eyes on him. And it was Barcelona that did not hesitate to sign him for a millionaire figure.

If something was missing so that no one doubted his quality as a player, the U20 World Cup that was held in Argentina ended up consolidating it: he was one of the great figures of the title that the albiceleste achieved and the tournament’s top scorer, with 11 goals.

Thus, on July 20, 2001, the Bunny arrived in Spain to begin his successful career in Europe. With the Catalan club he played a total of 172 games, scoring 72 goals.

For the Blaugranas it was in three consecutive seasons, from 2001/2002 to 2003/2004. Then he returned in 2006/2007 after spending a year at Monaco, where he was on loan, and another at Sevilla.

The beginnings were difficult due to a difficult personal situation that he went through when he landed in the Catalan club: nothing less than the death of his father. “We lived the duel with my mother, it was a hard moment because I was arriving at a club like Barcelona, ​​touching the sky with my hands, but at the same time suffering for my father,” he acknowledged on occasion.

Saviola was received with all the honors by the Catalans, and he quickly won over the fans. His time with the Catalan team was not bad, but undoubtedly more was expected from what was at some point the most expensive signing of the Catalan team.

As for titles, he did not achieve many with Barcelona: he won the Spanish Super Cup in 2006, although he did not play it because he was no longer taken into account by coach Rijkaard. It is that when the Catalans managed to be two-time champions of the Spanish League, in 2004/2005 and 2005/2006, leaving Real Madrid in second place, the Rabbit was on loan.

He arrived at the age of 19 and left Catalonia at the age of 24. With Rexach, Van Gaal and Antic as coaches, Barcelona was far from titles and great performances: they were years of drought.

Until with the change in the leadership of the club after the arrival of Laporta and the technical direction of Rijkaard, added to a renewal of the squad, everything would change.

In any case, Saviola left a fond memory among the Catalans, despite the fact that he would later wear the Real Madrid jersey, another of the clubs that he joined in his long career in addition to Benfica, Malaga, Olympiakos and Hellas Verona.


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