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Farewell to 'Campanal', myth of Spanish sport, former student and part of the history of the College San Fernando

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The center pays tribute to one of its most illustrious former students, captain of Seville and the Spanish soccer team, Spain's most successful veteran athlete and, above all, an example of dedication, courage and bonhomie.

When the 'teachers' introduced him to the children of Ed. Infantil and Ed. Primaria, many of them did not know him; they did not know how much it had made some legendary footballers sweat, such as Di Stéfano or Kubala, who had played more than 400 games with Sevilla, who had been captain of the Spanish team at just 23 years old, champion in all disciplines athletic ... who was, in short, a colossus and one of the great figures in the history of sport in Spain. Far from that legendary, almost mythical image, 'Campanal' invited them to pay attention and, with a playful air, he took out four coins from his pocket and placed them on the back of his hand. The teachers already knew what was coming next, and they enjoyed the astonished faces of the children when he pushed the four coins into the air and, in less than a second, with a feline coordination, he caught them one by one before they fell to the ground. . Laughter and applause did the rest. The myth had already put everyone in his pocket and generated an indelible memory in those generations that had not seen him compete; something that, on the other hand, was difficult, since it made sport a way of life until the end.

Moments like those narrated, in which 'Campanal' showed his closeness and kindness, occurred many times in the classrooms and hallways of the College San Fernando, who mourns the loss a few days ago of Marcelino Vaquero González del Río 'Campanal II' (Gijón 1932 - Avilés 2020). On one of these last occasions, 'Campanal', who was a student at the College in the mid-40s, shared a talk with two names typical of Aviles' sport, boxer José Enrique Rodríguez Cal ('Dacal II') and the Ultra-deep runner Nicolás de las Heras. The three spoke to the students of 2nd of Primary Education about the importance of sport and healthy life habits, maxims that guided the life of 'Campanal', always ready to disclose them to our students and to anyone who asked for it.

Because sport was what undoubtedly marked his life. The digital edition of the newspaper 'The New Spain' On May 25, he collected, on the occasion of his death, some memories and anecdotes related by 'Campanal' himself about his childhood and the Avilés of the time, a must-read to know a little better about the person behind the legend . A physical portent from his youth, at 16 he did not hesitate to embark on the docks of San Juan de Nieva on the coal ship 'Hita' heading to Seville, answering the call of his uncle Guillermo ('Campanal I'), who was training to Coria. At the age of 19, he began his history with the Sevilla first team, a relationship that led him to play more than 400 games, rejecting offers from the best clubs of the time (Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid, Inter ...) and promoting unforgettable duels with players like Di Stéfano, "the best player of all time", in the words of 'Campanal'. The 'Saeta Rubia' always snorted with relief when they coincided in the Spanish team, since that meant that they would not have to suffer the marking of the 'Avilés Hurricane'. Not in vain, the newspaper 'Brand' The following headline was dedicated to 'Campanal' on the day in which the great captain of the Hispano club was included in his historic list: "Campanal, the scourge of Madrid with the five cups". In the magazine 'Libero' and in the newspaper 'The country', Pedro Zuazua recalled these unforgettable episodes of the career of 'Campanal II', such as his participation in the match remembered as 'The Battle of Istanbul', which ended with the innocent hand of a child leaving Spain out of the Swiss World Cup, or his fight against half the Porto team in a friendly match in Portuguese lands, to defend his teammates, or Gento's knee that made him lose a kidney. Soccer in its purest form.

The relationship between 'Campanal' and Seville, both the club and the city, transcended the professional, and this was demonstrated in each visit of the myth to the Andalusian capital. Of this mutual love, the samples of affection sent by the club from Seville upon hearing the news of his death, the sounds of Seville's anthem that accompanied 'Campanal' at his funeral and the fact of his remains go to rest, along with those of his wife and son Paco, who died at the age of five, in the Andalusian capital.

Sixteen seasons after his arrival at the Nervión club, 'Campanal' ended his football career at Deportivo de la Coruña and at Real Avilés, the club in his city, where he hung up his boots. But he was a born competitor, and he didn't let the retirement of football stop him. Once his soccer journey ended, Marcelino Vaquero changed his goals. Tennis was one of the sports that he practiced the most, not in vain his wife, Mari Cruz Guitarte, had been champion of Andalusia and also was it on numerous occasions in Asturias, and thus they instilled it in their children (Mari Cruz, Marce, Marga , Covadonga and Dani). Today, the saga continues with her granddaughters María and Ana, who have important achievements at the national level and a promising future.

An athletic wonder

However, the sport that filled 'Campanal' the most after football was athletics in all its aspects: races, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, javelin… Already in his time as a footballer he had stood out in a way extraordinary in different athletic events, and had even achieved two national records in 100 m. smooth (10,9 ”in 1952) and triple jump (14,79 m in 1954, record unbeaten until 1960), which were not recognized at that time since athletics was a sport for amateurs and 'Campanal', at the time to achieve them, he was a professional athlete. Javier Bragado collects this episode in the digital edition of the magazine 'Runner's World' of May 31, in which he compares these marks with some of those made by Olympic athletes of the time and leaves no room for doubt: 'Campanal' was a prodigious athlete, and highlights from him that “With more than 86 years, 'Campanal' was able to set the bar in almost a meter in high jump, land more than two meters in length and approach five meters in triple jump. Marcelino Vaquero jumped more than any Spaniard until then in triple jump and ran faster the 100 meters but his marks were not a record for being a professional athlete ”. However, this situation has been corrected and the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation awarded him, at the end of 2019, those records that, undoubtedly, would have made him one of the most outstanding Spanish athletes of all time, as collected by Alberto Rendueles in an article published on Saturday, May 30 in 'The Voice of Avilés'. The mythical announcer of those years, Matías Prats Sr., had it clear. "Marcelo Campanal was ahead of his time, who, if he had devoted himself entirely to athletics, would have obtained for Spain the first Olympic medal in its history."

Nothing resisted Marcelino Vaquero, who holds countless veteran records and is, without a doubt, the most successful athlete in Spain, with 115 titles in the Spanish Athletics championships and a runner-up in Europe. Alejandro Delmás, in his chronicle on 'Campanal' for ''recalls one of the last interviews with Marcelo, who wondered how far he would have gone had he devoted himself entirely to athletics in his youth and with the current facilities ...

A little over a week ago 'Campanal' left after having lived a life full of great moments, experiences and life lessons. It is, without a doubt, one of the proper names of the national sport, as it is from the history of the College San Fernando, to whom he was so attached for different reasons, and in his condition as a former student that he carried with great pride. These lines are worth as recognition of those who are part of this center and of its entire educational community towards an exceptional person, who leaves us a legacy full of memories, and as a sign of affection to his family and friends.

Below are links to some of the many news stories about 'Campanal' both regionally and nationally, and even abroad.