The heavenly derbies of those who leave

Antic, Jones, Lorenzo Sanz or Goyo Benito have left in the silence that imposes dying in times of coronavirus
Radomir Antic, former Serbian coach of Atletico de Madrid who recently passed away

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Radomir Antic, former Serbian coach of Atletico de Madrid who recently passed away


They're leaving, but they're not leaving us at all. It'll be hard to go back to the “new normality” we've never been to. A term that even grammar has trouble digesting. When sport turns on the lights, you will feel the emptiness of those who once did so much. Ortega y Gasset said that a civilization can only endure if many contribute to the effort, but if they prefer to enjoy the fruit, civilization collapses. 


Now it remains to thank and remember those who have died in hard times, as Saint Teresa would say. "He died when the coronavirus struck," they will comment in the stands of the Metropolitano. Radomir Antic left at the worst possible time to say goodbye. Sinister days. The coach of the double-header is already sitting next to what could have been his assistant coach in 1995. Michael Robinson did not dare to come down the steps of the Calderon's bench. A brave decision, unusual in a sport that forces you to do what you don't want to do. Nothing is harder than playing 80s football at Anfield. His decisions guaranteed their careers. Antic walked Imperioso through the streets of Madrid to celebrate El Doblete and Robinson put the accent on the other football for 30 years. The fans will still love Radomir and will be proud to have taken "Robo" to Anfield to comment on his last game on TV. The tragedy wanted them to be victims of their illnesses and not of the bad bug, of their last games, which can no longer be won. And the fateful destiny gave them to that loneliness of the last minutes with which it has punished thousands of Spaniards.   


Up there will be the Greyhound of the Metropolitano, the good one, the one that was at the end of Queen Victoria Avenue. Joaquín Peiró ran through a stadium of which there is no trace, except for the Atleti's shield that is formed by the high buildings in those grounds. Peiró won the 1962 European Cup Winners' Cup and showed off that shield that now looks down on the old continent from the sky. The Metropolitan also saw Miguel Jones. Luis Aragonés's famous black friend. The three of them, together with Antonio Reyes, will be able to talk about what racism really is. That of deeds and not of words. They will laugh at what they call "political correctness" and which makes us hostages of language. The Guinean Jones won that Recopa with Peiró and ended his career in Osasuna, like Robinson. 


José Luis Capón arrived at Atlético in 1971. He won the famous Intercontinental in 1975 and a league title with Real Madrid in 1977. In 1980, the Vicente Calderón honoured him with a match against a team from the USSR. You know, Transition stuff. 
The three of them dress up as mattresses in the red and white sky. The coronavirus did not spare the veterans, who laid the foundations of something that not everyone can understand. 


The year 2020 was not going to be the year of Real Madrid either. As we toasted with the grapes and tar, we witnessed how you can throw away a league on a Saturday and win it the following Sunday. The coronavirus was coming from the East, like the Three Kings. Lorenzo Sanz was already old when his son Fernando told us in February about LaLiga's expansion in Asia and Africa for Atalayar. The virus took him away and brought him together with the few Real Madrid presidents who have known how to make the club bigger. Now, along with his godfather Ramon Mendoza, he tells Santiago Bernabeu that, 32 years after he lifted the European Cup in Brussels against Partizan, his Real Madrid won the seventh in Amsterdam against Juventus. 


The memories of Goyo Benito were being erased by another unhealthy illness. The coronavirus precipitated his departure. Above, together with Juanito, they will look for an explanation to how they were able to reign in Spain, but they did not manage to conquer Europe in 1981 against a Liverpool that Robinson had not yet reached. 

Heavenly derbies promise more than earthly ones. Down here, the whites and red-whites of today will be able to continue enjoying those fruits or make their memories greater. 

May they rest in peace.