Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pichichi: The myth

La Liga just started and the best strikers of La Liga compete to win the Pichichi award, the top-scorer award given by the sport newspaper Marca. Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Radamel Falcao, Fernando Llorente, Giuseppe Rossi, Roberto Soldado... all of them and some others will try to write their name in golden letters in the history of the Spanish football. Probably some of you already know that Pichichi was an Athletic's forward in the 1910s and the bust that is located in San Mamés since 1926, where every club in invited to leave a bunch of flowers in their first visit to La Catedral of the Spanish football. This is the story of Rafael Moreno Aranzadi, Pichichi.

Rafael Moreno was born in Bilbao, on May 23rd 1892, in the street Santa Maria, 10. His family belonged to the middle class of Bizkaia at the end of the 19th century and his father was a prominent lawyer and secretary of the City Hall of Bilbao. He was relative of the essayist, novelist, poet, playwrite and phylosopher Miguel De Unamuno, one of the most important figures of the literature of Spain of the last century and also a controversial political figure.

Rafael Moreno started to kick the ball in school, in Los Luises, against the team of the Escolapios school. When he grew up, he continued enjoying his hobby in the Campa de los Ingleses, where the current Guggenheim museum of Bilbao is located. All the legends about his nickname Pichichi appear during this time. Some stories tell us that it is just a derivative of pichón, pichín or pichinchu, which are just nicknames that are given to close people with a short height; others come up saying that it was an Athletic scout that paid attention on the unknown kid, writing down the nickname instead of the unknown real name of the boy in the report given to the club; others just defend that it was a way to call the kid of the famous runs in the wing: "There goes the Pichichi".

Rafael Moreno "Pichichi" started to play with Athletic in 1910, when he was 18 years old and was a student of the Deusto University. As player, he got to know three stadiums of Athletic in the early years of their history: Lamiako, Jolaseta (Neguri) and San Mamés. Since the very first day, he appeared as an exceptional football player and, in the first registered column about him, the journalist labelled him as the "King of the shoot". Soon, his teammate showed their admiration for the quality of this player. His cousin, the jesuit Alfonso Maria Moreno wrote the following definition of Rafael Moreno in his book Vivir no es fácil (Living it is not easy):

"My cousin Pichichi is the best Athletic player and the best Spanish player. Everyone says so. He has a tremendous shoot, down on the grass and always on target, impossible for the goal keeper to stop it. But above other aspects, he knows how to dribble as no one else and he is able to run from one goal to the other, with a crew behind him, not losing it, to score one goal after another. Great header, especially in corner kick actions. When Athletic is struggling, the crowd always expect one of the magic moments of Pichich to solve the situation and Mario Ugarte, Rolando and many others shout at him asking for an heroic record. The worst of all is that he sometimes is too individualist and sometimes this is his lost. Many English clubs want to take him there as professional, but he never wanted to leave Bilbao...".

Pichichi was the first player to score a goal in San Mamés, never forgotten in Bilbao. It was the opening day of the stadium, almost 100 years ago, in August 1913, against Racing Santander in a game that ended up with a 1-1 draw.

Rafael Moreno was a myth, a living symbol of Athletic. The  four knot bandage around his head to "protect the head from the sewing of the fooball balls" filled an heroic era in Bilbao, San Mamés and Euskadi. Pichichi won 5 regional tournaments (Campeonato del Norte, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1920 and 1921) and 4 Copas del Rey (1914, 1915, 1916 and 1921), which was the most important tournament of Spain back then.

The fame of Pichichi broke the limits of sport and painters like Arrúe and, especially Arteta made his image stay forever as in the famous painting Idilios en los Camps de Sport (Idyll in the Sport Camps), where the forward was flirting with the young girl, Avelina Rodriguez, who ended up being his wife and mother of one

"Idilios en los Campos de Sport" by Aurelio Arteta

The Olympic Games at Antwerp in 1920 were he enjoyed his last minutes of glory in a career that already was in clear decadence, being Silver medal in the Games.

On May1921, Pichichi retired from football, being 29, and West Ham United was his last victim. He scored 78 goals in 89 appearances for Athletic in regional (Campeonato del Norte) or state tournament (Copa del Rey). But bad luck crossed his way. On February 1922 he ate oyster in bad conditions and ended up suffering from typhus, dying on March 1922. His last words were for his family: "Txomin (a good friend), take care of my wife and daughter.

The fans of Athletic assure that you can change your wife (or she can change you for anyone else), your newspaper, you teeth-brush, the game, friends, car or whiskey... but not my Athletic". Now that we are celebrating the 100 anniversary of Pichichi, no one forgets the myth and the oldest ones still remember the old victorious chant of Teresita Zazá:

Starting with Pichichi,
Ending up with Apón.
Alirón, Alirón,
Athletic, champion!

In 1953, the newspapers Marca and the disappeared Arriba created the unofficial award for the top scorers of La Liga. Unofficial since it is based on the Marca journalist decisions, not the official reports of the referees. The also Athletic player, Telmo Zarra, another legend of Athletic, was the first player to win the award... only the first of the 6 awards he achieved at the end of his career, setting an individual record of goals in one season (38) only beaten by Cristiano Ronaldo's epic record last season (41 goals). Later on, they also recgnized the previous top scorers of La Liga.

