The pitches we played in

When I hear some commentary on the state of the fields in which currently soccer takes place, I remember the conditions they showed during my time as a player. It was a mixture of grass and soil to which the process of running a roller before the game was going to submit an acceptable initial appearance in most stadiums. To this we can add that, especially in the north of the peninsula, the fields were irrigated copiously during the night before the game, so after a few minutes, the status of the field was impracticable. Although we knew conclusively that the weather had been superb throughout the week when we asked about the state of the pitch always were getting the same answer: it has rained a lot tonight.

This practice had to be immediately due rose the grass and we had to run on a sticky mud which made very difficult to simply move, let alone control the ball. This leads me to recall an anecdote concerning a Brazilian player who joined the RM, Waldir Pereira “Didi” excellent Brazilian player who arrived in 1959. In a match of “cold and mud”, I remember him out onto the pitch, very elegant with his immaculate white uniform. In the first minutes he performed a very good shot although neither we nor our rivals returned to hear from him for the rest of the game. When we went to the changing room we could see the contrast of his uniform in the same immaculate condition than at the beginning, with the rest of the team completely covered with mud. He received many jokes about assuming that he had stuck in the mud, unable to move during the rest of the game. He did not keep pace with team play and left the next year….


Travelling in sleeping car

I have to refer to the trips during my player time. Needless to say, the transport had nothing to do with the current. It was customary in the Real Madrid to perform commuting by train the night before the game. Although you may say that it was a form of travel of the most comfortable for the time, as players, coach and delegate, we had our disposal sleeper, however this was a source of some complaints. Usually the coach and turn delegate conducting a raffle beds but a widespread complaint was that they always played some center and other above the wheels.

Anyone who has traveled in sleeper know what I mean and the huge difference between traveling in the center of the car or go bouncing on the ends above the bogie. But this was compensated by the possibilities of revelry that provided the fact travelling together.


Incident in the Bermuda Triangle

It was in the 60s when a preseason trip. We landed in Santo Domingo and then restart the flight bound for New York. At that time it had become fashionable speculation about alleged mysterious disappearances of ships and aircraft in the near Bermuda geographic area, so they started talking about the Bermuda Triangle. I slept, but at the time the flight attendants were serving lunch a terrible jolt made me awake and could see the unusual spectacle of flying trays pouring its contents over the heads of the passengers. There were moments of panic and confusion, some praying, others wept, others shouted, thinking we were going to swell the statistics of disappearances in this area of sinister reputation. Thanks to the skills of the pilot fortunately the only consequences were the shock and little collateral damage as the ruin of lady’s hairstyles that had taken the scale to go to the hairdresser and that most of the passage we were without food. The pilot told us afterwards that we had suddenly dropped 5000 feet. Thus, I can say that I had my own experience in the famous triangle and I can tell.


Conflicting move

In all competitions, sporadically, moves that cause controversy occur. In some cases the difficulty of assessing some action that happens quickly or some obvious errors by the referee. Of all the games I’ve played one has stuck in my mind. It happened during a tour of Real Madrid to South America, where a referee had so manifest even comical error. During this tour we played a game against the Chilean club Colo Colo in the National Stadium in Chile. At that time the photographers were installed behind the baseline and after an attack from the opposing team, the ball went out on such a line. One of the photographers returned the ball to the field giving sufficient effect, the style of the play called “Olympic goal”, to put it into the goal. The referee gave good goal producing such a fuss by our logical complaining that the game was suspended for half an hour.


Brawl with the selection of Uruguay

Different ways to celebrate the goals have become popular among the players. I recommend them to show some restraint in their celebrations, as the same gesture can have different meanings depending on which country you are, and may be offensive to both opposing players and their supporters.
As example I remember a match for Uruguay in Lima during which a large brawl took place with invasion of the field by the spectators. The prevailing custom in those days at least among my peers was to grab his shirt and lift to the face without any offensive meaning. But this gesture was interpreted by fans as obscene gesture to show “attributes” which caused the anger of the stadium. About to finish the game one of my teammates scored a goal, celebrated it and retired immediately to the locker room totally unconscious of the effect he had produced. Myself and two of my colleagues stayed behind alone facing the danger, attending the show of spectators invading the field in ever greater numbers, with the clear intention of attacking us. Fortunately through a combination of cunning to find the gaps and keep track of the exit we managed to get to it and escape unscathed. Back in the locker room we met our fellow who was totally oblivious to what had occurred.