Xtratime Community banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Senior Poster of the year 2007
Joined
·
40,147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

"FOOTBALL WAS ROBBED FROM PEOPLE"
Born in Rosario, 1938. "El Flaco" (The Skinny) is one of the greatest oracles in football. Now he talks about the Copa América, the football of his NT, Guardiola's Barcelona and Mourinho's Madrid



Luis Martin. Buenos Aires.
The meeting was in his office, in Buenos Aires downtown. It's cold outside and inside the flat. César Luis Menotti apologize: "This morning the heater broke, I was going to buy a new one, because I'm freezing", he explains. Under the glass of the office furniture, there are pics of his children. On top, a pile of books. At his left, among them, "Mi Ciudad y Mi Gente" by Eladia Blázquez, "La Aznaridad" by Vázquez Moltanbán and "Bajo Estado de Sangre", by Tejada... At his right, a clean ashtray reminds us that, not so long ago, the conversation would have been full of smoke.


How are you taking quitting the cigarettes?

Badly. They told me: "The first month it is very hard, but after that..." Nothing of that, every month I even wish it more. The doctors keep telling us how to live a longer, but less enjoyable life. They just make our lives bitter and the surgery doctors are even worse! Now they have a little machine, pim pim, and you're done. The deep slow medicine is over, there's no blood nor surgery rooms.

How are you recovering from surgery?

It was nothing, I was three days in the hospital. It was a minor thing, it was clear that I had to quit, but I told the doctor: "You're the boss. I know about football, not about lungs. Then, he told me that I should quit, but also that I could carry on with a normal life. A cigarette for the addicts is an unbelievable companion, a friend. I must think that my friend is gone, dead and he's not with us anymore. I miss the cigs in the lonely moments and, when I write, a lot. I appreciate when someone blows the smoke on my face, I look for it in the doors of the restaurants. Yesterday, a gentleman took an Habano at the door of a bar and said: "I'm going" and I told him: "No, come closer!".

Are you quitting football too?

A person gets a reward for the ungreatful fight against the football that betrays the sense of belonging. Just like Huracán once saved the Argentinian football, Spain made me make it up with the passion for the game. Watching them play with the midgets was comforting. Football is the only place where I don't like to be fooled. Football are three things: time, space and tricks. But there are no times, there are no spaces and I don't get fooled anymore; I get so bored that I have the feeling that, this thing that people call football is a different thing. I said that the 99.99% of the coaches live envying the football of Barcelona. Everyone would like to be Guardiola. But the majority don't know how to do it.

He says that, with good players....

No way, this is a story that only an idiot can buy, but not me. We are talking about a man who stands in the line and says: "touch the ball, touch the ball and touch the ball..." and, since the players are good, they follow his orders. Guardiola is much more than just this. Everything is a product of training, by expressing clear ideas to know, how to be understood and to earn supporters for the idea... It is demonstrated that Guardiola is more important than the players. He says the opposite, of course... What should he say?!?! "I'm the best!", he doesn't even believe that. But let's review who was Piqué before Guardiola, who was Pedro, who was Busquets. Not even Iniesta was 100% starter, he was under discussion. Now all of them are phenomenon. The truth is that he also had that bit of luck.

Why?

He found a way started by Rijkaard, that is right. Sometimes, the coach who goes leaves you a mess. Rijkaard, in that sense, left some things done. But, over any other aspect, there is conviction. I always say that a great director can create a good orchestra with good musicians and, with average musicians, he would just achieve an orchestra that sounds fine.

Then, if we talk about football players...

Nothing, it's a lie that Guardiola is Guardiola because of the players he has. It is a lie. He had Eto'o, Henry, Ibra, now Villa... and, in the left back, he had 4 or 5, Mascherano is a central back... The Guardiola thing is very serious and it makes me feel a sick envy. And I don't agree with one thing...

With what?

Cruyff wasn't the first to start it. The first one who tried to play like Guardiola in Barcelona was called César Menotti. And it costed me the life. The crowed booed at us because we passed the ball too much! I don't know if there was anyone else before, but Maradona was my 9, like Messi now, Carrasco and Marcos in the wings, Schuster was like Xavi... And they came to the locker room at half time, with a 0-0 tie and the players in bad mood: "We can not play this way", they told me, because every time Schuster gave Alexanko the ball, people booed at us. With 3-0, yes, "olé olé". It was hard for us. Migueli, when I left, told me that, if any coach after me had told him to make individual marking, he'd quit football, because he was sick of fighting against the forwards. Sometimes they didn't even exist, because he was from Andalucia and played it well, but since he was tall and strong... He was good with the ball in his feet, but people considered him a beast.

