Verón, the Soul of Estudiantes De La Plata
By Dialogo July 20, 2009Juan Sebastián Verón demonstrated once again that he is the soul of the Argentine Estudiantes De La Plata, the leader, the most valuable player, the fan who plays, and a perfect heir of Juan Ramón Verón, his father, who played on the La Plata team when they won the Libertadores Cup three times between 1968 and 1970 and the Intercontinental Cup once. Juan Sebastián, the man who led the ‘Pincharrata’ with a maestro’s baton to their fourth championship in the Libertadores Cup, after thirty-nine years, was declared the most valuable player in the decisive match, which ended with a spirited 1-2 victory by the Buenos Aires club over the Brazilian Cruzeiro. Verón, the captain of the Students, received in Belo Horizonte the Libertadores Cup that his father had won three times. ‘The Little Witch’ got his start with the Students, played in Boca Juniors, and then played for a decade in Europe, for the Italian Sampdoria, Parma, Lazio, and Inter teams and for the English Manchester United and Chelsea. “He returned to Estudiantes in 2006 with one objective, to help the team get back to winning an international tournament. He had several offers, but he preferred to play for the club he never stopped rooting for. At this point, money doesn’t interest him,” commented his father, a symbol of the most significant triumphs in the history of the team with the white and red colors. In 1995 he stood out on the Estudiantes team that won promotion to the First Division, and a few months after his return he was the leading figure of the championship team in the Opening 2006 tournament, with Diego Simeone as coach. Thirty-four years old, he is considered one of the best soccer players in his country’s League and is a member of the Argentine national team, coached by Diego Maradona, that is playing in the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. “Verón is a very important player; he adds momentum to the whole team,” affirmed coach Alejandro Sabella, who acknowledges his influence on the rest of the squad as “fundamental.” “I am calm because I feel that I didn’t fail the Estudiantes fans. Sometimes because you want to earn more money, you forget to value the simpler things in life, and for me what is important is to play for the Liberators’ Cup with my team, which hasn’t made it to a final since 1971,” the player-fan said. “I know that we’re making history, and few people can imagine what this means to me,” added the man who is now the best soccer player playing in the Americas today, before the final match that won his team the title. As far as the 0-0 tie in the away match with Cruzeiro, “that’s in the past,” he said, and “the truth will be in Mineirao Stadium, where Estudiantes will go looking for what they want, for what they’ve dreamed of,” Juan Sebastián had announced. And he did not lie. Estudiantes found what they wanted in Belo Horizonte.