“The father’s condition was that the brother stay and I opposed it”: the story behind Scaloni’s failed arrival as a player at UC

lionel scaloni He has his sights set on a greater goal. Argentinathe selection he directs, se ready for the quarterfinal match of the World Cup against the Netherlands. For many, it is one of the great clashes of the tournament that takes place in Qatar. And for many others, of the precise measure to determine what the contingent that, in the field of play, is leading Lionel Messi. The motivation is certainly at its peak.

The coach, who at 42 is the youngest of the 32 who occupy the benches in the World Cup, has a dream in sight: to win the most important trophy in football. Thus, he will swell a record that he already considers the 2021 Copa América and the Finalissima, in which his squad beat Italy, the European champion, in a duel that was led by national judge Piero Maza.

However, Scaloni’s story could be different. And she has been linked to Chile. You have to go back to his childhood to find the tie that could tie him, specifically, to the Catholic University. “When I was 14 years old, I was about to go to play at the Catholic University. I spent two days in San Carlos de Apoquindo. Gino Valentini was the manager. The name of the coach now I do not remember. Carvallo seems to me that his name was ”, he recalled in 2019, in an interview a Sporting.

Scaloni archives the experience in a prominent place in his memory and exposes it with complete clarity. “We went with my old man. We traveled from my town by car two thousand and a bit of kilometers. Crazy… He had passed the test. I was delighted, but my file was from Newell’s and they wouldn’t let me out”, he expressed in the dialogue. The memory was tattooed on him, to the point that, already being the coach of the Albiceleste, after having relieved Jorge Sampaoli after the failure in the World Cup in Russia, he confessed a desire that, until then, he had kept hidden. “I never forgot those couple of days. I fell in love with what the club is like, the place where it is located. They gave me all the comforts. That’s why I’d like to lead Catholic sometime”, he posed.

Lionel Scaloni, coach of Argentina, in training (Photo: AP)

The one who wrote down Scaloni’s name and recommended him to UC was Gino Valentini, then a talent scout for the club. “I saw him play in Argentina. He had a tournament in Chapadmalal (Mar del Plata) and I was with fat Alvarado (Andrés, current vice president of Santa Cruz and director of the ANFP) and the story is very good. I kept watching more games and suddenly I write down the number, 10″, he tells Redgol.

Fernando Carvallo, who was then the technical head of the crossed minor divisions, certifies the version to Sporting and provides much more information. ”We had seen it. He was recommended and we asked him if he could come for a week. He trained with us, he came with his father and his brother, who played as a right back. He played very well. I talked with him and his dad, delighted to have him. The boy was 16 or 17 years old. When I talk to the father, he tells me that there is no problem, but that they both had to staybut the truth is that the brother did not like me, ”he explains.

I spoke so that the father and Lionel would stay, but the father was not very in agreement with only one being left. I was opposed there, because soccer is selective, it is not massive. It is for some. We thought that Lionel was going to play in First Division and his brother was not. In the end they chose to leave. For my peace of mind, he did exactly the same in Boca Juniors.. That can confirm it. And Boca did not want to leave it either. The one who played on the side was very discreet. Lionel went to Spain right away. He was physically good and technically too. It was not difficult to notice the conditions”, he points out regarding the precise moment in which the paths of the UC and Scaloni parted ways.

Scaloni gives instructions in the duel between Argentina and Australia (Photo: Reuters)

Time gave him reason in every way. “I heard the same version from the head of the inferiors of Boca. That put me at ease. You have to be very honest with the parents and the players. The brother had no projection. It was making him keep wasting time. We had it for a week. Very good person. She quickly adapted to the group, a seven. For him she would have stayed. The subject was more personal. We offered him the training center, we would worry about his studies, with a pre-contract. He was already 17 and played as a youth player. It was done. The following year he would have been in the first team”, he hypothesizes.

In San Carlos, Scaloni also left a good impression on a personal level. “We treat him very well, as befits. He is a very good person. It was a shame not to be able to count on him, but it was gratifying to see him quickly at a club in Spain and look where he is.”, recalls and values ​​​​Carvallo. His conclusion is that everything was done correctly. “Everything was done well, but the father’s condition was that the brother stay and I opposed it, because authority is lost. One thing has nothing to do with the other. Capable that later they impose you to play. This is high competition. Selective football, not massive. In fact, he was not a professional footballer. We act honestly. With the club, with the boy and with his family. Leaving him and telling him at 20 that he was not going to play anymore was cruelty, ”he reinforces.

Scaloni’s consolidation in lepers was short in coming. In one year he had moved to Estudiantes de La Plata and in another, to Deportivo La Coruña, where he exploded and became a symbol: he was there for seven years and won a league, a Copa del Rey and two Super Cups.. West Ham United, Racing Santander, Lazio, Mallorca and Atalanta, as well as Albiceleste, by the way, complete an outstanding career.