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“I remember 6-1 like it was yesterday” |

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SPORTARAGON INTERVIEW

15 years later, the former Brazilian striker of Real Zaragoza remembers with emotion the historic victory in the Cup semifinals against Real Madrid

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Fifteen years ago, on February 15, 2006, a historic event took place in Romareda. That 6-1 to Real Madrid was not a title, but his memory will be transmitted from generation to generation with a greater voice than some trophies. From a beach in Salvador Bahia, one of the main protagonists of that night, the double-scorer Ewerthon Henrique de Souza is excited to go back 15 years ago. “I remember it like it was yesterday. It was something spectacular. When the day came to play against Real Madrid of the Galacticos we knew it was going to be very difficult, but we had a fantastic night ”.

The game was the highest point, but the road already awakened a certain story. Eliminate Atlético de Madrid in the round of 16 (0-1 at the Vicente Calderón) and the almighty Barça of Ronaldinho and Rijkaard, who that same year would be proclaimed European champion. 4-2, in a Romareda that already smelled epic.

“We study Real Madrid very well. Up they were a great team with the galacticos, but in their marking without the ball they were not so good. They left a lot of spaces. I remember that Diego Milito and I played very comfortable outside the area that day. We entered the game better than they did and to what they tried to react we were already 3-0 ”. A long pass from Ponzio down the right wing led to a physical dispute between Ewerthon and Helguera. In the duel at speed, the Real Madrid center-back had to grab the Real Zaragoza forward to try to stop him. The result sent Helguera to the ground and the arrow assisted Milito for the first. The boot promised.

“We were a team that had a very simple way of playing. Each one from his position knew what to do. We played offensive football, but it was simple because we had great possibilities up front. We had Diego who scored a lot of goals. I was a man of great speed and in addition to scoring goals I could create plays outside the area, Cani from behind had a lot of fantasy and Albert Celades in midfield was always putting good balls forward ”.

This is how Ewerthon sums up a team capable of scoring a set for Real Madrid by Ronaldo, Beckham, Zidane, Guti or a teenager Sergio Ramos, who was surpassed by one of the most remembered pairs of strikers in Spanish football: Diego Milito-Ewerthon. However, in the Aragonese capital there was always a rumor that they did not get along. That the Brazilian did not want to play in band (finally both cohabited in a 4-4-2).

“We were an incredible couple. We were not selfish. I was a player who went out of the area more to the sides to attack the depth and Diego was in the center. We always got on very well on the pitch. Our personal relationship was good. But there were times when we didn’t agree. Something normal when you are in a group. Outside the field I made my life and he his. He is Argentine, I am Brazilian, each one had his philosophy of life. But I insist within the field we were great partners. In fact, if you review the goal history, half of each was assisted by the other.

A duo that was the delight of the night. Diego Milito’s four goals were subtly adorned with Ewerthon’s double. For the eternal I remember that shot from a boat soon of a supernatural parable that scored the 6-1. “Maybe it was the best goal of my career” the Brazilian points out. “There wasn’t much celebration because we knew we were going to have a very difficult second leg. So it was. Notice that in the opening minutes I scored a legal goal and it was annulled for offside. It would have been the end of the tie, but the referee was wrong. They squeezed us a lot. After 10 minutes we were 3-0 and it is true that we felt nervous on the field. But in the end we got through ”.

Diego Milito and Ewerthon calling for calm after a Real Madrid goal in the second leg | Getty Images

Despite holding out and qualifying for the final, not all fairy tales have a happy ending. After eliminating three historical players, a Espanyol was presented at the bottom of the table. The finals are not played, they are won, and Espanyol gave the surprise. “It was very sad to lose the final. We had made a very special Copa del Rey. Everything went well for Espanyol and we didn’t. Our goalkeeper sent off after 1-0. Playing with ten players… We lacked rhythm, too. During the rest of the tournament we played Wednesday the Cup, Sunday League. And the final was two months later, while we no longer played anything in the League … We arrived somewhat disconnected ” Ewerthon indicates in a tone of voice unable to hide some pity.

“After 6-1 I had offers, yes. Valencia called me and some teams from outside Spain. But of course, it was a time when passports were limited. One of the most special things I remember around that time was with Pekerman. At that time he was the coach of the Argentine national team and he went to see the Milito and Ponzio. After a game at the hotel for dinner he looked me in the eye and told me sincerely that if instead of being a Brazilian he had been born in Argentina, he would have played the World Cup in Germany ”. Very revealing words those of a Pekerman that precisely that year did not summon Diego Milito for the World Cup.

The history of “the arrow” is not only limited to the 2005-2006 season and that winter night in which the flame of football prevented any hint of cold from being felt in the stands. The following year Real Zaragoza, with Víctor Fernández at the helm, achieved the desired regularity in the league. “It was an excellent season. I had a lot of injuries personally, but the team worked very well and qualified to play a European competition”.

Although one of the most special seasons was felt in the Second Division. An act of faith and commitment that returned the Aragonese club to the place it deserves in a single campaign. I had a very important offer from Stuttgart to which I was loaned. When I return I said that even though it was Second Division I wanted to stay. I scored 28 goals. I was also one of the team captains and that was very important to me ”.

Ewerthon
Ewerthon, arm armband celebrating a goal in his season in the Second Division | Photo: Alfonso Reyes

Keeping the talk is undeniable to appreciate with nostalgia and pity a much sweeter time than the present. In which Real Zaragoza intimidated and in which a neglect of relegation was quickly fixed with a season of vertigo. Eight seasons later, Real Zaragoza is still in Second, and the only illusion for the next few months is to remain one more in the category. “I follow Real Zaragoza from afar. The problem has been the terrible management of its former president, Agapito Iglesias, who ruined the club. Notice that I left Real Zaragoza for this issue too. In Second Division I played all season without charging a single euro. I received that salary several years later … ” Ewerthon acknowledges.

“I have a lot of affection for Zaragoza. Normally before the pandemic I used to go once a year. I left many friends and was very comfortable off the field. That’s the most important thing, because football is the same everywhere, but having a happy social life is sometimes more complicated ”. The Real Zaragoza fans are like the Brazilian fans, they like beautiful football. I loved the nickname they gave me.

The celebration after 6-1. A “magical” night in the words of Ewerthon and for any Zaragocista

Retired from football for years “the arrow” has taken the rest he deserved. He talks about matches on a Brazilian television and lives a quiet life close to his family. Recognize that your heart is divided into three parts. Corinthians, the club that saw him born, Borrussia Dortmund, where he landed in European football and won a Bundesliga, and Real Zaragoza, home to nines. Although few as special and charismatic as Ewerthon, able to shine before the greats and put on the hero’s cape to get the club out of the well.

Don’t miss #UniversoRomareda, the best podcast about RealZaragoza! Every Thursday at 22:00

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