There is no one who does not remember what he was doing, where he was and how he found out about the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. A tragedy that changed the world. The impact of March 11, 2004 was similar for Madrid. A society that was totally paralyzed that morning. Far from acting accordingly, sports institutions forgot that soccer is made by people and appealed to the social work that makes entertainment to continue playing.
That Tuesday the group stage of the 2001-02 Champions League edition began. Such an attack caught everyone on the wrong foot and UEFA did not react in the best way. ORn minute of silence before each match seemed sufficient given the situation. Madrid won in Rome and Mallorca debuted in the competition beating Arsenal at Son Moix.
“That dramatic day we ended up playing a soccer game, despite the doubts that accompanied the celebration of the game throughout the afternoon. We were caught falling in the concentration hotel. The players' nap was forgotten this time, everyone watching the screen. The feeling was one of uncertainty. An hour before, just at the moment of giving the line-ups, the doubts were still going on. The journalists asked and also our relatives. Was he finally going to play? “Wrote Vicente del Bosque, Real Madrid coach, in 2016.
The seriousness of the matter made the top organization of European football back down, which postponed the other half of the day, which had to be played on Wednesday (Barça and Depor played), and UEFA (Valencia, Celta and Zaragoza) the following week. Javier Irureta confessed that they were “more aware of the news than of the party” and Captain Mauro Silva admitted: “Many of us have slept very little because we spent the whole night in front of the television”. How could it be otherwise, all sporting events in the USA? USA were suspended.
In another shameful decision by Lennart Johansson, he also did not suspend the first leg of the UEFA Round of 16. Although there was no Madrid team, Barcelona, Villarreal, Valencia and Mallorca did play. The minute of silence seemed enough again. “I think they were wrong not to postpone the matches of the Spanish teams”Camacho said, then Benfica technical.
Two days later there was a League matchday. Spanish soccer also chose the most controversial option and played soccer since Saturday, opening with a game at the Vallecas Stadium, less than three kilometers from one of the bombs. “We are going to try to make Carousel as always, not as if nothing had happened; because that would be stupid to try and it would also be inhuman”, Paco González began his program in the SER chain.
11M left everyone frozen, but even more so for the millions of people who use public transport every day to go to workr. One of many was Roberto, current goalkeeper for West Ham. The Atlético youth squad used to take a train in Vicálvaro and change at Atocha to go to his school in Alcorcón. Luckily for him, he was late for the train number 21713 that would explode in a few minutes at the Santa Eugenia station.
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