Paulo Futre turns 35… as a rojiblanco. More than half of his life, since he arrived at 21, until he surrendered to the club that is part of his heart. The Portuguese language, which was Jesús Gil’s great electoral trump card in 1987, is without a doubt one of the greatest figures in the club’s history and one of the best footballers to wear his shirt. Signed as a European Cup winner with Porto, Futre finished that year 1987 as Silver Ballthe second best footballer in the world behind Ruud Gullit. Subsequently, 215 games came as an Atlético footballer, in which he scored 60 goals between his two different stages as rojiblanco, in addition to multiple assists, and won as rojiblanco two Copas del Rey, in 1991 and 1992, and a League runner-upalso serving as captain.
Futre, an image this season on Atlético membership cards, was accompanied by his family, friends, former teammates, club legends and a large group of Academy players who did not want to miss the event. “Today we pay a heartfelt and well-deserved tribute to a world soccer legend. A player with a rojiblanco heart, the best ambassador and idol in the athletic family. It is the 35th anniversary of his arrival at our club. An authentic man, who has always defended the Atlético shirt with passion, made us vibrate and enjoy like few others and I have the great honor of being his friend and having witnessed his signing. I have also been at the club for 35 years, we have shared a thousand and one stories with Jesús Gil, he is an Atlético and that is how the fans demonstrated it before the September game against Porto. Take care, we don’t want scares like the one from a few months ago (he suffered a heart attack on August 22). Thank you very much for the great afternoons that you have given us, you are loved, admired and this will always be your home”, indicated Enrique Cerezo.
In the derby you have to die on the field
And it was the turn of Paulo Futre. “You have dreams, but you can never imagine something as big as what I am living now. Thank you very much to the entire mattress family, to all the colleagues, without them it would not be possible to be here. A kiss for Chema Candela, Arteche, Marcos Alonso and many more people who are no longer here. And, of course, without the president Jesús Gil I would not be here. And without the Wise Man, Luis Aragonés, either. The first thing I remember upon my arrival is how the most veterans, Arteche, Tomás… told me that here you always have to sweat your shirt, to the last drop. In every game, give everything, but, with respect for the other teams, against Madrid you have to sweat blood, you have to die field. I have listened to it every day and you become obsessed that the first derby was incredible. One of the happiest days, we won 0-4 at the Bernabéu, I played a great game, I knew that I couldn’t fail against Madrid, especially at the Bernabéu. After the second derby at the Bernabéu, historic with the red in the action with Paco Buyo, I began to be more athletic. I came here as a foreigner, a professional who was going to give everything, but From that game I began to live as a mattress player, professional and foreigner, but already as a mattress player. There are no words to thank this hobby. I am 56 years old, in Portugal I cannot go out, because I am active on TV and the children know me. But here I don’t go on TV and the mattress children come and call me Futre. It goes from generation to generation. This is the fans, we are unique”.
The Portuguese was accompanied by members of the current first team such as Koke and Reinildo. The captain described Futre. “A pride to be in such a beautiful act. Since I was little everyone talked about you, you were the idol of many people And I’ll take an anecdote with you from two years ago, before winning the League I received a message sending encouragement to me and to the entire team that gave us strength. You are a legend and an idol for all athletes, we all thank you”.
And if you have to talk about idols and figures in Atlético, nobody like Fernando Torres: “You said it, the Atléticos pass the name of Futre from generation to generation. In my case it was my grandfather who told me about him, I was very young, eight or nine years old. Before it was more difficult to find videos, but it was what my grandfather had told me. Dynamic, passion, as he is athletic, that is why he has been loved and is loved so much. An athlete at heart, though not by birth, he became an athlete at heart. We know that it will never fail us. He was the one who called me when I was sports director to train with the first team and he changed my life”. To which Futre added that “I saw Fernando at the age of 16 and he saw me in Portugal. With all due respect, I told the coach that he is prepared to play with the seniors despite his age. The coach called him 15 days later, he made his debut against Leganés and the next game he scored against Albacete ”.
Tomás: “My kicks came in handy”
Former classmates like Manolo (“I grew up with him, I lived all that experience and I will never forget that in life. And as a person he is a 20, very upright, humane, he gives you everything and I am fortunate to be his friend, he is an ambassador of the values of Atlético, passion, loyalty, feeling… an example for all”); Thomas (“We feel admiration for Paulo. He was a genius and he still is. In the locker room he was also a genius, a crazy genius in his own way and form. An endearing and different person. My kicks came in handy when the defenses entered him tough from Spain I could say, I already train with Tomás ”); Abel Resino (“He won over all his colleagues, he was respected, he was a leader and thank you for being my friend and being a great partner”) or solozabal they were also present.
His son Fabio, now a coach in the lower categories of Atlético, confessed how his father’s name has been transmitted. “There are no words that describe what I can feel when I see the devotion and love of the fans towards my father.. Two years ago in a chat with the fry we talked about who our idols are, and a child lets out that my father is the idol of his father. My father will be from generation to generation. I am very lucky, because my reference in life and in football is in one person, in my father”.
His son Paulo also spoke. “I am Paulo Futre, the other, the one from aliexpress. It’s been many years with this repertoire of jokes. One time I told him that he was the original and I was the white brand and he turned around and he said to me ‘White? It will be red and white. We grew up in many countries, and we saw that the affection of the people in Spain, I did not understand, but I thought that they loved him more than my grandmother. And I said I don’t know why, if he spends the day in his underpants at home. Then he was showing us videos, plays, pipes, simulations of penalties, his class of swimming pools, which he was very proud of. And the passion that the Atleti people transmitted with him I have not seen in other teams, it was extraordinary. He was born in Portugal, I don’t know at what age he found out that Atlético existed, but in the end you give in to the fact that the guy in the pants was very good. They are a love story with Atlético on both sides. He gave us a big scare, but even that he bargained for. It is a great pride to be Paulo Futre, the other one”.
The motivation of Luis Aragonés
Futre also wanted to remember the ability of Luis Aragonés to motivate his players and recalled that anecdote in the 1992 Copa del Rey final. “A game against Madrid is more than a game and a final is much more than a final. On this day, this game, the coach had to be better than ever. He was with Manolo in the room the night before and he had to take a sleeping pill, he was nervous. They knock on my door. The mister, open. I was ko and he raises the blind, grabs a chair and sits next to me. ‘Look into my eyes’, he told me, but the light hurt me. I told him ‘I can’t mister, let me sleep’. ‘Portuguese, look me in the eye. Do you know why I’m here? I want you to tell me the story of Pizo Gómez with the Madrid players’. At that moment I got up and asked him what he wanted to know. He had a rage inside me years later, so much hate. It was two years before. I tell him, ‘Pizo came for training and stopped at a traffic light and four Madrid players stopped next to him. They open the windows and tell him, Pizo, you’re my idol. Can you give me an autograph?’. When Pizo goes for them, because he didn’t care to be one against four, they leave. And he tells us in the locker room.
For everyone it was an insult, not to Pizo, to all of Atlético. To all the team, president and fans. They also messed with his wife. I tell Luis and he told me ‘now you can’t let me down, you can’t let down the president, you can’t let down your teammates, the fans, but especially you can’t let down Pizo Gómez. Because today the Madrid players are going to ask for your autographs after the game. Because he’s going to be the idol after the game. Today it is forbidden to fail’. And he tells Manolo, ‘and you, besides being a witness, can’t fail either.’ That was Louis. Years later I asked him why he woke me up and didn’t wait for breakfast the next day. ‘He wanted me to start playing the final at that moment’, he answered me.