SportsHand of the Levant and fall of Caesar

Hand of the Levant and fall of Caesar



The name of César, affectionately known by the fans as El Pelucas for his early baldness, rang again recently because his scoring record at Barça (230 goals between 1942 and 1955) had survived until Messi. He was a legendary center forward, elegant and scorer, the axis of that attack that Serrat sang.

Once he had left Barça, he renewed his celebrity by promoting Elche in two seasons, from Third to First, as a player-coach. Never before had Elche been in the First Division. That was so notorious that Barça fans of the time still share their passion for Barcelona with the one they feel for Elche.

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Then he coached Zaragoza. The Los Magníficos team was gestating and led them to their first Cup final, that of 1963, against Barça. Before the game they offered him to coach his old club after the summer. “I would go back to Barça even if I was a janitor,” he said. The culé club suffered a post Helenio Herrera trauma on the bench, where two legends, José Gonzalvo and Kubala, had successively punctured. Barça won the final and in Zaragoza many blamed César.

His first year was not the height of happiness, as he ended up blank, but it turned out decent: runner-up in the League, four points behind Madrid, and a Cup semi-finalist against Zaragoza, precisely. In the Recopa he fell to a power, Uwe Seeler’s Hamburg.

In other words, neither good nor bad. But his spirit was appreciated, he seemed to be carrying out a good renovation (the Sadurní, Eladio, Fusté, Zaldúa were entering, to whom Rifé and Zaballa would join that year …) and he continued. For 64-65 he would count on Seminario, a great Paraguayan striker who finally arrived at Barça after a long dispute with Zaragoza for a double contract that led him to play a year at Sporting de Portugal. Seminario had been top scorer with the Aragonese in 61-62.

Barça started dull: two victories at home and two defeats away. On October 11, 1964, the same as the opening of the Tokyo Games, it was his turn to visit Levante in the now-defunct Vallejo field. Levante had a draw and three defeats and had not yet scored a goal. For Barça it seemed an easy way out. He also came from eliminating Fiorentina from the Fairs Cup, with a 0-2 there, both from Seminary.

Levante went out with Fernández; Victoriero, Gatell, Calpe; Vidal, Carlos; Domínguez, Marañón, Torrents, Wanderley and Serafín. For Barcelona, ​​who wore white, which he used frequently as a second color then, Sadurní played; Foncho, Olivella, Eladio; Vergés, Torrents; Zaballa, Pereda, Seminario, Fusté and Re. Names almost all whose prestige remains in the memory.

It was a culé debacle. Levante opened the scoring at 7 ‘; in the 32 ′ the thing was already 3-0. This is how it came to rest and back, the same: in 60 ′ the fifth had fallen. Shortly after, Fusté scored a penalty. Total, 5-1. The bomb of the day.

The president, Llaudet, attended the match. When he returned to the hotel ready to demand an explanation, he found no one. He waited… hours. They all dined out, many lengthened the night. He returned enraged and after a board meeting the club issued this note on Tuesday: “As a consequence of the result of the match played last Sunday against UD Levante, and knowing the details of the poor demonstration of the game offered by our team, totally in disagreement with the professional category of its components, with the prestige of our entity and with the respect that its associates and its mass of supporters deserve, the strong financial sanction is imposed on the coach and the players who acted in the game in question ”.

The fine was 25,000 pesetas for each player, and 50,000 for César. A severe amount for the time. César was upset that the sanction had been made public without listening to him: “I trust that those who made the agreement will be kind enough to communicate it to me verbally or in writing, and then I think I will have the option of expressing my point of view.”

He resigned. He was succeeded by Sasot, who trained the Condal, the subsidiary. Barça would finish the League 15 points behind Madrid, in the Fairs Cup they fell against modest Strasbourg and in the Cup, again against Zaragoza, with a double defeat, 6-4 and 0-1. For his part, on January 17, 1965 César signed for Mallorca, in the Second Division, which he would be promoted to First.

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