The sanctuary of gate 21

Dozens of Espanyol fans and an institutional representation pay tribute to the "eternal captain" 11 years after his death.


The unforgettable and tragic night of August 8, 2009, hundreds of parrots gathered at gate 21 of the newly opened (just six days before) RCDE Stadium to remember Dani Jarque, whose death was made public after 9:00 p.m. Eleven years later, that little corner of Cornellà-El Prat has become the sanctuary of the “eternal captain”. And every August 8 it opens its doors to remember its figure.

Among silences and applause, away from the spotlight, at 10:00 am the institutional event was held with the presence of the general sports director, Rufete, the coach, Vicente Moreno, and the advisers Josep Maria Durán and Mao Ye. Araceli Pérez, president of the Catalan Federation of Penyes (FCPE), as well as the parents and the representative Mágico Díaz also attended. Fate did not help new coach Parakeet and Jarque see each other on the grass in their careers. That could have happened in the 2009-10 academic year, with Xerez in First Division, just when Jarque's death occurred in Coverciano (Florence).

The most faithful parishioners were the residents of the Sant Boi Cooperative neighborhood, where the Jarque family still resides. Francisco, dressed in a yellow shirt, waited his turn at the entrance. “When I was older I only knew him by sight, but when we were younger we played in the Coope. I'm from 77 and he was from 83. But we all remember him. He was a forward, very tall and a scorer. We called him Milosevic. He was a very attentive child, he learned quickly ”, he recalls. Also present was Paco Ramos, president of the Sant Boi club, formerly in charge of the bar and the person who helped Jarque to sign for Espanyol as a child.

Unlike other years, COVID-19 has subtracted some influx from this important day. The club has also been forced to restrict access. The fans had to take their temperature when entering, wash their hands with hydroalcoholic gel and keep a distance of two meters. Only groups of ten people maximum are allowed. It was the first time that fans had stepped onto the stadium since the arrival of the pandemic. One of them is José Luis Serrano, who has no greater relationship with Jarque than the “parakeet feeling” .

“I have come every year except the first. His death was a hard time and it caught me on vacation. He represented the sentiment of Espanyol and was one of the icons of salvation in 2008-09. Now the youth players do not have those values, they do not represent the youth academy like him ”, he says. One more parishioner from Jarque, who remains in the memory of any football fan every 21st and every 8th of August.

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