Why did you leave Barça?

My mom had died, democracy returned to Argentina and I felt I had to be there... I had lunch with Núñez and he gave me a blank check and asked me which players I wanted to stay. I told him none, because I wanted him to get rid of great players, with an unbelievable prestige, but who also stopped the progress of the youth. It was after winning the Copa del Rey, which was a little cup by then, by the way... Now Madrid win it and it looks they won the Intercontinental Cup!... But what was I talking about?

You were talking about the importance of the coach

Ah, that's it, I wanted to make a deep recognition of the value of the coach. It is like the professor, which influence had the professors? It depends. If they were good, a huge influence, at 99%. If they were bad, shit. I hated maths because, during 3 years, 3 idiot teachers made my life a hell... but I felt in love with chemistry, because the teacher came the first day smoking, he filled every space of the blackboard with formulas and told us: "This is what you should learn for next Tuesday, but it is impossible". And told us: "This is to make you know that life is like chemistry: you must interpret it".

I believe that the figure of the professor is undervalued nowadays...

I don't know in Spain. Here, 50 years ago, the disculturization started. It's worrying. Social exclusion reached the middle-class. There was people who died for an 8 hour-a-day journy and now people work for 14 hours to live and noone complains. Add the fact that a "rich" country produce miserable people in power. And the first thing they've done is to rob people the sense of belonging. Everything is theirs, including football. When the governor makes a street, it looks like he was the one who paid it from his own pocket. We were robbed the music, the parks, the squares and even football. And now they get surprised about people getting tired who ends up camping in the squares.

Do you understand them?

Of course I do, this is shit! I don't want to become a damn skeptic person, but I am a furious pessimist. After all I lived, I feel an hormonal marxist, without further ideological explanation. After 70 years of my life, I tested the disaster that capitalism created in everything that surrounds me. Do you know what a friend of Barcelona told me when he cam to study the fishing of shrims?

No, I don't...

Until Argentina doesn't start its geopolitical revolution, don't believe anyone. In 3000 Kms, we are unable to gather 600,000 people; and in only in the neighborhood of Matanzas, there are 4 million people in a place where only 500,000 could live. There is no way to live in a 14 million people city. It doesn't make any sense. They're just votes to drive the whole country. Misery is profitable for many people. I don't trust them. Don't tell me anymore lies while there still is a homeless kid in the streets. Do you remember Cromañón?

Yes, the burning at the disco Cromañon...

I was the coach of Independiente. It was a scandal, the kids died and they wanted to capture the survivors, it was a sick thing. Those days, while coming back from a training session, I got convinced about asking how many kids there were in the traffic lights. 9 in one, 7 in the next. From the bridge to my house, there were 120, all of them under 15 who were going to die as the ones of the disco, but because of drugs, violence and injustice. Who does respond of these deaths?

What does "football for everyone", the slogan of the government, reminds you of?

Football was robbed from people, it doesn't belong to them anymore. Because of that, the Argentinian NT just have supporters. The one who knows about football doesn't go to the stadium anymore, it doesn't have public, just spectators. What's the place of football in a state? It's business, let it be welcome; if it is a business that swallows the times, bad. And we ended up this way. Football is passional educative, a place of expression and the state should watch as long as they are non lucrative entities. But they looked somewhere else while they became limited companies and historical clubs disappeared, they burned them up. Here we had investment groups who sold for 3M euros while they bought by 300,000, the rest was for them. Sport in this country, at organizational level, is a complete disaster, they even created a secretary of sport and tourism, as if you could be tailor and butcher at the same time! It's crazy. The military people always put the dumbest one to drive sport, always.

Do you still want to train?

Yes, but not here. I see the pitch and I am like the musician who sees a guitar. But not here, not at all. There's sometimes that I am watching the youth of Barça, who I watch on TV, and I believe: "I could form a team of young players and defeat them, but the players would leave in just 6 months; the president would sell half team being 16. It's a shame.

Are you one of those who target Grondona?

