Fans brave heat to bid farewell to Barreto

Kolkata: Less than 24 hours after the entire Kolkata cheered for Sourav Ganguly, more than 30,000 turned up to bid an emotional farewell to Jose Ramirez Barreto in Mohun Bagan jersey as the Yuba Bharati Krirangan resembled a mini Eden Gardens here this afternoon.

Withstanding the scorching afternoon sun, the die-hard Barreto supporters chanted his name. The player also made his last match memorable leading the side with aplomb with a sixth minute goal against Pune FC in their last-round I League match.

Barreto developed cramps after the interval but he played the full 90 minutes as the crowd enjoyed every moment of it.

Barreto had come with his entire family and his wife Veronica, daughters Isabella, Natalia and three-year-old son also cheered for the Brazilian who had debuted for the club way back in 1999-2000 season. The Barretos, surrounded by club officials and few supporters who sneaked in the cordons, made a round of the stadium at the break as emotions ran sky-high. The vibrant atmosphere brought back the memories of the match between Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors against Kolkata Knight Riders which had been the talk of the town till last evening.

Earlier, Pune FC showed a fine gesture when they presented an autographed jersey to Barreto.

State sports minister Madan Mitra handed the stalwart Rs one lakh from the West Bengal Sports Council for his contribution to the sport in the state in a 20-minute felicitation ceremony that preceded the match. Hundreds of balloons with `Barreto` written on them were released into the sky. He even kicked about 30 balls to the crowd during the break.


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