GIRONAIt was approximately three quarter past ten in the evening of Thursday, August 26, 1976. That night, in Montilivi, Isidre Sala started to cry. Undisputed since his arrival at the club in 1963, he left behind 432 official matches wearing the white-and-red shirt. No one has defended it more often and certainly no one has defended it better. “It has been a great joy to see how people have treated me. I’m sad to say goodbye to football, but the tribute is unbeatable. They kept giving me things and I didn’t notice anything. In fact, it got to a point where I wasn’t in my flow. These are details you never forget”, explained the great captain to the newspaper The places during his last night as a player.
Last September 22, his heart stopped after a long illness. This Sunday the Girona club will bid him a final farewell during the minutes before the match against Real Sociedad (6:30 p.m., Movistar LaLiga). If on the night of his tribute as a footballer, 46 years ago, it was his wife who did the honor service, this time it will be his daughter who will sit in the box to contemplate what her father help build along an exemplary trajectory. Because if Girona is in the First Division, it is thanks to people like Isidre Sala, who tried to keep the club alive in complicated times. People who became references.
“Isidre Sala has always been a man of tremendous honesty. He was a fantastic footballer, but also an excellent person”, said José Emilio Santamaría of him, the Spanish coach who made the centre-back born in Vilamalla on September 29, 1940 into the only Girona footballer who played in an Olympic Games. They were in Mexico, in 1968, where he was declared knight of the sport. “It has given prestige to provincial sport. The fact that Girona has had an Olympic athlete encourages any Maroc who wants to practice sports”, assured Francisco Gutiérrez, provincial sports delegate. “He has been a man who has defended for thirteen years in a city like Girona, we must thank him for having placed the name at a great height”, confessed Mauricio Grau, sports speaker of the City Council .
For its part, the Catalan Football Federation presented him with the Silver Medal for Sports Merit, rewarding the loyalty of Sala, who first at Vista Alegre and later at Montilivi, at all times competed in the Third Division with the Girona despite the football conditions and the offers received to be able to make the jump to higher categories. He also tried to go up to Segona with the Girona club, but he never achieved it and fell in three promotions.
The sausage and a glass of wine
Sala is the nostalgia of a football and a society that are gradually disappearing. Everyone defines him as a gentleman and beyond the immense legacy he created on the pitch, his great title is to see how he is remembered as a good person. A familiar man and consistent with the principles with which he was brought up in a time when there was no need to sign agreements, because handshakes were not betrayed. The word was enough and he had it. Benjamí Colomer, the president who signed him, was excited The Sport taking a look at his arrival: “He was playing in Figueres and I went to his house to talk to his father. The first thing he did was take out the sausage and a glass of wine.”
“Much could be written, and surely will be, about the tribute that the Girona fans, accepting the initiative of the board, gave to Sala. Many adjectives will be used and they will all pale in comparison to reality. That’s why we limit ourselves to saying that it was emotional. The stadium had never heard such a thunderous ovation as the one that thundered when Sala, after having played fifteen minutes, left the field of play. The people, standing, cheered him. He, after greeting as adults do, looked for the corridor to hide in the dressing room and give way to emotions”, can be read in the chronicle of that night. “I will not erase from my heart the love and gratitude towards Girona”, said Sala, who became a legend.