The Carranza Trophy, which started yesterday with a beautiful line-up (Cádiz-Atlético and Málaga-Nigeria All Stars were the two semi-finals), is an almost heroic testament to a bygone era. While it’s true that the Teresa Herrera Trophy (the annual pre-season football tournament hosted by Deportivo La Coruña) originated before and is still going, its prestige has long faded. That’s what's happened with the Colombino Trophy, too. These summer tournaments – and there are many more examples – had their peak in the years well before television, and were established to bring an end to summer’s football fasting period. The games introduced unknown players from touring teams and brought a new sensation of great curiosity about football from other climes.
Carranza's rich history: Di Stefano, Puskas, Pelé and Cruyff
The Carranza Trophy became most prominent in the 70s, thanks to a Real Madrid of Di Stéfano, Puskas and Gento who did legendary things in the competition. Since then, it’s become the pride of Cádiz. The penalty shoot-out was invented in the Carranza; brought in to avoid extra-time as games were played on consecutive days. It was also responsible for the first ever meeting in Europe of Pelé and Cruyff, as well as accommodating all the other biggest players from South America, and was where Atlético discovered Pereira and Leivinha. From then until now, Atléti (perhaps owing to an unwitting gratitude) has been a frequent participator, becoming the team to have won it most in the process.
Long may it continue
Cádiz now hosts the trophy like its second biggest party of the year, after its famous carnival, perhaps, and as a substitute for its bullfighting festival that ended some years ago. How the Carranza has survived – and thrived – is something that can only be explained by the city’s devotion. The enormous trophy will be lifted again today in Cádiz and, like always, will be well celebrated. Born as something natural, the Carranza continues in its original essence, and long may it continue.