Pablo from the street

Updated Monday, February 26, 2024-21:29



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Txuri-Urdin winger.

"Qui est ce petit diable?" exclaimed the sovereign after witnessing his dazzling dribbling in the final of the 1975 Monaco youth tournament, won by Spain over France (2-1).

«Some journalist heard that and since then I stuck with that nickname.

I was skilled, a different player from that Real Sociedad team of the 80s, which had very strong people, like







I was different, to give today's young people an idea, I played in a similar way to



David Silva


He was a winger and then I moved to the midfielder », explains

Roberto López Ufarte

(Fez, Morocco, 1958), a left-hander who captivated him with his



López Ufarte is an emblem in the history of Real Sociedad, winner of two Leagues (1980-81 and 1981-82) and an idol of Spain in the 1982 World Cup. He opened the scoring in the first Copa del Rey final won by Real Sociedad, on March 30, 1987, against

Atlético de Madrid (2-2, extra time and victory on penalties


This Tuesday, the San Sebastian team, against Mallorca, seeks its fifth appearance in a cup final, 0-0 in the first leg.

«I played that final knowing that it was going to be my last game with Real Sociedad.

Toshack, who was the coach, had told me that my time had passed, that I had to go.

That day I didn't know that weeks later he was going to sign for Atlético.

Jesús Gil y Gil

became president of the club, he hired


and the Argentine insisted on having me.

I was part of Jesús Gil's first project, the one that was headed by



The Portuguese and I played in the same position,” recalls the former footballer.

«We played in Zaragoza, it was hot and there were many mosquitoes that got into our eyes and mouths.

We were not favorites.

We changed the system,


moved to the center of the field.

We finished 2-2.

I scored the first goal, then

Da Silva

tied , we went ahead with a goal from

Txiki Begiristain



tied .

We went to extra time and won on penalties, with two saves from



I think that day the motto 'It's okay, we have Arconada' was born.

We celebrated the victory at the hotel and then we went to San Sebastián to celebrate with the people and the institutions.

I have a strange memory, of joy and sadness, because we won, but I knew that I was going to leave a team that was my life.

"Some insisted that I stay when they had previously told me to leave," the former royalist striker said in a telephone conversation.

The path to that final bears certain parallels with today.

In the semifinals, Real faced Athletic, precisely Atlético de Madrid's rival in next Thursday's tie.

«I remember that in the first leg, in our field, we had a very bad time because for a long time we played with two less,

it seemed that Athletic spared our lives


We resisted as best we could.

In the second leg we won 0-1 with a goal from

José Mari Bakero

," emphasizes

The Little Devil

, adding that that match was complicated, as could be the one this Tuesday.

«When the ball came out of the draw, many were happy because, a priori, Mallorca is weaker than Atlético or Athletic, but I didn't really like it.

And historically,

Mallorca has never been good at Real Sociedad.

We have always had problems, and now it will be no different.

The first leg ended 0-0 but nothing has been decided.

In addition, Mallorca has a coach,

Javier Aguirre

, who knows the job very well.

The tie is very open, the same goes for San Mamés, I see Atlético capable of getting into the final.

Who do I prefer in the final?

Maybe to Atlético because I was part of that club," he warns.

The fact is that Real is faced with a new opportunity to get a ticket to the final with a team that also aspires to get into the Champions League quarterfinals.

Now it is a good squad, but different from the one that amazed 40 years ago.

«The secret of that is that we were like a family, we knew each other since we were little, we played on the beach, in La Concha.

We combined very well.

On the playing field I always had a special rapport with



In the field we understood each other with our eyes closed.

I also related well with the young people who were arriving, like Bakero or Begristiain.

One crucial thing is that as soon as we were injured, the same team was almost always repeated.

We spent practically the entire season with 13 players.

"People knew the team by heart," he recalls.

The base team of the 80s, coached by

Alberto Ormaetxea

, was the following: Arconada;

Celayeta, Górriz,








, Zamora;

Idígoras, Satrústegui and López Ufarte.

A group of youth players that stood up to

Real Madrid

in the League, that snatched the champion title from them on the last day and that for several years was the backbone of the Spanish team.

The winger says that before there was more connection between the players: «Then football was different, it was more enjoyable.

We spent a lot of time together, after games or training we would stay to eat or have tapas.

We were a strong family.

Gorriz and Gajate joked that their respective wives told them that they spent more time together than with them.

We still usually meet, at least once a year

, during the Christmas weeks.

Now everything is different in human treatment and, above all, let's not even talk about money.

Before, with what you earned in one year you paid for a house in three years, now with what you earn in one season you buy three houses.

López Ufarte was a small, skinny kid who looked out of place among physically powerful players.

But he knew how to take advantage of his virtues.

«There was a coach,

Javier Expósito

, who asked us who was the bravest player on the team.

Many said that Satrústegui and Idígoras, but he responded that I was the bravest, because he went to dribble, they kicked me, but he did it again without fear.

His exquisite technique was a consequence of the famine experienced in childhood: «After the Civil War, my parents went to Morocco to look for work.

I was born in Fez.

I remember that when I was a child I played

in a very small yard, with 20 or 30 children

, the spaces were small and I think my dribbling ability was born there, the same old street soccer.

Qualities that allowed him to score 129 goals for Real Sociedad and be the club's second top scorer, only surpassed by Satrústegui.

With the Spanish team he played 15 games and scored seven goals.

After leaving Real Sociedad he played a season at Atlético de Madrid and in 1988 he signed for Betis.

He retired in 1989, but he has always been related to football and, especially, to the San Sebastian club.

«At Real I spent 12 years as a player and 12 as a coach, helping coaches like Toshack,







I have spent a quarter of my life with Real.

I was like the


of the Royal Society, a man of the house.

As a coach I have been with Toshack on several occasions, I believe that since he was the one who decided that I should not continue at Real, out of remorse whenever he could he turned to me as second coach," he emphasizes.

In 2013 he went to Vanuatu (Australia) and a year later to Morocco, in the Casablanca team.

At 65 years old,

The Little Devil

collaborates with Cadena Cope.

Tonight he will comment on the game with the memory of that unforgettable first time.