The bicycle kick also knows as "chilena" in Spanish, is one of the most legendary soccer moves you could see in a match, but its origin is still unknown by many
Hugo Sanchez, Marco van Basten, Rivaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and recently Cristiano Ronaldo, just to mention some of the most popular cases, have given to the soccer fans the most spectacular "chilenas" or "bicycle kicks" over the years. This is a soccer move that is not so common, but when it happens it remains for a long time in the memory of the fans.
Leer en español: ¿Conoces el origen de la chilena? Aquí te contamos
However, many are unaware of the origin of the acrobatic move. In fact, there are many theories about the invention of the famous "chilena". In LatinAmerican Post we present you some of the most popular.
The origin: from "chalaca" to "chilena"
According to Grandes Medios, although this move is known as "chilena", at first it was called "chalaca". This is a word that has its origins in the nickname of the inhabitants of Callao, a Peruvian port inhabited by Chilean citizens at the end of the 19th century. BBC Mundo exposes a similar theory that was born in the twentieth century, "when the British railroad builders faced locals in the ports of Callao in Peru."
However, BBC Mundo also clarifies that the name "chilena", as such, emerged in a stadium in Talcahuano, Chile. The Argentinean journalist Jorge Barraza, specialized in the history of South American soccer, reinforces the theory of the "chalaca" and of its origin in Peru, according to the same British media. "People who live in the port of Callao are called chalacos and those who lived there practiced that move," Barraza said.
For his part, the Argentinean journalist Luciano Wernicke, who is in charge of collecting the most relevant anecdotes of events such as the Copa América, added that the appearance of the "chilena" occurred at the inauguration of the South American Championship that took place on July 2, 1916. This happened during a soccer match between Chile and Uruguay.
There, a Basque nationalized Chilean, Ramón Unzaga, used the move to defend against the celestes in a match that ended with a final score of 4-0 in favor of the Uruguayan team. "It was there that the fans began to talk about the move made by the defenders of that Chilean team, who were Unzaga and Gatica, and after the match, they commented "did you saw the move made by the Chileans"," said Barraza.
Those who have immortalized it
The "chilena" is the dream of every soccer player. According to El Mundo, this is a move perfected by Hugo Sánchez. With success, other followed him, such as Van Basten, Rivaldo, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldinho, and Mauro Bressan. The same media explains that its supposed creator is Ramón Unzaga, but it recognizes that other sources direct the origin to the young people of Callao and their "chalaca".
It also rescues a fragment of the book Fútbol a sol y sombra by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, in which he declares the following: "Ramón Unzaga invented the move, on the field of the Chilean port of Talcahuano: with his body in the air, with his back to the ground, his legs shot the ball backwards, in a sudden scissor blade swing, but this acrobatics was called 'la chilena' a few years later, when striker David Arellano of Colo Colo, exhibited it in the stadiums of Spain."
BBC Mundo also remembers Chilean striker Arellano, who dominated the move as few in his time. He was a remarkable player who in 1925 founded, along with other partners, the club Colo Colo, the most popular soccer club in Chile. The player promoted a tour of Europe in 1927, the first of a Chilean club in those lands. There, Arellano showed his skills by executing the "chilena".
According to the same media, Arellano gained even more notoriety and was immortalized in the second commitment of that tour, in front of Valladolid. There was born the myth of that play, which was definitely installed in the world of soccer.
Many say that they invented the "chilena"
Although Unzaga is recognized as the father of the "chilena", there have been many who throughout history have said that they invented this move. On the one hand, according to Libertad Digital, there is the legendary Brazilian soccer player Leonidas, but the historical records indicate that he made the move years after Unzaga.
On the other hand is Carlo Parola, Signor Rovesciata, who was central defender of Juventus and used it frequently. Finally, Doug Ellis, president of the Aston Villa, claimed to have invented the move when he played for Southport, as the same media explains.
A move that generates impact
The "chilena" is one of those moves that we want to see over and over again. The interesting thing is that it does not happen on grass but in the air. It is executed with our back to the ground, our feet are raised and the ball is hit with the body suspended, according to the BBC. Of course, it does not always end in a goal, but when it does, it generates excitement and admiration, even becomes news.
The move was the subject of a movie. Director John Huston's Victory, which premiered in 1981, climaxed in a Chilean soccer match played by a group of soldiers escaping from a prison camp, the British media reports. It was starred by actors such as Sylvester Stallone, as well as former soccer players Pelé and Osvaldo Ardiles.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "¿Conoces el origen de la chilena? Aquí te contamos"
Listen this article