22 years ago Javier Saviola was seventh age and had a handful of matches in Third when Ramón Díaz made him debut in River one afternoon that today, from the Principality of Andorra, one of the best Argentine forwards of the current century evokes with emotion: ” I knew that the train passed once and that I had to get on. I played happy, happy, I scored a goal and that’s where it all started. “
On Sunday October 18, 1998 for the eleventh date of the Jujuy Apertura, Gymnastics and Fencing Tournament, he tied 2-2 on his court with River.
Today, a couple of months after his 39th birthday, dedicated to work as a coach at the Barcelona academy and even as a possible television football commentator, Saviola underlines words of gratitude to Diaz from La Rioja: “Ramón trusted me and from the first night of the concentration everything was beautiful. The trip, the nerves before the game, all the things that went through my head and the moment of entering, when he told me to play quietly, because the The burden of responsibility belonged to the greats. “
On Sunday, October 18, 1998, on the eleventh date of the Jujuy Apertura, Gymnastics and Fencing Tournament, he tied 2-2 on his court with River, whose goals were scored by Carlos Netto as a penalty and the teenager Saviola, who after 120 appearances with the red band, completed with an autumnal cycle in 2015, he totaled 58 entries.
“In my career everything was fast, all of a sudden”, Saviola reflected in dialogue with Télam: “At the age of 19 I was sold to a tremendous giant like Barsa, one of the most important clubs in the world in very complicated moments due to my immaturity and for the death of my father. I grew up suddenly, as I could, but I know that I enjoyed every moment, every shirt, every game and I always gave my best. “
Saviola, “El Conejo”, played no less than 14 seasons in Europe and of the eight shirts he wore in only three, he did not win titles, in Monaco, Malaga and Hellas Verona, but in Barcelona, Real Madrid, Benfica, Olympiakos in Greece and Seville.
Could Saviola have had a more meaningful career than he did?
This is how “Pibito” himself, who grew up in the Parque Chas neighborhood of Buenos Aires, evaluates it: “The truth is that I never thought if I could have done something else. Never. I was always the best professional possible, I enjoyed, I was and I am grateful for football. I dedicated myself with great passion. I didn’t have a bit of reproach. Nothing. “
Although the foregoing reflection partially dispelled the hypothesis that he must have been in the Argentine National Team that played the 2002 World Cup, Saviola alluded to his good relationship with Marcelo Bielsa: “He had trained with that group, but Claudio Caniggia was there, and Marcelo, who spoke to me face-to-face, made a respectable decision to improve the squad. If it did me wrong? No, it did me good to work harder and be in the next World Cup, and it happened. With José (Pekerman) I was very involved, a large group had formed with most of us who had passed through the U17 and U20. We had a great team. There I did have a small thorn. We said goodbye to the World Cup in Germany with the feeling that we could have reached the end “.
Living for five years in the Pyrenees bordering Spain and France, Saviola says that he thought of living in Lisbon or Barcelona, but together with his wife he gave in to the enthusiasm of a friend who lives in the Principality of Andorra and there he lives a life that qualifies as “happy” in a city that “offers enormous well-being in every sense. Here I have the peace of mind of leaving my children (Julieta and Fabricio) in a square and not being afraid of anything. I made a few friends, mostly athletes , I can not ask for more”.
Required in his capacity as a football analyst at this time, he was decisive (“he has changed a lot, now he is more physical, faster, there are fewer gifted players, with good technique”) and he delivered laudatory concepts about Lautaro Martínez from Bahia:
“I like Lautaro a lot. How he moves, how he looks for spaces. In addition to being a scorer, he is smart to move, he understands the game very well and knows the ball at his feet. I love the forward who is in the goal and also knows show himself, throw a wall and return the ball round “.
When it was pointed out to him that the legendary Jorge “Patron” Bermúdez knew how to include him in the list of the strikers who caused him the most problems, Saviola reconstructed those qualified duels of the Superclásicos: “We had a great team, I understood myself by heart with Pablo Aimar and Juan Pablo Ángel, and Boca also had a great team and a spectacular defense. Next to Walter Samuel, the Patron was very strong, very tough. He imposed respect and when the games were over he would come to greet me. A great defender, and loyal. I remember: with great respect “.
Aware of Saviola’s words and consulted by Télam, Bermúdez returned the praiseworthy tone: “A different guacho, Javier. Fighter, handsome, good player, respectful, he played with manliness and chivalry. He deserves the best. Good people. Good guy” .