The rumours became more prominent after La Dolfina’s victory in the Argentine Open last Saturday. There were doubts as to whether the Cañuelas-based foursome would continue playing together; many considered the win at Palermo to be a perfect farewell.
Regardless of the monetary proposals made to a couple of La Dolfina’s team members, one thing is certain: Adolfo Cambiaso, David Stirling, Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martín Nero have left a a mark on the sport that will remain forever. While the possibility of La Dolfina splitting was always a possibility, the announcement still came as a shock.
La Dolfina’s achievements have been remarkable, and their level of play has been impressive in their glory years: 2011-2020. They played spectacular seasons, won title after title, and overwhelmed their contenders. Back in 2011, Pablo Mac Donough and Juan Martín Nero left Ellerstina, a team that had won the Triple Crown, and claimed the Argentine Open twice in their three years together. At the same time, David Stirling who had played with Indios Chapaleufu II in 2009, had relocated to La Dolfina in 2010 to fill in for Mariano Aguerre, and played alongside Bartolomé Castagnola and Lucas Monteverde.
While Adolfo Cambiaso’s personal project came to light in the 2000 Argentine Open, the truth is that La Dolfina had been in the works for a couple of years. By the time the 2011 Triple Crown came around, his organisation had already claimed five titles at Palermo in eleven years. Today, Cambiaso steps onto a new stage, with no less than 14 titles in 21 tournaments under his belt. This team had a significant impact in Cambiaso’s life – is is the team he has played with the longest.
There are several teams that will stay in people’s hearts forever, even if they weren’t lucky enough to see them play. Those teams are El Trébol, Venado Tuerto, Coronel Suárez, Santa Ana, La Espadaña, Indios Chapaleufú, Indios Chapaleufú I, Indios Chapaleufú II, Ellerstina, and of course, La Dolfina. Many had to reinvent themselves to stay at the top. For example, Ellerstina won the Triple Crown in 1994 and 2010, with two different lineups; even La Dolfina won Palermo on four occasions – from 2005 to 2009 – with different team members, until 2011, when the dream team was born – the lineup comprised of Cambiaso, Stirling, Mac Donough and Nero – undoubtedly one of the most successful polo teams to have ever played.
Regardless of the upcoming draw of the next Triple Crown – whether La Dolfina will have three teams or not – it is worth noting that Brava qualified after winning the playoff. No matter what happens (the question of who will be their fourth man after hiring Francisco Elizalde) the dream team that left a mark in polo history, the foursome that brought joy and delight to the sport, are gone for good. La Dolfina is stepping into a new chapter, but their legacy will last forever.
LA DOLFINA 2011-2020 IN NUMBERS:
-10 years (2011-2020)
-9 titles at Palermo (2011 & 2013-2020)
-6 titles at Hurlingham (2011-2015 & 2019)
-6 titles at Tortugas (2013-2018)
-3 winners of three consecutive Triple Crown (2013, 2014 & 2015)