The ‘Eternal Captain’ says goodbye before more than 40,000 people in a tribute meeting
The most successful player in the history of the ‘Millionaire’, with 14 titles, played with numerous legends of the red stripe
Leonard Ponzio lived his big night football farewell in its tribute party played this Wednesday against more than 40 thousand people in the Monumental Stadium of the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Núñez, in a meeting that brought together legends and friends of the “Eternal Captain”, as he was called on this special day for the Millionaire emblem.
The player who emerged from Newell’s Old Boys and who played eight seasons at Real Zaragoza was the main protagonist of a night that began with an impressive show of lights and pyrotechnics that served to raise the curtain on a very exciting day and the stellar entry of Ponzio to the Monumental. “You made me like this, thank you very much. You gave me human value. I never dreamed of this. I am adopted in this house and I don’t know how to explain what I feel. I think this exceeded all my expectations,” were among the few words that Ponzio was able to sketch before kickoff with a voice cracking with emotion.
The most successful player in the history of River with 14 titles He received a plaque before the meeting from the current millionaire president, Jorge Brito, and his predecessor, Rodolfo D’Onofrio. The ‘León’ played 358 games and scored 10 goals in the two seasons he played between 2007-2009 and then since his return in 2012 to play in the promotion of the second part of Nacional B until his retirement.
Ponzio began his career at Newell’s in 2000, was champion with the Argentine Sub’20 in 2001 and played nearly 250 games in Zaragoza in 10 seasons, although his career will always be linked to River and that is why his well-deserved farewell party .
After the rituals, it was the turn of the ball, which was caressed for the last time as a player by Leonardo Ponzio, whose last official match was on December 18, 2021 against Colón de Santa Fe for the Champions Trophy, when the Millionaire won 4-0 and the ‘Eternal Captain’ had replaced Enzo Fernández to add his last medal.
The Uruguayans Enzo Francescoli and Sebastian Abreu, Maximiliano Rodríguez, Leonardo Astrada, Andrés D’Alessandro, Fernando Cavenaghi, Ariel Ortega, Marcelo Gallardo, the Colombian Juan Fernando Quintero, Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Fernández, Enzo Pérez, Lucas Pratto, Alejandro Domínguez, Ignacio Scocco, Javier Pinola, the brothers Diego and Gabriel Milito, Fernando Belluschi were some of the stars of the first half, which ended 6-5 in favor of the traditional jersey team. In the red jersey team, one of the goals was the work of a penalty by Leo Ponzio himself, who was honored in the 23rd minute with a standing ovation and with posters in the stadium that read “Leo Ponzio, the most champion & rdquor ;, “Eternal Captain & rdquor; and “23″, and a song that prayed “that hand in hand, by Leo Ponzio, we will all turn around”.
In the second half there was an emotional moment when Augusto Batalla left the goal and gave his place to Enzo Pérez, recalling that remembered night when the midfielder on that May 19, 2021 occupied the ‘millionaire’ door in the Copa Libertadores against Independiente Santa Faith. It was precisely the great protagonist of the night, Leo Ponzio, who gave himself the pleasure of stopping a penalty from Enzo Pérez himself until in the 23rd minute the daughter of the honoree, Paula entered the field to hug her father and in the emblematic minute, referee Pablo Lunatti’s whistle determined the end of a very special night that ended with a song sung by Soledad Pastorutti. “More than dreamed of today. I hope it happens again because this is inexplicable. Thank you all. Now I am indebted to all of you for all the love I received today because it is so great. Thank you for making me live a magical and unique night & rdquor ;, were Ponzio’s farewell words in an emotional hug with his daughter.