Did you hear a lot of celebration and screaming last night? Well, it wasn’t- Ugh. Sorry. I use this to start every football article that I write and quite honestly, I’ve ran out of jokes.
Yes, last night was obviously about football.
After beating Godoy Cruz 1-0 on Sunday evening, Racing Club became the new champion of Argentine football after a 13-year wait. The team from Avellaneda got to the final match with 38 points, two more than its immediate follower River Plate, and while Racing had to rely on their own performance to get the crown, River not only had to do its part, they also had to wait for a helping hand from the Mendoza team.
During the first half, both scoreboards remained empty, but at the 48th minute Racing’s Ricardo Centurión connected a crossed ball from Gastón Diaz to unleash madness at the bleachers, and let fans believe the miracle was possible. Time didn’t seem to pass at the Cilindro stadium but finally, the 90th minute arrived and referee Diego Ceballos blew the whistle and it was finally over. Racing was the new champion.
During the first half of the tournament, the team struggled to perform. After two straight losses in games 5 and 6 (one of them against classic rival Independiente) coach Diego Cocca managed to turn things around and give his players a boost of confidence. After that, Racing went on a furious 11-2-1 record to become Argentina’s best and add a new star to the blazon.
The champion’s roster had great values. Diego Milito, main stronghold and captain, ended a successful career in Europe to return to the club, where he started to play football at age nine and made his professional debut.
The last time Racing won the championship was in 2001. Milito was part of the team back then and had managed to finish a 35-year dry spell, so expect to see a statue in his honor decorating the club’s halls real soon.
Other players such as goalkeeper Sebastián Saja, midfielder Ezequiel Videla and striker Gustavo Bou also played a huge role in putting Racing on top. Statues for them too? Sure. Racing fans are some of the most passionate football supporters in the world. Hell, even the water boy may be getting one.
If you still need proof of their unrelenting enthusiasm, let’s go back to 2001. Racing hadn’t won the championship since 1966. So after realizing they had a real shot at the title again, supporters not only filled one, but two stadiums on that fateful day. 60.000 hinchas that couldn’t get into the stadium where Racing was playing the defining game went to their home field to watch the game on a giant screen, and ran the victory lap before the players arrived to celebrate:
Now, I love that Racing fans are happy, but if you’re a superstitious person you probably want to grab ahold of your lucky charms, rabbit feet or whatever you have within reach. Because according to pop culture, Racing bears a terrible curse that comes into effect whenever they win their tournament. In short, the curse says that whenever Racing becomes the champion, shit goes down. And I mean really bad shit.
In 1966, after Racing’s victory, President Arturo Illia was overthrown by a military coup, thus beginning a new dark age in Argentine history that prefaced the military dictatorship of 1976. 35 years later, the Avellaneda team won again. Do the math, go ahead. I’ll wait.
Yup. It was December of 2001 of course. While fans were celebrating at the Obelisco, the rest of the country was about to go down in flames.
So yeah. I don’t mean to freak you out, but better go get that rabbit foot.