Ricardo Bochini is synonymous with Independent. Thanks to the magic of his feet, the Avellaneda club experienced several of its best years, becoming one of the most powerful clubs on the planet. Several years after his retirement, the Bocha was awarded by Athletic Club de Bilbao with the One Club Man 2022, a distinction given to soccer players who spent their entire career in the same institution. “It is awarded to former players and former players who have only worn one shirt in the elite throughout their sporting career and who represent the values attached to our entity,” the Basque team warned on its website.
On the 10th, throughout 20 seasons in the Avellaneda team, he played a total of 714 games and scored 106 goals. Besides conquered 13 titles, where four Libertadores Cups and two Intercontinental Cups stand out (in 1973 they beat Juventus of Italy and in 1984 they won against Liverpool). Besides He was part of the squad of the Argentine team that won the World Cup in Mexico 1986.
In the run-up to the match, several supporters of Rojo (some of the club’s supporters’ clubs in Spain) approached the stadium to pay tribute to the idol. “I only ask God that Bochini play forever, always for Independiente, for all the joy of the people”was one of the hits that sounded in the vicinity of San Mamés.
While some of Bocha’s most emblematic plays and goals were shown on the screens, the Argentine made history by receiving this prestigious award. He walked to the center circle and raised the award, drawing a standing ovation from all present..
It is worth noting that the Argentine is the first South American soccer player to receive the award, symbolized in a metal figure representing a handshake. His name joins that of other legends such as Matt Le Tissier, Paolo Maldini, Sepp Maier, Carles Puyol, Billy McNeill and Ryan Giggs, who also received the award. During the day, the soccer player Jennifer Zietz, 38, who stood out in the 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam of Germany, was also recognized.
Before being applauded by the entire San Mamés prior to the duel between Bilbao and Valencia, Bochini did not hide his happiness: “For me it is a pride to receive this award, which comes from such a great club in the whole world. I will have this award as a memory of the best awards they gave me. It is the first award I receive outside my country, I am very proud. Thanks to Independiente today I am here receiving this award, it was the club of my entire career. It was 20 years defending a shirt with passion, trying to win everything we played. I started as a boy, at 15 years old, and I finished at 37 years old. This award is something that all Independiente fans will enjoy. Hopefully it will be an incentive for other players who change clubs. The fan is the best thing the club has, it’s what one always thought”.
“This is something a bit unusual. Few players have worn just one shirt. I am proud of having spent 20 years in Independiente and of having won so many championships such as Copa Libertadores and receiving the affection of the people, as I receive it to this day despite the fact that I retired a long time ago, there is no money to pay for it”, he remarked. And then he added: “Today is different, we played for the jersey, for the fan who went to the field with cold, heat or rain, who was going to cheer us on and suffered when we lost and celebrated when we won. Today everything changed. It is almost impossible for a player today to be able to play his entire career at a club”.