“I imagine a very stressful day, but I’m going to enjoy it because I’d love to see my teammates by my side”, Leonardo Ponzio is already counting down the hours for a moment that he certainly didn’t imagine when he dreamed of being a footballer. The boy who ran through the dirt roads of Las Rosas in Santa Fe envisioned being a champion, perhaps reaching the first division, playing for Europe and the national team. But that illusion was never so great as to think that a day would come when he would become the player with the most titles in River’s history. But it happened. Not only did he hail the 17-time champion, but he was also the benchmark, captain and symbol of the most illustrious stage of millionaires.
For that reason, this Wednesday, September 21, he will also join a select group of players who had a farewell match at the memorial, something that will make him go from here to there, a night between invitations, interviews and adjustments of details. was for So unforgettable that he had to live on his two feet in Nez, which occupied 12 years of his life.
“The river is everything to me”, Ponzio confesses to La Pagina Millonaria. “At the football level, it gave me the opportunity to enjoy a great team, fight every weekend. And in my life, in all my years of professionalism, more than half were in the river, It’s part of my history in football“Let’s give a description of the lion, before doing a separate thing to review those years painted in red and white.
-Who produced the best partner and who made the worst?
-Two goalkeepers: Barovaro made very good stings as he was clean and The one who didn’t know was Julito Chiarini… The partner takes sweets. He used to drink alone, he could not drink.
– Who was the funniest or jodan mate?
– Characters always appear in the locker room … the youngest, usually due to unconsciousness. but Julio Chiarini … Cordovan was quite the jodan,
– Have you ever been the target of a prank?
-nerd. I didn’t have to mess with anybody, take charge, so I wasn’t the center of the joke because I was always respectful.
-And the most serious partner?
Mati Suarez was quiet, but nice people. Edu Tuzio was also very calm,
– With Suarez, being a reference, did you try to integrate him?
– He integrated himself, the point is that he was silent, shy, he speaks when he has to.
– Did you get to the locker room first?
– He was one of the first to come, but he was also one of the first to leave. I thought I had to arrive early because I liked it, but later I showered, had lunch, spent time with the waiters and cooks, but I didn’t spend much time in the locker room.
– Are you ever late?
-no not really. I am punctual, I like punctuality, I find it a sign of respect.
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-How did you leave the campus WhatsApp group? Did you warn or did you delete yourself outright?
-No, we already said Happy New Year to everyone, I spoke differently to others and nothing else, I gave up like many others because this is the reality.
-The best player with whom you participated in Rivers?
-It’s hard… I shared with Ariel and The biggest thing is to say Ortega to the river, I shared with very good strikers like Fer Cavanaugh… I always stress that I shared with kids who grew up a lot. From Lanzini to Julian who is now gone.
-River 2015 Vs River 2018: Who Won?
– There are two differences. In 2015 there were six or seven players in a single game, tough, running and scoring. This gave us the Copa Libertadores way to play it. In 2018 it was not the same defensively, but there were players with other legs and further it was played differently than in 2015. Surely it will be a great game, but was created through a force, putting in, running and always being present; And another with a different game, which was better to see around there.
If I were to play for the 2015 team, I would have gone looking for Juanfer or PT first. And if he had been on the 2018 team, he would have caught either Teo or Negrito Sanchez. That would be the Achilles heel.
– What title did you celebrate the most with River?
,Mendoza Super Cup We celebrated it a lot because it was the first title to beat a classic rival and then the celebration that means a lot to us and the people is Libertadores.
-A target in the river?
I got a chance to score two goals against Boca, I liked the second very much.
-The most painful defeat?
,In 2017, against Lanús. As for how the match went, it was a huge palazzo.
-More than the cup final against Flamengo?
If for me. In 2019, well played, better done, leaves you with something. But in 2017 we played well and In a moment it felt like everything had stopped And when we realized it, we lost everything and found ourselves in the locker room.
Who did you give the worst kick to?
