Jorge Valdano reminisces about master Cesar Luis Menotti

On his column for El Pais, Jorge Valdano explained the reasons he considers Argentina’s Cesar Luis Menotti a mentor and a beloved friend.

Back when Argentina still hadn’t won a single World Cup trophy, Cesar Luis Menotti granted Jorge Valdano his very first call-ups for the national team and thus jump-started a very successful career for the striker.

Jorge was able to play a little bit in 1978 when they won their first World Cup trophy, then he was part of that 1982 squad that didn’t make it past the second round where they got bested by the Italian National Team and Brazil.

But since Menotti started his career as the Argentina manager, he became almost a mythical figure in that country’s football and his return as the National Team’s Director is one of the best news there have been in Argentina lately.

As one of his greatest pupils, Jorge Valdano wanted to tell the world what Cesar Luis means to him both as a football scholar and a manager as well.

There is no doubt on Valdano’s mind that Menotti is the answer that every Argentinean had been looking for, he believes that the National Team will finally get past that title drought with someone like the ‘maestro’ Menotti overseeing the whole process.

On last weekend’s column for El Pais, Valdano praised both Vinicius Junior and Ousmane Dembele on the first half of his piece.

But he also wanted to dedicate a large portion of it to Menotti: “Speaking of young people, Cesar Luis Menotti went back to the Argentina National Team as a director with 80 years old and just as enthusiastic as ever,” wrote Valdano for El Pais.

“This man was the very first who gave me the confidence as a player and he dignified the national team.”

“People will say that, just as that conquistador to whom Les Luthiers sing and he “Founded Caracas right on Caracas’ downtown”, Menotti was capable to invent what had already been invented.”

“It’s true, the style he adopted already existed and it even had a name. We called it, ‘Our Own’. But he gave that style structure, he filled it with pride and he made it dynamic until he made it World Champion.”

“If we have to restructure Argentine football, there is nobody better to do it than the founder himself. Just like 50 years ago, Menotti is at the very top of knowledge and we mustn’t worry about his age.”

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“In order to be a great leader, one thing is solving the problems and another one is to keep everybody happy.”

“This is perfect: we have a man who will solve both things from his deep knowledge and his seduction skills,” he added.

“I love Menotti like people tend to love their great teachers. I met him when I was only 17-years old and I immediately clicked with his sensibility,” he continued.

“He gave me advice that was perfect for me so I could defend myself from my own defects inside the pitch, he also transmitted me football’s popular and representative value so I could play the game with pride or without abusing it.”

“Against everything that people suspect from him, he always demanded the best from you in the way Germans do it: he made you practice by integrating the physical aspect, along with the technical and tactical aspects as well.”

“He used to coach you like the ones that people deem ‘revolutionary’ in today’s football, and he invited you to do your part on the pitch with responsibility, with those dreams that tend to take you to become a professional.”

“During my first World Cup in Spain 1982, we ranked on the 12th position under his command. Four years later I became a World Cup champion in Mexico defending another football philosophy.”

“This didn’t change my admiration for him, to the point that on the day of his return, I only regret not being his pupil once again,” he concluded.

What do you think resonates to hard from Menotti on all the people who were coached by him in Argentina? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.


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