BARCELONA – Cruyff de Futbol Barcelona. This is how the impact and significance of the arrival of the soccer player Cruyff to Barça in 1973 was known and proclaimed. The flying Dutchman, signed that summer after negotiations worthy of a soap opera in which the player himself rejected an offer at the last minute from Real Madrid, in the blink of an eye, became the capital character of Barcelona, who recovered his self-esteem with greatness with the conquest of a superb League that ended with 14 years, which is said soon, of drought in the Spanish championship.
This Wednesday marks a month since the victory of Joan Laporta (an uncomplexed Cruyffista) in the elections to the Barça presidency … and it is the 47th anniversary of Sunday when the Barça team beat Sporting Gijon 2-4 at El Molinón League champion was proclaimed five days in advance and after linking 24 games (18 wins and 6 draws) without knowing defeat.
‘Mamita, we win!’ the Peruvian Hugo Cholo Sotil roared from a telephone in the Asturian stadium dressing rooms, calling, euphoric, to his mother who from Lima received that good news that caused an outbreak of happiness in Barcelona and throughout the whole Culer universe, from whom Cruyff took a weight off during a superb season.
Neither Ronaldinho, nor Ronaldo, nor Maradona … Nobody had the media impact that in his day personalized the signing of that Dutchman who almost two decades later, from the bench, still increased to infinity his character of legend in Barcelona but who With the 9 on his back, he turned the Spain that suffered the last blows of the Franco dictatorship into a Barcelona party.
Cruyff could not make his debut until October 28, 1973 due to the demands of the Dutch federation and he led a team that after seven league games was 14th in the standings, having won only two of the first seven games and barely added one point more than Castellón, the first in relegation places …
Barça’s rebellion was a beast. From the 4-0 with which Cruyff made his debut (two goals) against Granada, he went to two draws away from the Camp Nou (Murcia and Real Zaragoza) which were followed by nine consecutive victories, an unusual fact at the time and that in the middle December (1-3 in Oviedo) he was already placed as a solo leader, a position that he would no longer abandon.
With Rinus Michels on the bench and an eleven guy who keeps the fan in memory (Sadurní, Rifé, Torres, Costas, De la Cruz, Juan Carlos, Rexach, Asensi, Cruyff, Sotil and Marcial) plus the veteran’s secondary appearances Gallego and Juanito from the Canary Islands, Barça surprised with a choral football that disarmed all the rivals that were in front, with special significance of Real Madrid, which they swept away in a duel for history.
The merengue team, in free fall victim of an accentuated crisis of results that had in February in seventh position in the League to nine points (the victories added two at that time) from Barça, was crushed at the Bernabéu by a legendary 0- 5 which was the icing on the cake of a campaign that is still remembered with special consideration around the club and that until 2-6 2009 remained the benchmark win in a Clásico played at the Bernabéu.
Barça flew incontestably above everything and everyone until that April 7, 1974, when knowing the defeat of a day before Atlético de Madrid in Murcia (1-0), a victory in Gijón was enough to proclaim itself champion mathematically on matchday 29, five before the end of the tournament.
Rexach scored 0-1 shortly after half an hour and fatality knocked on the door with Sporting’s comeback through Ciriaco and Leal in the second half, but a hat-trick by Marcial between minutes 75 and 87 gave shape to the final 2-4 that solved the conquest of the League in a big way.
Today it is unthinkable that a club like Barcelona could accumulate 14 years without winning a league. Those 14 years, however, existed; with controversial League finals in which he felt cheated and in which Real Madrid added nine trophies to stand out as the absolute dominator of the championship.
This is how it is explained that that bellow of the longed-for Cholo Sotil (Mamita, we champion!) Became the cry of an entire fan who enjoyed a glory that, being ephemeral (Barça would go back to spend eleven years without winning the title), He maintains, after 47 years, in the imaginary of Barcelona.