Grand farewell of Jose Ramirez Barreto7-May, 2012
As the referee blew the final whistle at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan today signaling the end of McDowell Mohun Bagan vs Pune F.C. match, Jose Barreto took off the No. 10 green & maroon shirt for the last time; Barreto became history for Mohun Bagan. He will never set foot on the turf in a green and maroon jersey; yet he will remain in the hearts of millions of Mohun Bagan fans across the globe.
The atmosphere was tuned to perfection for yet another grand farewell of a true & die-hard Mohun Bagani – this time a Brazilian. Only 22 years ago, the Mohun Bagan ground wore a similar atmosphere when the current Technical Director of Mohun Bagan, Subrata Bablu Bhattacharya played his last Calcutta Football League match for Mohun Bagan. The stage was set this time for a Brazilian who had come to play for Mohun Bagan way back in 1999 when the club was desperately on the look-out for a replacement of Chima Okerie and in no time Jose Ramirez Barreto became a heart-throb of Mohun Bagan fans all over the world. Incidentally, Subrata Bhattacharya was in-charge of Mohun Bagan then too.
As the clock touched 3 p.m., Barreto & his family entered the ground with the Mohun Bagan officials. The entire ground by this time was wearing a festive look and Barreto cut-outs, posters along with green & maroon flags were hanging from every corner. Even the entrances to the stadium were decked up with huge Barreto cut-outs and the crowd went into a frenzy as Barreto walked up to the stage.
He was felicitated by the Sports Minister Madan Mitra, Club President Swapan Sadhan Bose, General Secretary Anjan Mitra, Assistant General Secretary Srinjoy Bose, Finance Secretary Debasish Dutta and three evergreen Mohun Baganis – Chuni Goswami, Subrata Bhattacharya and Satyajit Chatterjee. Green & Maroon balloons & paper lanterns were released with cut-outs “Salam Barreto” hanging below; Barreto was presented with a green and maroon scarf, a silver boat (the emblem of Mohun Bagan) and a Life Time Membership of Mohun Bagan Club.
Besides quite a few mementos & garlands, Barreto received a huge bouquet of green & maroon flowers and he & his wife had to literally wear it round their necks for a photo session!
The spectators went hysteric and the galleries were filled with signature slogans – “Shit Grismo Barsha, Barretoi Bharsha” or “Sobuj Tota Barreto”. Barreto and Mohun Bagan had become synonymous over the years.
As the players entered the ground, Barreto & his team carried a huge poster - “Without You Impossible, Thanks Jesus, Mohun Bagan Forever”.
During the lemon-break, Barreto went round the ground shooting balls into the galleries with his “golden boots” that had brought many memorable victories for Mohun Bagan including today.
As the sun went down and the referee blew the final whistle, a golden era in Indian soccer came to an end as Barreto walked out of the ground in a green & maroon jersey for the one last time – an illustrious career ended in the right note – Barreto had scored in his last match for Mohun Bagan and had earned a victory for him and Mohun Bagan – what better can a see-off be for him! Vive La Barreto Vive La Mohun Bagan!!
In his illustrious career in Mohun Bagan, he has scored 227 goals in 398 matches. In I league, he has scored 93 goals in 187 matches. He became the top scorer of I league 2000-01 by scoring 14 goals. He has scored 17 goals against arch rivals East Bengal.
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