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July of 1982: Menotti talks to Geraldo after Argentina's elimination

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-10-26 23:30:15

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Menotti: "I'm not a cowardly general"
Geraldo Romualdo da Silva | 04/07/1982

BARCELONA - Eight years of dreams, expectations, joy and sadness. That's how Menotti defined his cycle ahead of the Argentine national team. Now, after the elimination of the Cup, what exists is a big gap that will only disappear with time, as soon as the coach signs a contract with another association (club or federation) and starts a new challenge.
— At 40, nobody feels more disappointed. Of course I'm sad about the disqualification, but that will pass, as well as the emptiness we felt after winning the 78 Cup. I can't think about the past. We have to think about the next game, because what's gone is gone. Now there are no more dreams. There's nothing else. There is only the story that will tell the facts. Everything possible.
Only coach César Luis Menotti attended yesterday's interview at Hotel Del Valle. He insisted on exempting the players for the elimination of the team, saying that the responsibility was his alone:
— If I was primarily responsible for the victory of 78, it is only fair that I am also responsible for the failure of 82. Very well. I'm the culprit. May they judge and condemn me. I return home with an awareness of my duty done. I have no shame. Do not think that I am a cowardly general, who stands behind soldiers in an eagerness to protect himself from an enemy attack. With me, it didn't happen before, it doesn't happen now and it won't happen later. If there's anyone indicated to face the disappointment and revolt of the Argentine people because of the failure of our national team, it's César Luis Menotti. Be calm. I will be on the first line of battle. Menotti x Griguol.
The national team coach refuses to comment on news that indicate his replacement, Griguol, coach of Ferro Carril Oesto.
— In Argentina, this possibility has been talked about since last year. I find it understandable that the AFA wants to change its coach. This always happens. Our commitments are not eternal.
— As for its incompatibility with the political system that runs the country. Menotti limited himself to saying that "the leaders who govern Argentina have ample freedom to take the position they wish against citizen César Luiz Menotti".
The coach explains that the defeated are never in the favor of the rulers. It's possible that he isn't already either:
— If we lived in a country like England, or in countries with a German or English vision of the sport, the reaction would be different. However, in nations like Brazil and Argentina, the reactions are different. Nobody has pity on the losers. If you want, they try to interpret the real causes of our defeats. Judgment.
Analyzing each of your players and dedicating more attention to Maradona and Passarella. Menotti considered the defender as the highlight of the team:
— Passarella isn't just a great player we all know. He is a great gentleman, a man of exuberant personality, character and action as I have rarely met in the world of sport and beyond. For me, he was the best player in this Cup. I admit that Ardiles had excellent behavior in Spain, but Passarella surpassed them all. I don't think anyone can forget him so soon.
As for Maradona, — he continued, — unfortunately, they set up a laboratory to prevent him from playing. And those who created this laboratory could count on the complicity of weak and partial referees. With the exception of what happened in the game against Brazil, they imposed a relentless marking. Relentless and illegal.
Menotti justified Maradona's expulsion from the match against Brazil, stating that he is an inexperienced player and that he was angered by his team's defeat. What's more, he never thought he would be sent off, after receiving so many hard fouls in other matches without anything happening to his aggressors.
— What happened to Maradona was momentary because he is still inexperienced. See what happened to Pelé. He only appeared as a star in the '70s Cup. In Sweden he was still unknown and in '66 he couldn't play. Criticizing Pelé.
Menotti did not stop criticizing Pelé. He heard that the former player had said that Argentina had no game plan. The coach got angry and said that Pelé can't say that because he's not a coach.
— I don't know how Pelé dares to say such a thing. In fact, he already has a big flaw: as he was born knowing everything, he thinks that things are resolved with words. He doesn't have the knowledge to talk about Argentina. Brazil and Argentina.
Considering it is very difficult to determine the best selection for this World Cup. Menotti once again admits that Brazil has more chances of victory.
— In 78, for example, we reached the title with Germany and Holland in great form. I have no doubts in affirming, strictly speaking, the best football that played in Spain always depended on Brazil and Argentina. If we consider England and Germany, we will conclude that their football is second-rate. Brazil's advantage is that it has a lot of talented players. But beware of Poland and the Soviet Union.