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Hugo Sotil gave Peru the Copa América del 75 after escaping from Barça

Hugo Sotil gave Peru the Copa América del 75 after escaping from Barça
Cholo Sotil escaped from Barcelona's concentration to give Peru the Copa América de 1975. PHOTO: RPP.PE

Hugo Sotil better known as ‘Cholo’ starred in an event that would be very difficult to imagine in modern football. It was the month of October of the year 1975, the spanish league was on, and between game and game, the player who played for FC Barcelona made a break. The particular is the reason why, without permission from the Catalan club, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to go to play in Caracas. I wanted to play the final of the Copa America 1975 with Peru. And it went well because he scored the decisive goal.

By then, the Copa América did not have a fixed venue and was played in a double game. That edition coincided on the calendar with the Spanish first division, competition in the competition as part of the Barça squad. From Europe he had to follow the march of his teammates from the Franco-red team, that in the distance rounds were passing.

The Peruvian team was very talented, with players like Teofilo Cubillas, Juan Carlos Oblitas u Oswaldo Ramirez, and walked through the tournament with a firm step. The final round has arrived, with the first game in Bogotá and Colombia's victory for 1-0. In the return match, the Peruvians asserted the field factor in Lima and won by 2-0. At that time, the global goal difference was not taken into account and the Cup would be decided in a match on neutral ground., in the Venezuelan capital.

Hugo Sotil and his lightning journey across the Atlantic

At that moment, Hugo Sotil He made the decision not to miss that historic occasion and since in the days of the final he had no match with the Blaugrana club, He packed up, boarded a plane to cross the Atlantic, and was planted in Caracas. As the player has commented to the press of his country, He did it without asking Barça for permission. An adventure that made him arrive with little time to concentrate. yes, He remembered his classmates and brought them a watch for each of them.

Despite the vicissitudes, Sotil started and in the minute 25 scored the goal that would end up being the only goal in the tiebreaker match. Peru added its second Copa América but ‘Cholo’ He did not have time for celebrations because he immediately traveled back to the Catalan capital. There, he explained, punishment was expected from the club. But nevertheless, he found that they even congratulated him.

This posture will surely surprise; It may be that the club managers took into account the importance it had for the player's spirit. The quality of Sotil made him stop at FC Barcelona, where it coincided with two stars of the moment from Dutch lands Johan Cruyff Y Johan Neeskens. In Spain he won the league of the year 1974.

What the Peruvian striker did would be inconceivable today. Before the calls for national teams for international matches, Players should go even if the clubs they have a contract with are not very funny. But today's football is different from that of so many decades ago, when, in addition, transoceanic trips were not as simple as now. For Sotil it was not an impediment to fulfill the dream of winning a competition with his team.

Damián Sancho

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