No, well, Grondona has his share of fault, of course he has, by definition it's his fault over anyone else's. But he's not the only one. Where are the other projects? Which is the permissiveness of the Argentinian football with Grondona? Or is it fear? He's been there 35 years doing whatever he wanted. There's something even more serious, wonderful instiutions got destroyed, Ferrocarril, Platense. Well, it happens in Spain too... Tenerife in Segunda B, o the desperation of Cadiz. I loved Cadiz, I always liked them... I liked Betis, a lot. El Loco de la Colina (a Spanish TV showman) told me about training Betis. The matter is that, when I came from Atletico Madrid, I signed for River, and one week later, he called me to come to Betis. I wanted to die, I always wanted to train Betis.

In Argentina, isn't there anyone like Guardiola?

No, there's just one Guardiola, but given the case, people wouldn't let him exist. He would get murdered first. Here we just have Mourinhos or people like him, who just think in winning and, when they lose, it's not their fault; we know them since long ago.

What a dude. He has huge contradictions. Not so long ago, a friend went to Spain and assisted to a training session of Mou. He also watched Pep's. He told me that the sessions aren't that different, it's similar what they do, Mou is a good trainer. Conceptually, they're similar. But on the pitch, in the key moment, they have absolutely nothing in common. There are lots of Mourinhos, but there's just one Guardiola... In Barça and the Spanish NT, they've played good football, I am thankful to them. At the end, Luis Aragonés decided to be bullfighter instead of bull. Once I said that about Spain, they had to define themselves, and Luis got angry, but I always liked him...

Del Bosque said he wanted to be like Busquets, the tallest. Who do you want to be?

Good point the Busquets thing, he's one of the biggest talents of the Spanish football ever. A discovery. The first time I saw him I called a friend and told him: "I saw a kind of football player that had disappeared". He's a 'crack'. Personally, the best player I ever saw was Pelé, so I guess I would like to be Pelé. He was able to surprise you when he was going to head a ball: he raised even more and stopped it with his chest. You never knew what he was going to do.

Like Messi...

I believe there were 4 kings and the fifth is to come. Di Stéfano, Pelé, Cruyff and Maradona. We're still waiting for the fifth, who may be Messi or, by now, noone. He's the one who is closer, but you're not going to give him the crown after 5 years. To give Messi the crown, you must see him out of Barcelona and do what Maradona did in Napoles. That team was a band and Maradona made them an orchestra. Messi is a luxury, a wonderful thing, but I'd like to see him there. He doesn't have anything else to show to be the best of the World. But he still has something to do to be the best ever. I don't have any doubts that he can be the 5th king, but not yet. But do you know what's even better?

No...

Messi learns. Before, every time he took the ball, he used to think in winning the game by himself. Not now. He made an evolution. Here you have the hand of the master. What would have happened with these players without Pep... do you imagine Piqué without Pep?

Not really...

Piqué is Beckenbauer, a football player with a huge talent, but I doubt that any other coach had allowed to do what Pep allows him to do. It is not freedom, freedom is not given to anyone on the pitch, you win from knowledge. In your work place, if you give freedom to an idiot, he sinks the newspaper. This is the same; you must tell them what to do because they can't do it. You're free inside the idea and a functional pattern. Piqué doesn't do what he wants. In Barça, there's not absolute freedom, there are rules that allow the players to be very free and very happy, but there are rules.

Are you talking about 4-2-3-1, 3-4-3...

No, that's a telephone number. 4-2-3-1, 3-4-5-1... Once someone asked Di Stéfano how it was possible to play with a 2-3-5 and he answered: "But what do you think... do you think we were dumbasses who defended 5 forwards with 2 defenders?".

You had a meeting with Pep some years ago, when he had the intention to be coach. What did you discover in him?

There was something that made him different: He came here with a clear idea, he didn't came to me like others, looking for inspiration, waiting for me to tell them the way to go as if I were a Messiah... He came with his idea and left with his idea. I was tired of talking with young coaches who come looking for the truth. Pep did not come looking for an answer. He already knew it. I am worried because there's people waiting to shoot him down...

Well, I'd say that he knows it since the very first day.

He has an advantage; his past and noone can change it. In your memory, you take the things from that past that are useful to you. If you don't have any past, the present would be useless for you. Madrid can sign more and more players, at the end, they'll have them all, but the 5-0 in the Camp Nou is forever... I start to think and I can't find a game like that one, from all the ones I ever watched and, of course, participated...
It killed Mourinho for good.

