June 26, 2011: Belgrano and River Plate draw 1-1 at El Monumental giving El Pirata a 3-1 victory on aggregate and historically relegating River down to the B Nacional.
January 21, 2019: River Plate finally gets their revenge as they agree to the purchase Belgrano’s best player, Matías Suárez, all but relegating El Celeste back down to the B Nacional.
Oh, the irony.
Belgrano currently sit just inside the relegation zone. After the January transfer window opened, within three days, the club from Córdoba had already brought in seven new players, giving hope to their fans that they just might be able to weather the storm. After all, no other club in or around the relegation zone had a player with the quality and experience of Matías Suárez.
With Suárez now leaving, that hope is all but evaporated.
Born in Córdoba, Matías Suárez made his professional debut with Belgrano in 2005 at the age of 17. In 2008, Europe came calling for the services of El Oreja. He was bought by Anderlecht and spent eight seasons playing in Belgium. During his time with Anderlecht he won the league four times and in 2011 was selected as the Player of the Year in the Belgian First Division.
While with Anderlecht, other clubs from around Europe inquired about Suárez, but his loyalty kept him in Brussels. In 2016, El Oreja returned to Alberdi to play for the club he loves above all other clubs. Belgrano was now established in Argentina’s top flight and regularly competing in the Copa Sudamericana – it seemed like a win-win for both club and player.
Since his return to Belgrano, Suárez has watched his boyhood club plummet down to their current state – clinging for life in the Superliga. Suárez has had offers from other clubs including Coritiba in Brazil and San Lorenzo, but he has always showed his loyalty and devotion to Belgrano. Not only did Matías grow up in Córdoba and debut with Belgrano, he married into one of Córdoba’s royal families. His wife, Magui Olave is a successful cuarteto singer, but more importantly, she is the cousin of one of Córdoba and all of Argentina’s most influential musicians (and enormous Belgrano supporter), the late and great Rodrigo.
When his mother-in-law passed away on the eve of the Clásico Cordobés, Suarez was on the pitch the next day. His love and devotion to El Pirata has never been questioned. Now with his exit from Belgrano, the question will be asked, is Matías a traitor? Is he just another Mauro Zárate?
I cannot speak for all Piratas out there, but my answer is a resounding and unequivocal, no.
It’s unfortunate that Suárez has left Belgrano in the situation they are in. It’s painful to think that because of his departure, Belgrano’s hope of remaining in the Superliga may be gone. But Belgrano is not in a relegation battle because of Suárez. Belgrano is in a position to possibly overcome this relegation fight because of him. Without Matías over the past three seasons, the hope to remain afloat would likely be all but over. Belgrano is where they are today because of a President and club directors that don’t understand football, have never brought the right players, and have never found the right Manager.
Let us never forget, it was not Matías Suárez who decided to hire Lucas Bernardi.
With a price tag of $3 million, River is getting themselves a player who can stand out above anyone else on the pitch. With the right players around him, Matías Suárez can elevate himself and his team. It’s tough to see how Matías will fit into River’s squad – his most likely spot will be coming in off the bench and providing depth for the current Libertadores champions.
As depressing as it is to lose Suárez, his decision is understandable and it’s hard to condemn him for choosing to join River. He deserves the opportunity to progress and further his career with a club that will support him. As painful as the reality is, this day has long been coming and there is no one to blame but Belgrano’s President Jorge Franceschi and those he has surrounded himself with.
It’s a devastating loss for Belgrano and all Piratas, but there are still 10 matches left in the Superliga season – 10 matches for the club to save themselves from relegation. With an additional $3 million dollars in their pockets, now is the time for Belgrano to be aggressive, purchase the right players and fight for the right to remain in the Superliga.
Jimmy lived in Córdoba, Argentina as a teenager and is still an active Socio for his beloved club, Belgrano. He currently lives in Seattle, WA and loves to write about football when he has a break from work and family. He also runs the Belgrano – English twitter account.