Álvaro Cervera, el genio del Cádiz que mata gigantes

Hace cuatro años apareció en Cádiz el nombre de Álvaro Cervera. El equipo navegaba en la complicada segunda B española, tercera división, con posibilidades de ascenso, pero con un lago camino para volver a la primera división.

Aquel hombre que nació de forma circunstancial en Guinea Ecuatorial y que llegó a vestir la camiseta de la selección de España, tenía una dura misión. El Cádiz debía regresar a primera división después de más de una década en la que sufrió hasta dos descensos.

En 20 años solo habían jugado una temporada en primera división. Una primera en la que estuvieron ocho años consecutivos entre los años 80 y 90, pero que luego se convirtió en un objetivo complicado para regresar.

Allí llegó Álvaro Cervera procedente del Tenerife, el equipo de la isla que lo vio crecer. Bajo su mano, el club ha experimentado una transformación paulatina a tal punto que, no solo logró el anhelado ascenso a segunda y luego a primera; sino que en su regreso a la máxima categoría ya puede alardear que venció a Barcelona y Real Madrid.

Parece un cuento de hadas para el pequeño club que hace vida en el estadio Ramón de Carranzas. Es pronto para sacar conclusiones, pero en la fecha 12 el Cádiz ocupa la quinta casilla, en puestos de Europa League y a dos puntos de Champions. Pero no es como se empieza sino cómo se termina.

Mucho de eso se lo deben a Álvaro Cervera. Un entrenador que supo entender la idiosincrasia de una ciudad, la identidad para con su equipo de fútbol. Además de futbolista y entrenador también tiene una vena de escritor y filósofo, fue así como nació su lema “la lucha no se negocia”.

De un problema nació el lema que cambió al Cádiz

El Cádiz es un equipo que desde siempre ha tenido que luchar contra los grandes. Sea cual fuere la división que estuviese jugando. Actualmente es la penúltima nómina de la primera división española (38 millones), solo superando al también recién ascendido Elche; pero ha derrotado a los primeros dos, Barcelona y Real Madrid, que lo aventajan por más de 800 millones de euros.

Así es el trabajo de Álvaro Cervera, nunca con lujos, siempre trabajando con lo mejor que pueden darle.

En su segunda temporada en Cádiz, en la campaña 2016-2017, tuvo un primer inconveniente que sortear. Uno de sus jugadores se escapó de la concentración por lo que el entrenador fue abordado por los medios para saber la razón.

Cervera argumentó que todo se puede hablar. Dijo que no era un entrenador de imposiciones y menos con los jugadores, pero que la lucha no se negocia.

Álvaro Cervera ha transformado al Cádiz desde que llegó hace cuatro años / AFP

“La Lucha no se negocia”, ese lema le caía como anillo al dedo a un equipo que no había podido conseguir el ascenso desde la segunda B. El Cádiz era de esos equipos que se quedaban en la orilla y que no podían dar el siguiente paso.

En su primera campaña ascendieron a segunda división después de seis temporadas jugando en la tercera categoría. En ese regreso a la categoría de plata quedaron quintos, pero aquel episodio con el jugador fugado fue una motivación más para que hoy, al menos se permiten soñar, el equipo esté entre los grandes de España.

“Desde entonces este equipo no ha dejado de ir para arriba, aunque hay algunos que se crean lo contrario. Honestamente, no le presto mucha atención a las críticas. Tengo muy claro lo que quiero para mi equipo, resultados, y el modo de conseguirlo. Aunque algunos me tachen de defensivo”. Así lo escribió el mismo técnico en el portal Coachesvoice.

El ascenso tardó pero llegó

El lema se hizo cotidiano en las concentraciones del Cádiz. Hasta un amigo suyo se atrevió a diseñar una camiseta con mensaje “la lucha no se negocia”. En esa primera temporada en segunda el equipo terminó quinto pero no logró superar los playoff de ascenso.

En los próximos dos años volvería a estar peleando en los planos medios de la tabla pero sin chance de subir. Hasta que llegó la campaña más rara de toda la historia. Esa que estuvo marcada por una pandemia.

Cádiz llegó hasta la antepenúltima fecha con chance de subir directo, pero debía ligar una derrota del Real Zaragoza. Podía lograr subir sin depender de nadie pero cayeron en casa con Fuenlabrada, por lo que había que cruzar los dedos.

“Yo esa noche me fui a la cama jodido. No tanto por no conseguir ascender ese partido. Me preocupaban más las sensaciones que transmitía el equipo. Desde la vuelta a la competición después de la pandemia no habíamos sido los mismos. No éramos el equipo que yo quería”.

El resultado que ligaban se dio. Real Zaragoza había perdido ante Real Oviedo lo que le daba el pase directo a la primera división. Su vida fue un mar de sensaciones.

Cádiz está en puestos europeos / AFP

“La primera de liberación. Nos habíamos impuestos nosotros mismos una presión enorme por todo el buen año que estábamos haciendo. Subir o subir. No hacerlo era un fracaso. La segunda de satisfacción personal, porque el ascenso se conseguía en base a un buen trabajo. No por una casualidad, como ocurrió en el ascenso a Segunda, por ejemplo. Esta vez sí nos lo habíamos currado bien. Y la tercera de realización personal. “Ya está aquí. Después de mucho tiempo entrenando, ya no me lo quita nadie, me dije”.

Cervera recordó que, previo al partido del Zaragoza, había visto en Cádiz una casa cuyo nombre era “la lucha no se negocia”. En España y otros lugares es común colocarle un nombre a las casas en su exterior.

Al lograr el ascenso, el entrenador fue a aquella casa a reencontrarse con aquel mágico lema que tiene hoy soñando a todos los fanáticos amarillos. La lucha no se negocia, la esperanza de terminar lo más arriba posible tampoco.

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