After that game, you said that he [Mourinho] shit himself

In my neighborhood, we call it shit onelself down the legs. He shit himself. I watched the next game of [Barcelona against] Madrid, with Higuain, Adebayor, Benzema and Kaka on the bench and I thought: He shit on himself again. It was the biggest signal of cowardice I ever saw in a big team. And, in Madrid, it is outrageous. The bull did not kill him and the guy ran away and never got near the bill again. But it's very hard what happened to him. Look for someone who left a Clásico so humilliated. I can't remember anyone. It's hard to swallow, eh, very hard.

What's going on in Argentina that makes Messi a bad player?

When I say that the Argentinian football suffered disculturization, I don't talk about people reading Borges before. The culture of football was that, when I passed a bad ball, the other 10 players looked at you. I remember that, once, I was going to kick a side foul, all the team was up in the rival's box, and I had to hang the ball. In the wall, there was just one player and I hit him. During one month, they were with the damn jokes: "If there's a free kick, let Menotti kick it". Look, do you know what happens with Argentina?

Ready to listen.

Football is like life, you don't wake up at 6 AM and start looking for the woman of your life. You find it or not. Every time that they play the ball, they want to win the game. It's terrible, this verticality, frightening. Why do we want a playmaker if we don't have anyone to assist to. In Barcelona, there are assistants who have players to assist. There are more passes than goals. It's all about that, passing the ball. It's not that difficult. I know that Batista has good intentions, but...

They want him to play like Barcelona

Idiots. What do they think? Do they think it's very easy to sing like Serrat? No, it's impossible. Do you know that he called me after I left the hospital? I love him a lot, but the man challenged me!! He told me, "listen old man, why don't you quit fucking around and start doing anything else better in life than smoking?

Did you listen to him?

I don't smoke and I am trying to write a book based on the lots of things I wrote and the interviews I keep. I don't know what will come out from this, maybe I discover the mysteries of football...




(In Spanish)
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/futbol/robaron/gente/elpepudep/20110711elpepudep_3/Tes

-----------------------

Now that we're in summer, I think it was a nice reading... you can agree with him or not, but he always deserves attention, not just for what he was in Barcelona, but also for what he was in the history of football in general.

I hope you enjoy it as I did. If you can read it in Spanish, much better. If not, I wish the translation was good enough to express his words with as much intensity as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,177 Posts
After that game, you said that he [Mourinho] shit himself

In my neighborhood, we call it shit onelself down the legs. He shit himself. I watched the next game of [Barcelona against] Madrid, with Higuain, Adebayor, Benzema and Kaka on the bench and I thought: He shit on himself again.
No shit.
 

·
Visca el Barca
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
Thanks a lot Senor K4. Beautiful read.

Some of his expressions are very blunt and straight forward. Maybe his age doing those?.

Messi in Naples part is one thing I don't understand. He is lifting Argentinian NT and creating magic. So what else should he prove?. He can be a legend in Barca and retire?. Everyone will remember him for the wins, cups and individual awards. Or you think he should go and prove in one small team and lift them to all the glory?.

---
There's sometimes that I am watching the youth of Barça, who I watch on TV, and I believe: "I could form a team of young players and defeat them, but the players would leave in just 6 months; the president would sell half team being 16. It's a shame.

Can you explain me this K4. Why would president sell half of them?. Assuming it's in Barca. The players could as well become more mature and play for the senior team?. For youth system like ours, the best progress and the rest have to be recycled right?. Or does he have an internal meaning in it?.

The shitting on pant part is quite true. The "Special one" tag got meaningless right after that day. He would just be half of what he would be through out his life. Thanks to Pep and the boys to shut the big mouth for life.
 

·
Messiah
Joined
·
9,580 Posts
Thanks for translating this, K4, brilliant read.

oh and yes, he shit himself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,698 Posts
There's sometimes that I am watching the youth of Barça, who I watch on TV, and I believe: "I could form a team of young players and defeat them, but the players would leave in just 6 months; the president would sell half team being 16. It's a shame.

Can you explain me this K4. Why would president sell half of them?. Assuming it's in Barca. The players could as well become more mature and play for the senior team?. For youth system like ours, the best progress and the rest have to be recycled right?. Or does he have an internal meaning in it?.
if I may explain this, he ment in Argentina he could easily find great talents in the streets, but what will happen if he tries to make a team or even a youth system like in Barcelona, that club President will easily just look at money in short term instead of looking forward for the future of a club, team or players creer wise.

and I mostly think it ment to be said by him considering the bullshit that most clubs and specialy Argentina go through nowdays because of such mentality is killing football in most parts of the world, because it turned from the game of the people into the game of the rich!

hope this helps.
 

