Hair and bad luck: Jorge Bolaño, the Parma warrior of champions

To this so particular hair, sometimes gathered in a pigtail, the stuffed guerrillas in an action of dubious taste, has long given a clarification. The battle is over, even if once, on the ground, Jorge Bolano he used to give a lot of battle. Because he was like that, he was generous, the one who couldn’t conceive the idea of ​​giving up in advance. With us, it has become a legend (yes, a legend), in Italy no. But one ParmaThinking back to the years of champions and cups and the dreams of Scudetto, a small place in the drawer of memories is reserved for him too.

However, Bolaño was never champion. He never made anyone dream that he was sitting on the bleachers of a stadium to watch him and his team. In Italy, at least. And he didn’t even stand out for off-pitch madness, like running off across the rooftops of Cali while being chased by Parma managers and a gunman. Another did it for him, of course not. Why does Jorge Johnnier Montano – the one who really escaped over the rooftops of Colombia, a scene halfway between an adrenaline thriller and a comedy – they were like day and night, like light and dark, like an angel and a demon.

They also rhyme, Bolaño and Montaño. They have the same nationality, not the same origin: if Johnnier started out in America de Cali, Jorge made a name for himself in Junior de Barranquilla. They arrive together in Emilia, in the summer of 1999 after a hangover from the UEFA Cup in Moscow (the last for an Italian, although remembering it each time can seem a bit repetitive and sickening). But we are 16 years old and a head that leaves a little on its own. The other has 22, he is a background and determination midfielder, short (does not reach the meter and 70) and growling. Like Edgar Davids, his model. Although off the pitch, he represents the opposite of any stereotype: “I like to sleep and…sleep, always rest”, as he will tell ‘Repubblica’ in 2003.

Bolaño has been on the Colombian tour for a long time. After the first call, which arrived at one o’clock in the morning, “I couldn’t fall asleep because of the excitement.” Over the years, he has never become an undisputed owner, but he has already participated in a World Cup and a Copa América. In 1999 in Paraguay he also scored once. A year earlier, he had been part of the French expedition with long-haired Valderrama, the late Freddy Rincón and Faustino Asprilla. Here, Asprila. Jorge revealed he also chose Parma because he was in the squad. Even if at the end of the millennium it was no longer the devastating Tino of a few years ago, this gazelle which, when it started at high speed, did not even stop it by releasing a lion from its cage.

“I met some great teammates – he said in an interview with ‘Il Posticipo’ – who were already known worldwide: Buffon was growing up but everyone already knew him. There was Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Crespo, Dino Baggio and Sensini. When I arrived in this locker room, I was proud of myself. They were all nice to me, they helped me a lot. I have never forgotten this moment. There have been good times and bad times in my years in Italy, the most important day was when I arrived in Parma: the best of my life”.

Perhaps the very champions of this Parma don’t know that even Bolaño has already built quite a reputation. Not only in the national team. In Junior, he is still known today as one of the most important players in the history of the club.. Papa Oscar, a former defender, died in 2017. In Barranquilla, Jorge won two championships, he played with Valderrama. He said that “I scored the most important goal of my career there: it was the first”. juniors he is still a huge fan todayenough to defend him to the sound of the controversy of certain criticisms of Colombian journalists.

However, like it or not, Bolaño is building its reputation in Italy. Not in Perugia, where he is lent for a few months without leaving a trace, but in this stellar Parma which, little by little, will lose all its big money. Gigi Buffon will go to Juventus, Lilian Thuram the same. And then Fabio Cannavaro at Inter. And then everything else. Jorge no, he stays and, all in all, he is appreciated for this combative style that characterizes him. Even if he plays a little, even if he almost never obtains a permanent place among the owners, even if the stars, before and after the diaspora of 2001 and 2002, are always the others.

“Jorge was a very intelligent and very technical player. – Roberto Sensini told ‘El Heraldo’ a few years ago – He was a good player. At first he struggled to find a place in the team, but later he earned his own place. He knew how to run well on the ground. I helped him, but he was a great professional”.

Bolano Shevchenko Milan Parma

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Of course, the relationship with the opponent’s goal is not particularly healthy. This goal scored with the Junior in the mid-90s finds no heirs. From 1999, the year of his arrival in Italy, to 2007, Bolaño never scored. Not even once. Zero center in Serie A, no exultation for a feat from him and not from a teammate. He will raise his arms to heaven only twice, with Modena in Serie B, the 2007/08 vintage. First on February 12, 2008, against Chievo. Then four days later, against Albinoleffe. But the Emilians are beaten 2-1 at home and 3-1 in Bergamo respectively. Just as Chile eliminated Colombia from the Copa América ’99 with the only goal with the cafeterias. For a pinch of luck, come back later.

Luck – paired with a lot of skill – magically reappears when it comes to lifting a few cups. Meanwhile, the 1999 Italian Super Cup. Parma wins 2-1 over Italian champions Milan. At San Siro, and after falling behind. Bolaño celebrates from the outside, he is not even on the bench but in the meantime he returns to get to know the trophies after those he won with the Junior. Three years later against Juventus, the evening of the cross shot of the other Junior, the former left side, a slip earned the last trophy in Emilian history to date. And there was not even a year before the Fiorentina of Nuno Gomes, winner of the 2000/01 edition. At least in this case, he had spared himself the disappointment of having to slip the losers’ medal around his neck.

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But the world of Bolaño is not confined solely to the hushed province of Emilia. In 2002, Parma lent him to Sampdoriabut the adventure is born and dies at the same time because of the fracture of the cruciate of the right knee. Moral of the story: but the Colombian star never sets foot on the pitch again, Doria takes Sandro Cois in his place and returns to Serie A after a few years of purgatory.

it will go better Lecce, second part of 2003/04. Delio Rossi trusts him and is fully rewarded, earning the salute as a newly promoted player and taking the satisfaction of beating Magna Juve at home, the legendary 3-4 that represents Axel Konan’s afternoon of absolute glory. Bolaño, for the record, is on the pitch for 90 minutes in this Delle Alpi match, albeit a bit bruised. Rossi appreciates it, so much that he’s trying to take him with him to Lazio, as the Colombian later revealed.

There will be room for another company, even higher than that of Lecce. There is also Bolaño in Parma 2006/07, one that at some point in the year seems destined for a vertical collapse towards Serie B. It seems, already. Because our team arrives in January, in the figures of Pepito Rossi on the field and Claudio Ranieri on the bench, and the music changes. And even if Jorge is playing well, there are plenty of places for him in a corner of the cross country heart. It’s not an accident.

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