The death of Sir Sean Connery is mourned not only in his home country but in a Buenos Aires suburb where the Scots are revered – and not just for his acting ability.
Racing Avellaneda, or Racing Club as it is more popularly known, feels the loss of the 90-year-old actor, who they believe has played a huge role in becoming world club champions at the expense of Celtic In 1967.
He took the South American champions race Lions Lisbon During three violent confrontations in the Intercontinental Cup that resulted in red cards and accusations that rocked two continents of football, but ended with the Argentinians’ victory in a 1-0 playoff in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo.
But even now, Connery’s role, in his prime, has been like James Bond, Largely not described.
However, in Argentina, the day Racing named 007 as a double agent became folklore.
Juan Carlos Cardenas, the man who scored the winning goal in Montevideo, ended the three-game series that began with Celtic’s 1-0 victory over Hampden, followed by the Argentinians’ 2-1 victory at home. , He insists that information obtained from Connery after a meeting at the airport helped Racing.
Sir Shawn went further, giving a group talk with the South American national team in the Hampden locker room prior to the team’s first game. Billy McNeill Celtic goal.
Cardenas is now 75 years old and still living in the Argentine capital, taking on the story, while confessing with deep sadness the death of the great Edinburgh-born actor.
He said, “When I heard the news of Sir Sean Connery’s death while I was watching TV, I was really sad that another Racing fan had left us to rest in Heaven.”
“ Shocking news for his family, friends and fans around the world.
“For the Racing family, this year has been a terrible year. We have lost our coach since 1967, Juan Jose Pizzotti, who passed away in January at the age of 93.
“Looking back on the past, things were difficult in those days. It was different days. There was no technology, internet or cell phones.
“When we found out we were going to play against Celtic, we were in a panic. We knew nothing about them.
Our coach, Pizzotti, wrote letters to the Argentine stars, Alfredo Di Stefano, who was in Spain, and Omar Sefori, who was in Italy, asking for information about Celtic.
Both responded to Pizzuti with little information. We have to remember Celtic’s victory over Inter Milan in the European Cup Final.
Pezzotti traveled to Glasgow to watch Celtic play a friendly pre-game. I think this match was against Pinarol Montevideo.
He only saw it once. He couldn’t speak a word in English. He was a very brave man going to Scotland.
“His first conclusion was intimidating because he told us Celtic was ‘un hueso duro de roer’ – a bone difficult to break. Pizzotti was anxious.
“When we traveled to Glasgow to play against Celtic, we stopped in London to continue our journey to Glasgow later.
“When we changed the plane, we realized at the station that Sean Connery was there. Can you imagine? He was in the same room as he was heading for our flight to Glasgow.
“We were so excited when we saw him. Our chins fell! We immediately recognized him because of all of his films. We asked him if he could sign autographs for us. He never complained, and he patiently waited for the autographs to be signed. He never showed an annoyed face. He was friendly and friendly the whole time though. That he could not speak Spanish.
“I have to admit that we were so excited to see him that some of us could have been too much for him. Another famous person in his position could tell us where to go.
Even our defender Juan Luis ‘Panadero’ Diaz, who was a ‘cheeky’ kid and joking a lot, moved towards him as if he was shooting at him.
Our coach wasn’t a fan of him. Pizzuti had other plans in his head at that moment.
Pizzuti was asking people badly if someone spoke Spanish and English. Everyone in the passenger room asked.
By luck, he managed to find a Spanish hostess who could speak both languages.
Pizzuti sat next to Sean at the station and bombarded him with questions about Celtic.
“Tell us about McNeill, (Bobby) Murdoch, (Jimmy) Johnston and left-back (Tommy) Jimmel.
“He was an incredible help. He even sat next to him on the trip so they could keep talking.”
“On the day of the match and to our surprise, someone knocked on our locker room door. When the door opened, there was a James Bond 007 with a gentleman who could translate for us.
“It was such a massive psychological boost for us that a star like Sir Sean was with us in the dressing room.
He was talking to all the players. The man was translating and our hearts were beating fast.
“We were really nervous as it was great in Hampden.
“We didn’t have much experience playing in such big international matches. Sean Connery gave us faith in the preview moments before kick-off.
Without him, we couldn’t hold our nerve in the first match.
“We could have lost more goals in the first game otherwise.”
Cardenas revealed that the death of the Scotsman was very much being felt among the Racing family. He added, “Sean was one of us. He was a fan of racing. He helped us be world champions. He is a legend for everyone in Racing.”
“Sir Shawn helped us beat an amazing team like Celtic in the Intercontinental Cup.
“The victory over Celtic was the first international victory for Argentine football. Thanks to the victory of Racing, we were able to place our country in the context of world football.
“Celtic was an incredible team. I was lucky to score two goals against them. One was at Avellaneda and the other was in the final in Montevideo. He helped us beat Celtic.
“From the Racing Avellaneda family, dear Sean Connery RIP.”