I don’t know which one was the worst. Perhaps there was a time in Libertadores when he fought hard against the Brazilians in a 205 against Boca, against the Tigres. Not because of a kick, but he pushed hard.
-Have you had a fight with an opponent?
-No, I wasn’t going to look for the player. The games were delivered like this and you entered friction, but there was no special pic. I am not one of them.
– Who was the toughest opponent to face?
– I had the opportunity to play against Barca in Zaragoza with Messi and Ronaldinho, Xavi, Deco, Ato’o … It was one of the most difficult.
Did you have a bad time in the game?
-Yes, I lost 6-0 and you know the second one is the best.
I once threw a pineapple at Dani Alves… when your computer is turned off and you don’t know what to do… we were losing 2-0, a normal match and when the computer shut down.. Then you say “For what?” I was spoiled.
-Have you changed a lot of shirts?
– Yes, I have Zidane, Messi, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Edgard David… I have a lot from that time playing in Zaragoza. I have three from Messi. I also have Ortega, when we play against each other. When I faced him playing for Newell, I asked him for it.
Your best game in the river?
Definitely there with Cruzeiro, in the 2015 Libertadores, which we won 3-0. It was a good game, we went out to put pressure on him, put him on all sides. I played a little loose, not a 5 position.
-And the worst game?
-We’ve gone to Bahia Blanca, an ugly match with Olimpo (0-4 in the 2007 Apertura). One after another we lost 3-1 to San Martín de Tucumán (Apertura 2008), a very hot day… we lost badly.
– With whom did you focus?
-With Indio Vega, Nico Domingo, Piri Vangioni, Nacho Scocco and then because of the pandemic alone and then we continued like that.
-Did you get along with everyone or did someone bother you with the music, with the lights?
Yes, he had good relations with everyone. That’s what we always saw on TV with Nacho and Nico Domingo, El Indio was cool, Piri fell asleep, he didn’t bother you, was very calm.
– What did you like to do in concentration?
,any. Drink man, watch TV and nothing more. He focused a lot in the final half because there were games on Wednesday and Sunday, but it was short because it was from one day to the next. It got longer in the preseason.
Have you never been able to sleep before a match?
– No, I was sleeping, slept peacefully. The game was not spinning in my mind.
-And there were allies who did?
-Yes, For some it was difficult, but with a dormicum it was already there. You fixed it fast.
– What joke do you remember from concentration?
-I was one of those people who gathered in the room to drink mate, chatted a little. The children, going to wake someone up, to turn the bed, made jokes. But between them. He didn’t play with the big guys.
– He respected you.
The truth is that they respected us.
I saw him as coach and president, and I feel very respected. And also, as a reference, he was one of the best centre-backs in the world.
A man who was just starting out with us, but you could see the ability and demand to get things done.
– He was with Pipo for a short time. Just preseason and I was injured, I broke my third metatarsal so I trained separately.
He is very similar to me, very human. He captured the moment where he was with her.
– O mind?
-Good. I didn’t get a chance to play the first tournament, the second a little bit and then technical decisions pushed me not to play anymore. And got there.
It caught me at the right time, a little over 30 years old, where one could start to think differently. He taught me to play as a 5, to have benchmarks in many respects and that was a big part of what I did in the river.
What was the happiest moment in the river?
You always choose when you win the title, but for me it was To be able to be a champion. This made me very happy. This was the desired ending.
Are you coming back from another place soon?
I imagine that after spending all these moments I will look for something that will catch me. After the World Cup, I will look for a place, hopefully in the river, to be able to work in the field of technical secretariat, manager, sports secretary … But not to ride head on but to be able to be in a group, to help and express what one feels.
How to watch Leo Ponzio’s farewell match?
This Wednesday, September 21, starting at 9:00 p.m., the memorial will be ready to say goodbye to the footballer with the most titles in the history of the river. And those who can’t be there will have to sit in front of the screen to watch the game via Star+, which will be in charge of the live broadcast.