Almost 100 players went abroad: the worst exodus in history?

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During the pandemic, 97 footballers emigrated and the trend is increasing.

First football is back after seven months. With everyone happy and ready to dispute the Professional League Cup, a reduced format that will have a champion and places in the international cups. However, many footballers will be absent. Between the already distant March of this year and these days of October, almost a hundred (97) of the players who played in the last Super League left the country.

There are heavy names and millionaire sales, such as Lucas Martínez Quarta a la Fiorentina, Adolfo Gaich al CSKA Moscow, Juan Fernando Quintero to Shenzhen de Chinto, Emanuel Reynoso to Minnesota United, Matías Zaracho al Atlético Mineiro The Lucas Robertone al Almeria. Also loans for one year and several completed contracts that made the leap to other leagues in search of greater economic peace of mind.

Of the 97 players who emigrated, 25 are foreigners, which somewhat reduces the exodus of Argentine footballers. However, it is worth asking: Is it a significant exodus? Is it comparable with other moments in Argentine football? Is the economic crisis deepened by the coronavirus pandemic the main question? Will it get worse next year when the contracts that were extended in June end?

There was a slight growth compared to the previous two seasons. The 97 players who left represent 12.3% of those who acted in the 24 teams of the 2019/20 Super League (almost 800 players). The percentage is four percentage points higher than the previous recess, obviously shorter.

Between the end of the 2018/19 Super League and the start of the next one, 76 of the 932 players from the Primera teams went abroad (for comparison, foreign players are also included), that is, 8.1% . A slight drop from the previous year.

It should be remembered that in the 2017/18 season there were 28 teams in the First Division and that is why the number of players who played in the First Division exceeded a thousand: 1083. And in the replacement for the new tournament, 98 players went abroad, just one more than in 2020. That figure represented 9%.

The exodus, yes, is not over yet. Brazilian football has an open pass book and is still tempting several players. The last to leave was Matías Zaracho, from Racing to Atlético Mineiro. Nothing is a casuality. The coach is Argentine Jorge Sampaoli and the team is leader of the Brasileirao together with Inter de Porto Alegre, whose coach is also a compatriot: Eduardo Chacho Coudet.

The termination clauses are a brake on the economic voracity of other leagues. It happens with Ignacio Fernández, from River, wanted by Atlético Mineiro, Inter and Palmeiras, but neither can pay 10 million dollars now. In June 2021 it will drop to 7 million, so maybe in the middle of next year Nacho also emigrate.

There are two main destinations for Argentine players: the rest of America and Europe. The dispute is very even. With the departure of Zaracho to Brazil, 45 footballers continue on their way to the American continent, while 43 crossed the ocean to European countries. Another 9 left for Asia, like the Colombian Juan Fernando Quintero, whose pass to China has just been unlocked.

Argentine talent was always required. It’s not new. From the moment that Enrico Marone Cinzano, the heir to the Italian company Cinzano, linked in the mid-1920s to Torino, saw play Julio Libonatti from Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario and offered him a lot of money to go to Italy. Professional Serie A had not yet been organized, but brown amateurism was more accepted there than here.

Thus, later, there were four Argentines in the selected Italian world champion in 1934. All spring; that is, with Italian roots. However, nothing yet compares to the exodus of the late 1940s, the deep fight that took place between the players and the leaders for union recognition and contractual conditions and, almost in parallel, the new Colombian professional league, not affiliated with FIFA, which was tempting with its dollars.

In 1948 there were 11 Argentines playing in Dimayor, 43 joined in 1949 and another 28 in 1950. In total, 82 Argentines playing in Colombia, most with a past in the First Division. The weight of the names that left say it all: Alfredo Di Stéfano, Adolfo Pedernera, Julio Cozzi, Nestor Rossi, Oscar Tailor, Manuel Giúdice, Angel Perucca, Aristobulus Deambrosi Y René Pontoni, among others.

Italy was also a major destination: there they left Roberto Avallay, Roberto Alarcón, Mario Boyé, José Curti, Juan Carlos Lorenzo, Rinaldo Martino, Mario Sabbatella and Benjamín Santos. The history books say that It was the great exodus, that Argentine football was decimated and that was one of the reasons for the international isolation (absence of the 1950-54 and South American 49-53 World Cups). And it’s not a story: 25% of the First and Second players of the time left.

At the beginning of the 70s, after the World Cup 82 and after 1995 with the application of the Bosman Law in Europe there were always exoduses. Even with differences in quantity and percentages, this 2020 will be remembered, among many other things, as the year that many Argentine soccer players went abroad.



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