·
In Pep, We Trust!
Joined
·
6,149 Posts
JA you are the man, great read and thanks for taking out the time to translate the article for the rest of us.
 

·
Visca el Barca
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
if I may explain this, he ment in Argentina he could easily find great talents in the streets, but what will happen if he tries to make a team or even a youth system like in Barcelona, that club President will easily just look at money in short term instead of looking forward for the future of a club, team or players creer wise.

and I mostly think it ment to be said by him considering the bullshit that most clubs and specialy Argentina go through nowdays because of such mentality is killing football in most parts of the world, because it turned from the game of the people into the game of the rich!

hope this helps.
Even I thought about that initially BK. The confusion happened when he said, will he coach again in ARG. He said NO. Or maybe he is saying in general. The value or the passion is decreasing in general and nothing specific to any other club/country. Like we selling our shirt space, selling youth products and so on and so forth around the world(which I don't care).

But, I think he is too bold and old to setup something new from scratch. But, would love to see it happen. World needs more Menotti's, Cruyff's and Pep's. But, not too much. If there are all diamonds out there, then the real value of diamond is undervalued. So lot of charcoal is also needed(Moronho).

Reading the article again, he is very passionate, he is philosopher, artist and a dreamer. Will make for a superb person and a coach. Thanks K4 for sharing.
 

·
Senior Poster of the year 2007
Joined
·
40,147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks a lot Senor K4. Beautiful read.

Some of his expressions are very blunt and straight forward. Maybe his age doing those?.

Messi in Naples part is one thing I don't understand. He is lifting Argentinian NT and creating magic. So what else should he prove?. He can be a legend in Barca and retire?. Everyone will remember him for the wins, cups and individual awards. Or you think he should go and prove in one small team and lift them to all the glory?.
Well, I believe that Maradona did great with Napoli, but I also believe that those victories are a bit overhyped in the sense that, at that time, without the Bosman rule and the big bucks of the TVs, the differences weren't as big as they're nowadays. And it's not that Napoli had a bunch of noones. An example of this is Sampdoria, who also won the league more or less in the same era.

Messi doesn't have to go anywhere to prove anything to anyone, in my opinion.

There's sometimes that I am watching the youth of Barça, who I watch on TV, and I believe: "I could form a team of young players and defeat them, but the players would leave in just 6 months; the president would sell half team being 16. It's a shame.

Can you explain me this K4. Why would president sell half of them?. Assuming it's in Barca. The players could as well become more mature and play for the senior team?. For youth system like ours, the best progress and the rest have to be recycled right?. Or does he have an internal meaning in it?.

The shitting on pant part is quite true. The "Special one" tag got meaningless right after that day. He would just be half of what he would be through out his life. Thanks to Pep and the boys to shut the big mouth for life.
He's clearly refering to the Argentinian teams and their youth system. The Argentinian clubs sell their talents when they're very young and the league is full of average players and the ones who return from Europe to retire. Basically, for a coach, it's impossible to start a project thinking long term or even mid term. It's useless.

About Mou, it's evident what he says and we all saw it. I've never seen such a mean Real Madrid. In the Bernabeu, packed, at home, after winning the Copa, they didn't cross the midfield line and the only shot on target was made by CR in a 30mt shot. I am sure that this is the only thing we can remember from Real Madrid in the first half:

tnUW41JmafM

In the 2nd half, even though they said that they were creating danger, we all know that it was just long balls at the back of our defenders. I'm sure that they didn't shoot on target in the 2nd half... and if they did, it was nothing relevant. We just remember the terrible tackle of Pepe and the show of Mou to hide his shame.

If I ever see Barcelona at home, defending with 11 men behind the midfield line against Real Madrid, I murder the coach and all the players. Seriously. It'd be beyond shameful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,822 Posts
Wow, what a great read. Thanks, Almogaver!

This guy seems a genuine football fan. Love his answers. Fantastic :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,134 Posts
A great read.

Thanks for translating Almogaver/K4. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
A very good interview with Menotti, diplomatic as allways :D

Thank you so much for not only translating it, but also simply posting it. I get the feeling that your views on football is in agreement with Menotti, Almo? ;)
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top