The story behind the departure of Carlos Izquierdoz, the positive leader that Boca let go for an economic counterpoint

Six months after my arrival I had to lose the final against River. So, I had to run to Pity (Martínez) 100 meters, what are you going to do? At minute 120, when the game was over. You had to run and that touched me. When the pass came out and we started running I was already ahead. It was very difficult for him to reach it. But I had to run it the same way and deliver what little I had left out of respect for the fan, my teammates and all the people who always support us.. Analyzing it later, I think it was the most correct thing I could have done. It’s my way of being. I always carried out my career with a lot of effort and leaving everything behind. This was not going to be the exception. It was the right thing”

In that confession in the form of a monologue, Carlos Izquierdoz summarizes his way of being, which characterized his four years in Boca: commitment, effort, professionalism. Virtues that Atlanta, Lanús and Santos Laguna, from Mexico, had previously valued. Now, that human quality that he always imposed ahead of the footballer, will be enjoyed by Sporting Gijón, of the Spanish second division: its owner is the Orlegui Group, the same one that carries forward the paths of the Mexican entity in which “Cali” walked so well.

This was confirmed by Mauricio Serna, now a member of the Football Council, during this early afternoon in dialogue with DirecTV: “In the next few hours the whole issue will be closed so that he can continue his career in Spain. He has asked us to be transferred.”. Once these last details of the agreement are finished, the final numbers of the sale will transcend.

Even knowing that he would not reach Gonzalo Martínez, Izquierdoz kept running out of respect for Boca

In these four years in Boca he played 146 games, scored 7 goals and took 5 Olympic laps: 2018 Super Cup, 2019/2020 Super League, 2020 Diego Maradona Cup, 2020 Argentina Cup and the 2022 Professional League Cup.

His departure from the Ribera club takes place in a strange context. On June 30 he was able to go free, but two days before he signed a salary improvement and the institution announced its continuity until the end of the year.

The story behind the departure of Carlos Izquierdoz

But everything flew into the air after the elimination against Corinthians, for the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores, which occurred on July 5. Although no one says it out loud, Izquierdoz was disaffected from the starting team for having fought for the prizes of his teammates, a frequent task that usually falls precisely on the captain or on the one who has the greatest ascendancy over the group. The Cali ticked both boxes.

In fact, exactly 12 months ago, the man born 33 years ago in Bariloche had preached by example, once again validating that of being and seeming. Despite being one of the oldest (over 23) chosen by coach Fernando Batista to represent the Argentine team at the Tokyo Olympics, he prioritized Boca.

I never clarified what happened with the theme of the Olympics. There was a lot of talk, but at no time did anything come out of my mouth, ”he explained only in September, at a press conference. And he added: “I spoke with the coach at the time. He told me that there was a possibility that he would go to the Games as a senior. It was something that we discussed with the people of the club: the moment was complicated, I had to play the round of 16 against Mineiro, then there was a Superclásico and it was going to be very fair”.

Izquierdoz raises the Argentine Cup as captain of Boca.  It was one of the five titles he won
Izquierdoz raises the Argentine Cup as captain of Boca. It was one of the five titles he wonNICOLAS AGUILERA – AFP

Later, he gave way to an intimate confession: “I was dying to go to the Games, really. I never played in the National Team, nor in youth, and it is the dream I have had since I was a child. There are times when you have to make cold decisions, see what is best, and the club bet a lot on me when I was in Mexico. I was due to the important moment that was coming, Carlos (Tevez) had left, I was going to stay as captain and it was not going to be the best message from me if in the round of 16 I went elsewhere. My colleagues could blame me for the situation. There was a lot of talk. I discussed it with my family. It hurt me to be left out, but that’s it. Sometimes you have to lower your head and put it in ”.

One more fact: On March 13 of this year, Cali suffered a fracture of the base of the fifth metatarsal of the left foot in the match against Estudiantes.. He was operated on as soon as the club got the necessary nails, which, being imported, took longer than necessary to reach Argentina. Everything indicated that his return to the fields would take place after three months, but a special job carried out by the medical staff of the campus – added to the player’s professionalism – they made him return to the first team after 48 days, a record time for an injury of this type.

This is how Izquierdoz left the clinic where the studies that confirmed his fracture were carried out
This is how Izquierdoz left the clinic where the studies that confirmed his fracture were carried out

It is repeated: there were no football reasons for Izquierdoz to emigrate from Boca. It is something that Darío Benedetto even exposed during the past week, when he declared in that direction. But also his gesture of doing it now speaks well of him. Because his departure will leave fresh dollars in the club’s treasury. If he had left at the end of the year, he would have been a free agent. The Ribera institution would not have received a penny. In fact, his replacement was Carlos Zambrano, who had very poor performances in the defeats against San Lorenzo and Argentinos, and the victory against Talleres.

A Football Council little accustomed to confrontation and inexperienced in discussions regarding contracts, renewals and prizesdispenses with the services of a professional who, fundamentally, the group of professionals that make up the campus will miss and that it will be a difficult task to replace it. Leadership ability, especially when it is positive leadership, is not something that is manufactured or imposed.

Gastón Ávila, who on Wednesday 20 also packed his bags (he will join Royal Antwerp, from Belgium) explained the impact generated by the decision of the Council to run Izquierdoz: “He is the captain that everyone would like to have on their team. He is a straight person, he trains and eats well. He is an example of all the kids. His departure was a bucket of cold water for everyone: the boys, the group and the people”.

Izquierdoz assumed the captaincy of Boca at the beginning of June, after the departure of Carlos Tevez
Izquierdoz assumed the captaincy of Boca at the beginning of June, after the departure of Carlos TevezAndre Penner – AP

In any case, someone who shares the intimacy of the day-to-day life of the campus trusts: “Cali is the opposite of the people who manage Boca football today. He is too healthy as a person and as a professional.” With such antagonistic personalities, only the great objective of raising the Libertadores made an impossible long-term coexistence more bearable.

In today’s Boca, what the quartet composed of Jorge Bermúdez, Raúl Cascini, Marcelo Delgado and Serna, led by Vice President Juan Román Riquelme, says, or there are consequences. In the case of the defender, as in other cases in the past, the latter occurred.

It is rare. Loved by colleagues, employees, leaders and fans, Izquierdoz had to pack his bags ahead of time. The “Don’t go Cali”, with which they greeted him when he entered the Bombonera last Saturday, before the victory against Talleres, could not materialize.

True to his low profile, he did not make any out-of-place statements. In a post on Instagram, he only limited himself to making his character clear, to cross versions that had been released from the same club, in relation to an alleged request for a prize in case of losing the series against the Brazilian team.

Carlos Cali Izquierdoz
Carlos Cali Izquierdoz

In 15 years that I play football I have never had a problem with someone. (Except Mineiro). Do not believe everything that is said. If I agreed to stay until December it was only because I wanted to win the cup and the same goes for my teammates. A pity that it did not happen. But I don’t want to leave and let them think things that are not, “he summed up before the version that the players’ claim was because the amount to be received was not clear.

Beyond the fact that the main objective of everyone in Boca was to win the Libertadores, until the defeat against Corinthians was confirmed on penalties, nothing suggested the departure of coach Sebastián Battaglia, first, and Izquierdoz, later. Too many shocks in times of sports sadness, in which it is usually recommended to unite more than before to get ahead together.