Football, the most followed sport in the world. We all like to follow and know everything about the teams and players we support and love... some people are more drawn into bigger teams and some to their home clubs no matter what league they are playing in, but one thing is for certain, the most popular players all around the world are the offensive ones, the ones that score the most important and spectacular goals to help their teams to achieve their goals.
Now… if we think of the most spectacular way to score a goal it has to be "The Overhead kick" or as they call it in South America “La Chilena”.
But why do I put the focus on the name of that special way of kicking the ball in its Spanish definition?? It is because the origin of this fantastic way of hitting the ball was on South America and the players from the two South American countries are the responsible for the popularization of the move!
Football was brought to South America by the British people, both Peru and Chile had two important ports called “Puerto de Callao” and “Puerto de Valdeparaíso”, there are many historians that agree that Football was adopted by Peruvians and Chileans almost at the same time, the late 19th century, many people call this wonderful move Chilena but It was first called “Chalaca” because the native people of El Callao, the Chalacos, were the first that did the outstanding move, as reported by the same British people that taught and constantly played games with them.
Also Fifa did a statement on December of 2016 regarding this matter where it says "...it was there where a native from Callao, a Chalaco, successfully did the maneuver against British sailors back in 1892, according to the local Historian Jorge Basandre".
But here comes the Chilean side of the history, during the same period of time Chileans traveled a lot between the port of Valparaiso and Callao, were the Chileans that were making their first steps at football saw the acrobatic movement from the Chalacos and brought back the idea to their homeland.
The importance of this is that it was a Chilean, the first player to do the move in an official game, Ramon Unzuaga back in 1914, at the “Estadio El Morro” where a statue of him performing the Chilena was made in his honor.
He was an outstanding defender that used it to prevent the strikers to hit the ball, as the captain of the Chilean national team he started to popularize the move with his fellow friend and central back Francisco Gatica at the first two South American cups (Copa America) held by Conmebol (South american football federation): 1916 (Argentina) and 1920 (Chile).
Finally, the internalization of “La Chilena” came with David Arellano and his team Colo Colo.
David was one of the founders of one of the biggest clubs in Chile: Colo Colo in 1925.
He was a good player too and saw the Chilena in the Southamerican Cup held in Chile, he was impressed by it and decided to learn the skill.
A couple of years later in 1927 Colo Colo did a world tour, in resemblance of the ones done by Nacional de Uruguay and Boca Juniors from Argentina months ago
The tour started in South America with Ecuador, Cuba, México, and Spain, it was at Spain that the remarkable Chilean forward delighted for first time european viewers with his elegant and efficient playing style, where the Chilena was an important part of it.
This was the first time that the European football was exposed to this amazing move and narrators of the game immortalized it naming it “La Chilena”.
Sadly Arellano died at the end of the tour, on the 2nd of May of 1927 at the game vs. Real Union Valladolid he suffered a hard blow in his stomach that caused him a peritonitis that took his life hours later.
In his honor, the club's shield has a black ribbon as a symbol of an eternal mourning for the death of his founder and one of the greatest players on its history.
While making this article I learned that more than an spectacular move, the Chilena is the only skill in the football that has such a big history and controversy regarding who or whom are the responsible for creating it and was very interesting finding out that its origin can be traced to two countries at the same time in history, but in the end people cannot decide which one is the true responsible for its conception.
My conclusion it is that the Peruvians were the firsts do it, but the Chileans were the firsts to expose and perfect the movement at important scenarios like the first two South American Cups and with the international Colo Colo tour.