Cruyff’s debut seen from Granada | sports

    In 73-74, Granada had six seasons consolidated in First. On the third day he had become a leader. It was a very strong personality team, for the extreme firmness of its back and for some great class players, especially the extreme Vicente. Also for the change in his uniform, introduced that season, with horizontal stripes instead of vertical. “It was to distinguish us,” explains Candi, the president in those great years of the club.

    The seventh day he visited Barça, who suffered because he had signed Cruyff, the best in the world, but could not align him. Holland did not send the transfer. It was said that it would not be incorporated until the second round. I played friendly, to collect and stay in shape, but not official matches. The wait had blocked Barça, which in the League had two wins, two draws and three losses, and in the UEFA Cup had fallen to the first, eliminated by Nice. In Madrid there was talk of plague of frogs in Las Ramblas, that when passing by there was a continuous croaking: “Cruyff, Cruyff, Cruyff …”.

    Granada left at nine on Saturday by bus, to eat in Madrid, from where it would continue by air bridge to Barcelona, ​​and stay at the Manila Hotel. There they were received, late in the afternoon, by a manager of Barcelona who, after being interested in the trip and asking them if they needed anything, gave them the news: “The transfer of Cruyff has arrived, so tomorrow it debuts against you”. Joseíto, Granada coach, felt like a shot. Bad news that joined the absence of Aguirre Suárez, his fierce central, injured. When a cloud of journalists fell on him, he grumbled: “I didn’t know that the Federation worked on Saturday afternoons …”. He also said that the preparation of the game during the week was already useless, that he now had to rethink everything.

    They had dinner with the news, who insisted on the news and projected his plays. Jaén said: “We are going to look at it now, because tomorrow we won’t even see him.” In Barcelona, ​​the reputation of abruptness in Granada worried. On Sunday morning, the second coach, Rodri, stopped by the hotel to speak with Fernández, the Uruguayan who was a regular partner with Aguirre Suárez in defense. Fernández had arrived in Spain through Barça and Rodri had a good relationship with him: “Look, it has cost us a lot, to see how you behave, don’t hurt us on the first day.” “Look how we come, without Aguirre Suárez, without Echecopar …”

    Joseíto decided that Cruyff should be marked Montero Castillo, a usual means of closing and improvised center in his day, and, if he overflowed, Fernández as a libero. If he leaned to the left, which he frequently did, Toni would take him. After the talk they went to the field. He went to greet the forward Barrios, formerly of Granada, now at Barça, who spoke enthusiastically: “He has ten different touches on each foot. And a speed …! It gets a hundred in a second and slows down. You see him and you don’t see him. ”

    As it is. It drove them crazy. Montero Castillo, although he had a good stride in the race, was slow to get moving. Cruyff was leaving him, he was going from one side, he was going to another … Joseíto gave orders to catch him in the area, because he was very late. He drove Chirri and Jaén crazy in the middle, Toni on the right and Montero Castillo and Fernández in the center. He managed to get him out once he went to the right, and turned it upside down. The screaming was tremendous. He took a white card (here they were white instead of yellow) and he dared not repeat. Once, Toni and Jaén thought they had locked him in a corner: “We already had him, he turned around and when we realized he was inside the area.” Granada endured until 42 ’, when Marcial finally scored, headlong, in the center of De la Cruz, another former Granda. Then, Cruyff (50 ’), Sotil (58’) and Cruyff again (69 ’) completed the 4-0. The last goal was a beauty, a volley from outside the area. To hang it in the Prado Museum.

    Thirty years after that, the Granada Today He did an excellent job, collecting his testimonies. Everyone had the feeling of having lived something extraordinary. It had even become a pride to have been there, so much that all the players of the time, those who played and those who did not, and many of the surrounding promotions today presume to have been there that day. And every time the team returns to Barcelona, ​​the gatherings are filled with memories of that October 28, 1973.

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