Last Thursday, Colombian football received the sad news of the death of former player Ricardo Ciciliano, who was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a clinic in his native Barranquilla, due to pneumonia that afflicted him for more than 15 days .

Ciciliano was one of the permanent players and in force in the national income from the mid-nineties until 2012, the year in which he retired. The midfielder, who would turn 44 on September 23, knew how to wear 11 jackets in our football, highlighting those of Deportes Tolima and Deportivo Cali, where he was champion.

During his time with the Ibagué team, in 2003, he ran into the current Cúcuta Deportivo coach, Jorge Ricardo Artigas, with whom he shared a position on the field of play (offensive midfielders) in contrast to the fact that when one played for one wing the other did for the other. Also, in that champion roster, the Cucuteño side Geovanni ‘La Chaza’ García played.

“This is very sad news. We had an excellent relationship when we shared a team. It is a bitter moment and I hope that the family can overcome it and always remember it in the best way, “said the Uruguayan helmsman who in that Tolima wore number 8 while Ciciliano was number 10.

But between the two of them there was an anecdote that Artigas will never forget.

In the 2003 Finalization League (that of the title) Tolima was classified at the end as sixth with 27 points to seven of Deportivo Cali, first in the classification. The pijaos shared a group with Nacional, Junior and Medellín, becoming the weakest rival in the role.

For the last date of said homer, Junior traveled as leader with 10 points to Atanasio to face Medellín, while the wine red and gold received Nacional in Murillo Toro, being third with seven units surpassed by his rival with nine. He had to win and hope that Medellín would do the same.

“In the face of the game against Nacional, Ciciliano had already accumulated several dates without marking, it was wrong. I had some Ray-Ban sunglasses that he really liked. In the concentration, where we always shared a room, I told him that he had me tired with the story that he liked them. I suggested that if he scored a goal and we qualified, he would give it to him. That afternoon he scored two and you can imagine ”, Artigas recalled laughing.

After that triumph, they qualified for the final and ended up beating Deportivo Cali.

“Nobody believed in us. Nobody gave Tolima as a champion. When we did it, it was a surprise to everyone. I remember that the celebration of the title was crazy, “said Artigas, who also played for América de Cali.

In reference to the character of the coast, Artigas said that this made them always go forward against whoever.

La Chaza García, who in recent days spoke about the subject with this medium, defined it as “a person with a strong personality, character and temperament but with a boastful attitude. He was one of those boar leaders who don’t get wrinkled at anything. A positive leader ”.

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