Eighty-four years after it all began, the mythical and legendary San Mamés has come to an end. Its aura will live on in the football imaginary. And within eternity, Juanlu reached a place in the history of the red and white coliseum. The inside player returned to the squad in the run-up to the game, came on in the final minutes and emulated the memory of the mythological Pichichi. It was the beginning and also the end of a legendary story. Between the goal scored by the striker of an Athletic team in the second decade of the 20th century and Juanlu’s goal, there is a gap of almost a hundred years. The shirt, on loan from Vicente Romo, bears witness to this event.

It was not a secondary match, even if the packaging of the confrontation will determine the signing of a kind of armistice between the two adversaries, from a competitive point of view, after a season full of wounds and bruises. Perhaps in fairness, Athletic’s old stomping ground, where the Bilbao team achieved celebrity and notoriety, would have needed a match of higher voltage in its farewell. Nevertheless, San Mamés acquired the solemnity of the big days. And clashes with pedigree have been perpetuated since time immemorial. It is a stadium brimming with poetry. There is lyricism and inspiration in the four corners of the stadium’s geography. And also mythology. Time seemed to stand still in the final moments and take Levante’s image back to syrupy days when the counter-attack became an inexcusable tool that made Juan Ignacio Martínez’s team terrible and recognisable.

Athletic were trying to imprison the blaugranas around their area, and in the final stages of the game, when Juanlu linked up with Valdo and beat Iraizoz before the melancholy gaze of San Mamés. The action was a true ode to the counter-attack; an example of how to cross the field in the shortest possible space of time. A dizzying start and a conclusive finish in front of goal. Because of these mysteries, Juanlu once again scored a goal coined as historic. In reality, it is nothing new on his CV in recent years. The club’s most magnanimous calls usually go hand in hand with his effigy. The striker is wont to leave his trail in the wake of comets as they approach planet earth. It happened at San Mamés, as it happened before at El Madrigal in Villarreal in a historic lead, in an afternoon of promotion at the Ciutat against Castellón or at Motherwell’s Fith Park in the European premiere.