May be in May again… may be, because unlike 1972 Ajax did not win everything. On one hand, there was stiffer competition at home – PSV Eindhoven was getting stronger, Feyenoord too, and looked like Twente (Enschede) was on the road of becoming really good squad. On the other hand Ajax refused to participate in the Intercontinental Cup – it was valid refusal after the ugly experience of 1972, but still left an open question who was best: Europeans or South Americans. After all, in the South something similar was happening – Independiente (Avallaneda) dominated South America just like Ajax dominated Europe. Like 1971, in 1973 the European second best Juventus represented Europe in one-legged final – new format – for the Intercontinental Cup, staged in Rome. European home advantage... which did not help: Independiente won 1-0. Since history is largely statistic records, South America was better so far, total football or whatever. Statistics… Cruiff had 3 European Champions Cups and 1 Intercontinental. Miguel Angel Santoro, the Independiente goalkeeper, added the Intercontinental Cup to his resume, having already 4 Libertadores Cups. Slightly better than Cruiff?
Santoro was not exactly world famous, yet more successful than Cruiff by 1973. Was Ajax the best club in the world? Not according to historic statistics… Statistics… to the Europeans, the Intercontinental Cup was tainted by South American violence. The tournament was in deep crisis. Clubs were not interested any more… so, who was best anyway?
Final:Rome. Field: Olimpico.November 28, 1973
Juventus (Italy) 0-1 Independiente (Argentina)
Goal: Ricardo "Bocha" Bochini
Independiente: Miguel Ángel Santoro - Miguel Ángel López, Ricardo Elbio Pavoni - Eduardo Comisso, Miguel Ángel Raimondo, Francisco Pedro Manuel Sa - Agustín Alberto Balbuena, Rubén Galván, Eduardo Andrés Magglioni, Ricardo Enrique Bochini, Ricardo Daniel Bertoni.
Juventus: Zoff - Spinosi (Longobuco), Marchetti, Gentile, Morini, Salvadore, Causio, Cuccureddu, Anastasi, Altafini, Bettega(Viola).