Following the recent return of Dani Alves al FC BarcelonaThey asked me in a Portuguese medium who was the best right-back that I faced. I didn’t even need to think about the answer. It was instantly clear to me: Miguel Porlan Noguera. Best known for Chendo. Between him and I we did not play a soccer game, but we lived a real battle in those mythical Madrid derbies of the late 80s and early 90s. A confrontation between the white captain and the red and white captain.
I branded the man all over the field. He was a tough player. Sometimes he could be late for the ball and hit any part of the body. More than once (or ten!) I had to be treated by the doctor or the masseur on the field. But he was noble, he never made a murderous tackle to break my leg or with the intention of withdrawing from the field. Young lads have no idea what defenders were like in those days. Sometimes I wonder how I keep walking to this day with the savage tickets I received, which actually ended my career early. But none of them was from the merengue legend. Hard, but noble.
What I liked the most about him is that he was not afraid of me. He was very fast and very intelligent. He let me receive the ball from his back, close to me, but never turn around. Their goal was to avoid one on one. This is not easy at all during the 90 minutes. Many of you will remember that I was always from one side to the other constantly moving: I could both be stuck to the left line, as after two minutes in the center of the field, as in the half moon of the merengue area. Yet he was a genius and many of our duels were beaten by him.
We always had enormous respect for each other, both on and off the field. I like to highlight the latter. In those days we arrived at the derbies after several days of media uproar over the inflammatory statements of both presidents. In that climate it would have been easy for the captains to miss an insult against each other at press conferences. Happily it never happened. Respect always. In 2021 we continue to have a very good relationship and when we coincide we remember our wars with laughter.
So many years after retiring I keep coming across meringues who tell me “How good you were, you bastard, how bad you put them through!” For me it is the greatest of compliments. Dear Chendo, if you are reading these lines, I tell you exactly the same thing. My respects and admiration. Chapó.