On Sunday, March 4, 1973, exactly 50 years ago, the Metropolitan Championship of that year began. And two games focused the greatest interest: as in the 1972 Nacional, at the Monumental River and Boca they started a tournament again. And on the Atlanta field, in Villa Crespo, All Boys debuted in the First Division in the professional cycle against San Lorenzo, two-time champion Juan Carlos Lorenzo.
But the definitive mark in history was left by the one who played in Parque Patricios, Huracán and Argentinos Juniors. Hurricane won 6-1. And it was a football show, a show for sensitive spirits, top hat and cane. The starting point of one of the best teams of all time, for some the best: the 1973 champion Huracán, designed, assembled and directed by Cesar Luis Menotti, It is still an unavoidable reference when in Argentina football becomes game, emotion, beauty, identity and neighborhood belonging.
“Because of the proposal, for me it was the best team there was”, Miguel Angel Brindisi, one of its great stars, says with the distance granted by the passing of the years. And for that Hurricane to have been what it was and continue to penetrate so deeply into soccer sensibility, several coordinates coincided: the firm footballing idea of a 34-year-old Menotti, full of concerns, questions and answers, two notable midfielders, with different characteristics, but both in the best moment of their careers as Miguel Brindisi and Charles Babingtona handsome center forward, very fast and a scorer like Roque Avallay, another flyer like Omar Larrosa who helped in the generation of play, but who also scored a lot (in fact, he was the goalscorer of the campaign with 15 goals), the experience and personality of Alfio Basile propping up the team from the bottom, the solvency of Jorge Carrascosa as a left back. And a genius capable of dribbling in the wind: René Houseman.
Menotti took over as technical director at Huracán on May 2, 1971. At that time he was Miguel Antonio “el Gitano” Juárez’s field assistant at Newell’s and came in as a replacement for Osvaldo Zubeldía, whose field assistant was Carlos Salvador Bilardo. AND In 1972, his work began to bear fruit: Huracán came third in the Metropolitano and in zone B of the Nacional, and turned the Tomas Adolfo Ducó stadium in Parque Patricios into a fortress: there they thrashed Boca 5-1 and the champion, San Lorenzo, 3-0.
In the 1973 preseason, Menotti let Brazilian right winger Marcos Pereira Martins go, replacing him with Houseman who had just been a Primera C champion with Defensores de Belgrano. And with the sides covered by the Uruguayan former Racing Nelson Chabay and Carrascosa, he put together the base team that still comes from memory: Roganti, Chabay, Buglione, Basile, Carrascosa; Brindisi, Russo, Babington; Houseman, Avallay and Larrosa.
The first round was overwhelming: they thrashed Argentinos 6-1, Atlanta 5-2, Racing 5-0, Ferro 5-2 and Central 5-0 in a colossal performance that the Central fans fired standing up in full rosary beads. Touch and touch all over the pitch, luxuries and goals, individual inspiration and collective performance. They only lost 1-0 with River at the Monumentalan afternoon in which “Perico” Pérez, a specialist from the twelve steps, saved Brindisi two penalties, and 4-1 with Boca in the Bombonera and the first half was awarded with 25 points, two behind Independiente.
The team dismembered in the second round. Enrique Omar Sívori was preparing the Argentine National Team to play the Qualifiers for the 1974 World Cup in Germany, and he had no better idea than taking four of the five forwards: Brindisi, Avallay and Babington were not in the last twelve days, Houseman returned before. And with the substitutes, it was no longer the same: the team that was thrashing went on to win with just enough 1-0 and without shining, or to draw without goals. There was no longer a place for those luxuries, only for efficiency: even so, he came out champion with 46 points, four behind Boca. It was the first and so far only Huracán title in professionalism. And so it was celebrated. On the court and in the streets of a bandoneon and pelota neighborhood, the neighborhood of Ringo Bonavena.
It may not be so risky to say that Hurricane ’73 was the zero kilometer of the process that, five years later, led Argentina to win its first world title. In 1974, a year later, the club’s own president, David Bracuto, at the helm of the AFA, named Menotti at the helm of the Argentine National Team that would be world champion. In the history of football, that Hurricane of poets and madmen was a flash. But its splendor was so strong that, 50 years later, it still dazzles the eyes of its fans and the soccer memory of Argentines.