ARGENTINA’S LUCIANA AYMAR -Por Ti Volare ( Time to say goodbye)

Por Ti Volare – Time to say goodbye (click on any image to see the larger version)

World's most successful hockey player ever retires from international hockey and Las Leonas after the bronze play offs at the Hague tonight.

World’s most successful hockey player ever retires from international hockey and Las Leonas after the bronze play offs at the Hague today.

I , along with many, including her sister players in the team, past and present ,  shed a tear or two  today as the world’s greatest hockey player, an unprecedented eight times voted FIH world player of the year, Argentina’s Las Leonas Captain  , #8  Luciana Aymar,  ( la Lucha,  “La Maga”, “El Diego.” ) played  in her last international in the colours of  her beloved  team , the one she has helped to inspire over an incredibly selfless international  career spanning a decade or more. Fittingly, in a hard fought game, Argentina managed to overcome the much improved USA 2-1 today with Lucha scoring both goals for her country in her last game , taking her out on the high she so deserves. Luciana Aymar X 8 FIH POY   Luciana  first competed on  international duty as an under twenty one back in 1994 -1996 and thereafter as an inspirational  king pin  for  the senior national team ever since . A  very modest women , a genuinely humble person and dedicated player,  she is  fantastic role model , especially to countless aspiring youngsters back home. She is  an incredible ambassador for the game of field hockey. luciana aymar #8     At home in Argentina ,  she even  beat the legendary  footballer Messi ( in a country  fanatical about its football) in a national poll of Argentina’s  sporting greats. She has been called the “Maradona” (el diego)  of hockey there but she in fact has led a pretty flawless life both on and off the pitch and with her, the “ mano de Dios” surely guides her, her  magical stick stills and legendary dribbling  , (but  never  the ball into the back of the net with a hand! )

Coach of both genders hockey squads for Argentina, Chapa has his last game in charge of bthe women tonight to focus in future on the men's squad.

Coach of both genders hockey squads for Argentina, Chapa has his last game in charge of the women tonight to focus in future on the men’s squad.

Co-incidentally current national coach of both gender international squads , Carlos “Capa” Retegui will stand down after the World Cup  bronze playoff  game with the emerging USA tonight at Den Haag  and will, in future,  focus solely on the men’s team whom he had brought from relatively  nowhere in the rankings  in a very short space of time and to their first major success on the world stage here. His replacement, as Las Leonas Coach,   is yet to be announced by the CAH. (Confederación Argentina de Hockey)

Luciana in action, Madrid world Cup 2006- when an emerging Argentina took bronze.

Luciana in action, Madrid, World Cup 2006- when an emerging Argentina took bronze & Ned beat AUS  in the final.

Such is the spirit and passion of those who wear the Las Leonas shirt  that Luciana was reduced to tears at the press conference following her team’s semi final defeat (despite, typically  actually playing with a significant leg injury and doing what she could) and suggested she felt guilty she could not once more give her best for the team because of the injury.   They had come here to contest for gold and of course she was , like them, devastated not to be in the final. Of her retirement, as before she has said many times, despite the accolades, Luciana insists the team isn’t any less without her and they do not need her to continue to be successful in the future because the Las Leonas spirit it is all about playing as a team for the team and sharing the same desire and goals with equal pride and passion. luciana aymar head should Of course today must be a  very emotional one  for all the players, Luciana and her fans at the stadium and  worldwide and I am sure both the team and fans are so happy they  were able to overcome  USA and take the World Cup bronze to add to their amazing trophy cupboard.  Despite carrying an injury it came as no surprise that Luciana played her part. It was  a big part in that game and she typically contributed as much as she was  physically able to , carrying that debilitating  injury she played through in the previous game, on this her valedictory .

The famous Leonas logo but will the CAH retire Luciana's # 8 shirt in her honour ?

The famous Leonas logo but will the CAH retire Luciana’s # 8 shirt in her honour ?

I doubt very much if Chapa was ever going to try and make  her  take just  a token part in this last game such is his trust and respect for her but also her determination. At such pivotal moments  in the history of sports we so often find that the last appearance  in an outstanding  athlete’s international career does not always go to the script we would have wished for them but happily the  bitter sweet moment when the final whistle blew  on Luciana’s outstanding career it was as part of the winning team.   I wish the team well in the future without Luciana ‘s physical presence but her influence and spirit will I am sure always be there to inspire them. To have sustained such a high standard for so long and with the additional expectation because of her status as the best ever player, this time as an inbternational has been one of immense hard work , dedication and has involved great sacrifices which impacted heaviloy on both her social and personal life, sacrifices she willingly made for the team and her country. Luciana Aymar Whatever course the future holds for her now , whether continuing modelling ocassionaly, television work it seems hard to believe that part of that future will not inlcude some involvement in what has been a huge part of her life for so long, hockey but , whatever she does do she will I am sure be happy and successful with the characteristics which made her the great player she is. Thank you Luciana.

Footnote– find me on my main website , www.johncoxon.com  where I detail my photographic services but which includes a significant amount of photos of hockey and other sports I have covered. Join me on Facebook where I have shared a large number of field hockey images from games at all levels by looking here  My Facebook

I am very  active too on Twitter supporting the game at all levels  and sharing hockey reports and photos and much more @johncoxonmedia. Recently I have been developing a You Tube channel which includes a video movie of my 100 best field hockey photos from my archives of a quarter of a million images from over 3000 game sI have covered over a decade or more . Find it here and please subscribe to my channel.  John Coxon Media

Why not check out those photographs . Thank you

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