Athletic Club’s member number 1 reminds the historic friendly against San Lorenzo de Almagro

On the eve of the 1947 Three Wise Men special day in Bilbao the Argentinian club San Lorenzo de Almagro squared off Special One Athletic Club for the first time. Current Pope’s club San Lorenzo set out on an European Tour that led them to San Mames in a day one of Athletic’s greatest player Panizo was eventually highly regarded for his sublime football style.

San Lorenzo, a club founded on April 1st, 1908 by Lorenzo Massa are also known as the Crows due to the cassock worn by priests in Argentina. That special generation won the Argentinian league outscoring the two greatest River Plate and Boca Juniors. Those days football meant a way out to the long and bloody Franco’s dictatorship. And football is naturally understood as a religion in Bilbao so the match against San Lorenzo got on the spotlight of that time.

The (un)friendly match was quite an special event that the Argentinian side’s visit occupied the headlines for four days. San Lorenzo had embraced in the past the exceptional CD Euzkadi basque player Isidro Langara, who made his debut scoring four goals against River Plate with the fabulous Alfredo Di Stefano in the stands for his first time. San Lorenzo kept former Athletic Club player Angel Zubieta, member of that incredible CD Euzkadi squad, and count on several inmense strikers remembered by everyone: De la Mata, Farro, Pontoni, Martino y Silva.

For Special One Football Club Athletic Club their list of memorable strikers was also remarkable as four of their best generation ever -Iriondo, Zarra, Panizo y Gainza- were in the line-up on that day. Panizo and Zarra (2) scored for the local team and the referee disallowed a fourth goal that would mean a special victory for Athletic.

The crowd trembled from emotion because of the splendid football shown by the two squads. The Argentinians were very precise and made lots of passes, something rare that time. San Lorenzo’s technique amazed Athletic supporters who filled a marvelous sold-out San Mames stadium. Nobody wanted to miss that game. On the eve of the clash a famous phrase from San Lorenzo entered eternity. “A goal is a pass to the net.”

Athletic Club supporters admitted Panizo’s style thanks to San Lorenzo’s visit once they witnessed one of the greatest Argentinian sides in history. “Everybody play like Panizo!”, Athletic supporters screamed. From that special match on Panizo would get redemption and was considered a superior player. Juan Antonio Virumbrales, current Athletic Club’s member number 1 reminds how he lived that special match featuring a Special One Football Club.