65,000 fans packed out River Plate’s Estadio Monumental earlier to witness the farewell game of Ariel ‘Burrito’ Ortego. Former team mates and players lined up to pay tribute to the great number 10 who despite having a successful career in Europe could perhaps of made more of his wonderful natural ability.
The game as always in these events was merely a side show to the main star but there were still plenty of familiar faces to keep the fans happy. On Ortega’s side lined up Nahuel Guzman, goalkeeper of Newell’s, Hernan Diaz, Roberto Ayala, Sebastián Domínguez, Juan Pablo Sorin, Juan Sebastian Veron, Gustavo Zapata, Enzo Francescoli, Ignacio Scocco and Javier Saviola. At least for the first half, in the second half Ortega switched to his more recognisable River Plate colours.
On the opposing side representing River were Leandro Chichizola, Paulo Ferrari, Guillermo Rivarola, Ariel Garcé, Nelson Vivas, Eduardo Coudet, Leonardo Astrada, Leonardo Ponzio, Marcelo Gallardo, Manuel Lanzini and Daniel Villalva.
With Ortega switching to play for River in the second half they ran out comfortable 8-2 victors and there was even a touching, goal-scoring cameo for Ortega’s young son, Tomas. It was of course, the friendliest of friendly games but as a celebration of Ortega’s career in front of the fans that love him it was a wonderful tribute.
Ramon Diaz summed up the occasion perfectly:” A great party for a great “. But there were further tributes from those in attendance, and also on Twitter as other former River players saluted El Burrito.
Here are extended “highlights” from the game