Buenos Aires, September 21 (EFE) .- Generations of fans attended the River Plate shrine this Wednesday to pay tribute to one of its most emblematic football players, Leonardo Ponzio, the ‘Eternal Captain’ who won the title but returned to the club. A time of absolute need.
Long lines and constant police control added to the anxiety of fans of all ages who waited to witness, amidst a show that combined sport, music and colour, the departure of the most title-winning footballer with the ‘Millionaire’ shirt. .
“I’m very happy to fire someone who feels the shirt like Ponzio and is with us, which is the most beautiful thing for the fans. We’re going to miss him a lot,” Martin told Efe before entering the stadium with his family and friends.
Suddenly, the stadium went black for a few seconds and the field was lit only by the light of thousands of cell phones flashing in the distance, each one recording the most anticipated moment for everyone.
“I grew up watching him play in the river when we were at our worst. His accumulated experience at the club has given us hope in every game. He is the undisputed captain of this Gallardo clique,” Ezequiel told Ife with his girlfriend Romina.
Children with their parents, teenagers, grandparents… people of all ages are waiting to applaud their idol, who has gone to the river and returned many times and even rescued him from hell.
The worst moment for any fan is not seeing their team lose, but seeing them fall.
Total leader, tough and mature
The darkest night for the ‘Millionaires’ was June 26, 2011 when they lost 1-3 against Belgrano de Córdoba and signed their relegation to second division hell.
Half a year later, Ponzio responded to the bold call. Who will always take up arms to defend their team, their colors and their club professionally.
As captain, he guided his team to hundreds of victories, including two Copa Libertadores: one in 2015 and the second in 2018, in Madrid, after overwhelming Boca Juniors in the final of the most relevant Superclásico in history.
“Ponzio means everything to me. I have his iconic shirt, number 23, and he’s one of the reasons I became River,” Romina told Efe.
Fireworks emanated from the side of the lawn while various sets of lights anticipated what all present expected: the arrival of the “Lion”, the footballer who, with 17 years, has won the most trophies in the history of the river. .
“It was my life and part of it. I saw him play and he was great. We came to show him our love, to pay him the tribute he deserves,” exclaimed Raul, who could not contain his desire to enter the monumental stadium of his beloved club.
Finally, the spotlights were placed on the night stars and the crowd erupted into applause and cheers after Ponzio stepped onto the monumental lawns, full of red and white.
Thank you for coming and sharing this moment with me. All this for you, who put me in this place, gave me human value,” thanked the defensive midfielder.
“I didn’t dream of it. I was adopted from home and this respect surpasses everything”, concluded the player who started his professional career at Newell’s Old Boys and spent an outstanding time at Spanish Real Zaragoza.
After retiring, on December 18, 2021, he played some games with the club where his story began, Williams Camís in Las Rosas—his hometown—in the Santa Fe province of Argentina.
Everything was ready for sports commitments, conversations on the field who were the heroes of a day, the champion of the Libertadores of 2015 or the champion of 2018 and with friends like Uruguayan Enzo Franscolli or Ariel the Burrito. ‘Ortega.
For memories, the flash of pieces of paper that flew with the magical night of the ‘Eternal Captain’, that has crossed generations of River Plate fans.