Jose M. Muria
exico owes many thanks to the Catalans, among which the withdrawal of General Prim i Prats stands out when he did not allow himself to be cajoled by the French and returned the way he came without firing a shot, in 1862, also convincing the English to emulate him and not fall into the crook of the frogs. Likewise, we recognize that a Catalan is the author of the music of our anthem and many other things.
For our part, there is also much to say: I like to remember that Oaxacan soldier named Néstor Sánchez, who fought tirelessly against the Francoists during the so-called Spanish Civil War and welcomed more than 10,000 Catalans of all ages and very different conditions, between 1938 and 1950, and so on. But in this sense, in addition to many others, the visit that Barça made to Mexico in 1937 should be taken into account, known in the great history of said club as
the savior tour.
Indeed, on that same ship called Mexicanwhich in mid-1937 brought the 456 children we have called
from Moreliaamong whom there were many Catalans, the Barcelona soccer team also came to Veracruz to face several Mexican teams.
In addition to the good pesos they won and that, like good Catalans, they knew how to save very well, the bag they took had been enriched by the sale to Mexican clubs of half a dozen players. The most emblematic, both for his great value and for having definitively rooted himself in Mexico, was called Martí Vantolrà, extreme right – most of the time – of Atlante, who, due to his great quality, was nicknamed Teacher.
Lázaro Cárdenas appears here, the great president we had then, since the soccer player contracted a state with a close relative of his. But his participation in the events was much greater, because, with the necessary discretion, keeping his hand low, he was the one who made the conditions of the visit magnificent for the Barcelona Football Club, in addition to the fact that the people, inside and outside of the stadiums, was extremely supportive and kind to the visitors.
Of course, the many gastronomic treats gave rise to the physical condition of the Catalans to decline, which was the cause of a couple of defeats…
After a getaway to New York, also with good results, Barça traveled to France, where they left the dividends stored in a bank. At the triumph of the Francoists, with all Franco’s resentment for the Catalan, the Catalans tightened their nuts as much as possible, but the club managed to survive thanks to the said savings. In other words, it is well recognized that, to a large extent, the Blaugranas were saved thanks to the maneuvers and efforts of the president of Mexico. This is how it is recognized by those who know the matter.
This is what the small and precious book called precisely Barça and Mexico in 1937: Times of Cárdenas, edited by Miguel Ángel Porrúa, whose author, Frederic Porta, is a magnificent Catalan sports journalist with great international projection. Clear remains the participation of our president in said task and how he raffled off, among others, those who tried to thrive in Mexico with said visit at the expense of the needy FC Barcelona box.
In any case, despite the fact that this Mexican adventure is recorded in several books, the truth is that its great magnitude and consequences are not as well known, so that many culés today will also be well aware of what Mexico did in favor of that Catalan emblem that, in one way or another, has become a firm bastion of its nationality.