Steaua And River Plate:25 Years Later

1986 was the year in which Steaua Bucharest and River Plate played the Intercontinental Cup final;25 years later,things changed dramatically for both clubs December 1986;Steaua Bucharest,the first Eastern European team to win the European Championsí Cup,and River Plate,winner of Copa Libertadores,met in Tokyo to establish which club would be the world champion for that year.The match was played at an early hour in the morning in Romania,and as usual,Romanian television didnít show that event live.It was shown recorded in the afternoon,and even if somebody said that the final score had been
1-0 for River,I didnít believe it and I watched the entire game.It was a very tight match,in which Steaua was denied a goal scored by Belodedici for an offside which didnít exist,and River won with a goal scored by Alzamendi.I was sad,but proud at the end,because Steaua had played really well,but luck hadnít been on its side 25 years later,these two legendary clubs are crying for their lost glory;River Plate goes through the most embarrassing moments of its centennial existence after being relegated for the first time in its fabulous history.Not even the bizarre relegation system existing in Argentina,which takes into account the average of points recorded in the last three seasons,and which was designed precisely to help big clubs in trouble,could save

them.While River fans went on a rampage and caused chaos on the streets of Buenos Aires,the fans of their huge rival Boca Juniors were celebrating.One thing is clear:there will be no Boca-River derbies next season,sad but true. Steaua Bucharest is now a shadow of the team which stunned Europe in the eighties;after a few seasons in mediocrity they finally managed to win the Romanian Cup,a success which should symbolize the start of a new era.Unfortunately,the disagreements between Steauaís boss and the army,the owner of Ghencea stadium,home of Steaua since it was built in 1974,determined the boss to move the team to another city,probably Buzau.Imagine what it would be like for Barca or Manchester United to leave their legendary stadiums and play in other cities;itís unbelievable,thatís whatís happening to the most loved Romanian team.Todayís players are pale imitations of those who those who made Steaua famous in the entire world;sad but true. Thatís the sad destiny of two clubs who were on the heights of glory 25 years ago.No matter how optimistic I am,I still think there will be a long time until they rise from their ashes and shine again.


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