Ramalho during the match between Levante and Real Murcia. The striker monopolised the goal against his former team.

And Ramalho left the Ciutat de València today to shouts of “torero, torero! after capitalising on the goal in the match between Levante and Real Murcia. The clash had been scheduled for Sunday 20 May 1990 at 18:00 hours long before it took place. A week before, Levante’s defeat against Deportivo de La Coruña at the Riazor (1-0), in the dying moments of the match, had made the content of the match against the Murcian team even more important. The league competition in the Silver Division was nearing its twilight and for Pepe Martínez’s side there was no greater redemption than to settle the match against Real Murcia with a victory. In reality, the cards were laid bare. The conditions demanded a forceful response from the granota collective in the penultimate match of the regularity championship. Victory liberated a group accustomed to navigating the most marshy area of the standings. From that point of view, the match against Murcia could mark the beginning and the end, although sometimes the end is the beginning of a new story.

“The match of salvation”, headlined Levante El Mercantil Valenciano on 20 May 1990. There are messages that are unequivocal due to their transcendence and their clarity. That week progressed with the uncertainty generated by Ramalho’s physical condition. The striker disappeared from the line-ups coinciding with the match against Sabadell in the Orriols Coliseum on the thirty-third matchday of La Liga. A hamstring injury in his leg left his CV in the blue and red’ shirt fallow just when Levante most needed the epitome of goalscoring in their fight to perpetuate their lead in the Segunda División A ecosystem. And there seemed to be no doubt that the Carioca attacker had extra motivation for the match against the Pimentón side.

That game had been in the back of his mind since he became a Granota footballer from the ranks of the Murcian club. The transfer to Valencia had taken place with the 1989-1990 season already underway. The confrontation was labelled in the back of his mind. There was an air of vendetta. This was known in Orriols and around La Condomina, even though the striker appealed for rigour and moderation in his statements. “I am very clear about my situation and also about what happened against Murcia. For me it’s just another game, in which the only important thing is to get the points. My sporting life is here, with Levante, and I don’t have to prove to others what I’m not,” he remarked on the day before the game at Levante El Mercantil Valenciano. That Saturday, 19 May, Pepe Martínez, at the conclusion of the last weekly training session, included his name among those chosen for the infernal match against Real Murcia. Cícero Ramalho returned to the trenches at the most opportune moment..

Ramalho opens the scoring against Real Murcia with an accurate header.

They say that the best stories are the ones you recreate in the depths of your mind. More than thirty years later, we do not know how Cicero experienced such a confrontation. We don’t know what thoughts assaulted his brain in the days before. We don’t know how he imagined that clash and whether he fantasised about the goal. We do know exactly what happened inside the green. And the figure of the Brazilian striker was of colossal dimensions. “Objective accomplished, with the revenge of Don Cícero”, wrote the legendary Joaquín Ballesta in his chronicle signed for Las Provincias on Tuesday 22 May. The truth is that Ramalho was the alpha and omega of that confrontation. The goals in the win were scored under his name. The attacker showed his status as a killer in the penalty area to leave his mark on a crucial match (2-0). He anticipated the Grana defence to head home Abad’s cross and unceremoniously shot past goalkeeper Melgar from a ball that had no owner in the vicinity of the goal.

“The star of the match was the Brazilian Ramalho. His reappearance with Levante, after three games on the sidelines, could not have been better than when he scored the two goals against his former team that meant retaining his place in the category”, reported J.V. Andreu for Levante El Mercantil Valenciano. In reality, nothing that happened on the grass of the current Ciutat was new. Ramalho’s goals were once again decisive in determining the definitive fate of the Levante institution in the Silver Division. His performance was a paradigm of everything that had happened. It was a generalised tendency from the moment he put on the granota jersey towards the end of November 1989. There was a reliable relationship between his goals and the triumphs achieved by Levante. His goals were as precious as they were protein for the health of the team. Perhaps for that reason, the fans swarmed around Cícero to lift him into the Valencia sky and bid him farewell with shouts of ‘torero, torero! as he left the Orriols stadium with the game already over.

The Brazilian striker was one of the great sporting attractions of the league season. Since his arrival at Levante, he has been faithful and punctual to his appointment with the goal.