Palermo Becomes Boca Juniors’ Highest-Scoring Player in 80 Years

Palermo Becomes Boca Juniors’ Highest-Scoring Player in 80 Years

By Dialogo
March 03, 2009

Is this the same guy that broke his leg when playing for Villareal (while celebrating a goal during one of the soccer drills during the practice? Martín Palermo, “the goal optimist,” a title given to him several years ago by coach Carlos ‎Bianchi, who coached him while Boca Juniors achieved most of the titles and ‎championships in their history, is Boca’s highest scorer in the last 78 years. ‎ On Sunday, he scored the 195th goal wearing Boca Juniors’ blue-and-yellow shirt against ‎Huracán (3-1), surpassing Francisco "Pancho" Varallo, who has held the club record of 194 ‎since Argentine soccer was professionalized in 1931. ‎ Significantly, the “optimist” label was given to him by the 13th-ranked goal-scorer in the ‎world; that's why it is Bianchi, Boca's current coach, whom Palermo honors by scoring ‎goals at the age of 35. ‎ ‎"Bianchi’s phrase, which has become famous, is appropriate. I am a born optimist. In any ‎circumstance, I believe I am going to score a goal. Always,” the forward player stated. ‎ Palermo scored 195 goals for Boca a year after being named by FIFA as the best header ‎player in the world, after a survey carried out by his web site among Spanish-speaking fans. ‎ And his optimism leads him to dream of more goals in the fifteen encounters left in the ‎Argentine “Torneo Clausura 2009" tournament, and in the matches coming up in the ‎second phase of Copa Libertadores. ‎ The main goal-scorer currently active not only in his country, but also in "La Bombonera" ‎stadium with more than 100 goals, is still scoring goals for Boca Juniors, and by all ‎indications he will not wear a different team shirt before the end of his career. ‎ As has happened many times in his career, two years ago the player received more criticism ‎than praise, and in order to silence his critics he set another record by scoring four goals in ‎one match. ‎ Until then, on four occasions he had scored three goals in one match. But on that March ‎evening in 2007, playing against Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata (his lifelong rival, since ‎he still had some ill will because he used to be a player for Estudiantes de La Plata), he ‎scored a 'hat trick' in eight minutes, between minutes 6 and 14, and scored another one in ‎minute 73 to finish the match 5-1. ‎ Palermo has overcome numerous phases fraught with mistakes and criticism, such as his ‎short stint with the Argentine team when he failed three penalties against Colombia during ‎the 1999 Copa América, in the Paraguayan town of Luque. ‎ He has also suffered from three significant injuries during his career. The first one took ‎place in November of that year, when he tore the ligaments of his right knee and was ‎benched for six months. ‎ The second one occurred when he was playing in Villareal in November 2001, when after ‎scoring a goal against Levante in the Copa del Rey, a concrete wall collapsed on him and ‎fractured his right ankle. ‎ The last one took place about six months ago, when he tore the ligaments of his right knee ‎again. Before that, in 2006, he went downhill when his son died six hours after he was ‎born. ‎ His most spectacular performance was in 2006 against Independiente de Avellaneda, with a ‎goal shot from 61 meters away from goalkeeper Oscar Ustari, currently playing for Spanish ‎Getafe, who could not stop it. ‎ Palermo has been league champion for Boca Juniors on six occasions, and seven times in ‎international tournaments: Copa Libertadores (2), Copa Intercontinental, Copa ‎Sudamericana (2), and Recopa Sudamericana (2). ‎ In 1997, he scored his first goal for the blue-and-yellow team against Banfield, after he was ‎transferred to the most popular soccer team in Argentina from Estudiantes de La Plata, ‎where he had scored 34 goals since his debut in Primera División in 1992. ‎ Among the most curious goals scored by this soccer player, who is nicknamed "el loco" ‎‎(the madman) in his country, and who played for the Spanish teams of Villarreal, Betis, and ‎Alavés between 2000 and 2004, we find a penalty kicked with both feet due to a slip, ‎against Platense in the 1999 Torneo Clausura. ‎ His masterpiece came nine years ago in Japan, where he scored two goals in the first six ‎minutes of the game at the tournament Copa Intercontinental against Real Madrid (2-1). ‎ To his 195 goals scored with the Boca Juniors Palermo adds 34 with Estudiantes, three with ‎the Argentine football team, 21 with the Villarreal, one with Betis, and three with Alavés.‎
Share