List of Pichichi winners:

1928–29Paco BienzobasSpain SpainReal Sociedad14
1929–30Guillermo GorostizaSpain SpainAthletic Bilbao19
1930–31BataSpain SpainAthletic Bilbao27
1931–32Guillermo Gorostiza SpainAthletic Bilbao12
1932–33Manuel Olivares SpainMadrid CF16
1933–34Isidro Lángara SpainOviedo CF27
1934–35Isidro Lángara SpainOviedo CF26
1935-36Isidro Lángara SpainOviedo CF27
1939-40Víctor Unamuno SpainAthletic Bilbao26
1940-41Pruden SpainAtlético Aviación30
1941-42Mundo SpainValencia27
1942-43Mariano Martín SpainBarcelona32
1943-44Mundo SpainValencia27
1944-45Telmo Zarra SpainAtlético Bilbao19
1945-46Telmo Zarra SpainAtlético Bilbao24
1946-47Telmo Zarra SpainAtlético Bilbao34
1947-48Pahiño SpainCelta de Vigo23
1948-49César SpainBarcelona28
1949-50Telmo Zarra SpainAtlético Bilbao25
1950-51Telmo Zarra SpainAtlético Bilbao38
1951-52Pahiño SpainReal Madrid28
1952-53Telmo Zarra SpainAtlético Bilbao24
1953-54Alfredo di Stéfano ArgentinaReal Madrid27
1954-55Juan Arza SpainSevilla28
1955-56Alfredo di Stéfano ArgentinaReal Madrid24
1956-57Alfredo di Stéfano ArgentinaReal Madrid31
1957-58Manuel Badenes SpainReal Valladolid19
Alfredo di Stéfano ArgentinaReal Madrid19
Ricardo SpainValencia19
1958-59Alfredo di Stéfano ArgentinaReal Madrid23
1959-60Ferenc Puskás HungaryReal Madrid26
1960-61Ferenc Puskás HungaryReal Madrid27
1961-62Juan Seminario PeruReal Zaragoza25
1962-63Ferenc Puskás HungaryReal Madrid26
1963-64Ferenc Puskás HungaryReal Madrid20
1964-65Cayetano Ré ParaguayBarcelona25
1965-66Vavá SpainElche19
1966-67Waldo BrazilValencia24
1967-68Fidel Uriarte SpainAtlético Bilbao22
1968-69Amancio SpainReal Madrid14
José Eulogio Gárate SpainAtlético Madrid14
1969-70Amancio SpainReal Madrid16
Luis Aragonés SpainAtlético Madrid16
José Eulogio Gárate SpainAtlético Madrid16
1970-71José Eulogio Gárate SpainAtlético Madrid17
Carles Rexach SpainBarcelona17
1971-72Enrique Porta SpainGranada20
1972-73Marianín SpainReal Oviedo19
1973-74Quini SpainReal Gijón20
1974-75Carlos SpainAtlético Bilbao19
1975-76Quini SpainSporting de Gijón18
1976-77Mario Kempes ArgentinaValencia24
1977-78Mario Kempes ArgentinaValencia28
1978-79Hans Krankl AustriaBarcelona29
1979-80Quini SpainSporting de Gijón24
1980-81Quini SpainBarcelona20
1981-82Quini SpainBarcelona26
1982-83Poli Rincón SpainReal Betis20
1983-84Jorge da Silva UruguayReal Valladolid17
Juanito SpainReal Madrid17
1984-85Hugo Sánchez MexicoAtlético Madrid19
1985-86Hugo Sánchez MexicoReal Madrid22
1986-87Hugo Sánchez MexicoReal Madrid34
1987-88Hugo Sánchez MexicoReal Madrid29
1988-89Baltazar BrazilAtlético Madrid35
1989-90Hugo Sánchez MexicoReal Madrid38
1990-91Emilio Butragueño SpainReal Madrid19
1991-92Manolo SpainAtlético Madrid27
1992-93Bebeto BrazilDeportivo La Coruña29
1993-94Romário BrazilBarcelona30
1994-95Iván Zamorano ChileReal Madrid28
1995-96Juan Antonio Pizzi ArgentinaTenerife31
1996-97Ronaldo BrazilBarcelona34
1997-98Christian Vieri ItalyAtlético Madrid24
1998–99Raúl SpainReal Madrid25
1999–00Salva Ballesta SpainRacing de Santander27
2000–01Raúl SpainReal Madrid24
2001–02Diego Tristán SpainDeportivo La Coruña21
2002–03Roy Makaay NetherlandsDeportivo La Coruña29
2003–04Ronaldo BrazilReal Madrid24
2004–05Diego Forlán UruguayVillarreal25
2005–06Samuel Eto'o CameroonBarcelona26
2006–07Ruud van Nistelrooy NetherlandsReal Madrid25
2007–08Dani Güiza SpainMallorca27
2008–09Diego Forlán UruguayAtlético Madrid32
2009–10Lionel Messi ArgentinaBarcelona34
2010–11Cristiano Ronaldo PortugalReal Madrid41

No comments:

Post a Comment