Passarella, a villain with different points of view

The tactical storylines of today’s football do not take into account the presence of the freeonce an important bulwark of defensive structures, which were then sacrificed on the altar of offside obsession. The year that seems to have marked their final extinction was 2000, with the last interpretations by the French Laurent Blanc and the German Lothar Matthäus, both of Italian background. Its origins date back to the 1930s, although not in England as one might think.

The figure of Libero makes his first appearance in Switzerlanda country that has many pioneers of football and on which wonderful sports literature is rightly focused.

It will not have been a coincidence that thanks to the studies and reflections of the Swiss technicians, the Libero saw the light of day right there, in a country where discipline and punctuality have always been fundamental elements. On the other hand, the game that was destined to be the pivot of past defenses relied on the assumption of organizational rigor and the precise (and timely) reading the development of the counterclaim.

However, the role of the free, soon imported into the Bel Paese, finds its definitive confirmation in the modeling of our bank magicians. Nereo Rocco and Marco Villini, sublime expressions of the prestigious Trieste school. Even if the best product of our improvement work brings it into the field Helenio Herrera in the ’60s and gave us the monumental Armando Picchi, a fundamental piece of the jigsaw puzzle of the great Inter, able to conquer the heights of fame both at home and abroad.

Armando Picchi and Helenio Herrera who promoted him from full-back to free-back and made him a legend

In fact, the Italian manipulation had received yet another important contribution from Salerno. There’s even one here never resolved controversy between Gipo Viani and Totonno ValeseCoach and midfielder respectively for the then-respected Salernitana, aka ‘Turin of the South’: Well, the two feud, culminating in a professional divorce, over the creation of a tactical verb to go by the name Vianemaand which is nothing more than a corrected version of the system, an approach in which free play plays a crucial role.

Vianema will be the incubator of the most famous bolta game plan that would have distinguished Italian teams for many years and achieved important results also in European and world chessboards.

There have always been discussions about who was the strongest free thrower in football history, but there is no solution. Even if at least three Italians cut a good figure in the not small list of the best: Gaetano Scirea, Franco Baresi and the already mentioned A. Picchi. There is much, if not nothing, to discuss about who should be the recipient of the palm tree worse. Here the judgment is unanimous, and in legal jargon one could speak of a “uniform sentence” sentence, in short: a judgment that brings everyone together: Daniel Alberto Passarella.

Of Italian descent, as the surname, which is particularly common in our south, unequivocally indicates, Passarella had a range of physical and technical abilities that made him an exciting and paradoxical player at the same time. Not big but skilful and spectacular in the air. Defender but productive as he’s not even a consummate striker and valuable in set pieces. Not ominous, though strict and draconian in the organization of the departmentan exercise in which he had no hesitation in throwing shrill insults at his comrades.

Roughly in the contrasts it could rightly be defined a “racquet”able to instill fear in his opponents, also thanks to his prematurely wrinkled face, which restored the idea of ​​ruthlessness and would have made him look good in the role hard in an action movie. In fact, there were many episodes in which he appeared as a negative protagonist, with roles marked by excessive competition: most notably, the role of a butcher against a young ball boy in a Sampdoria – Inter in the 1986/87 season. However, that didn’t stop Passarella from being deployed with the blessing of Pele himself FIFA 100, the list of 125 best footballers Life.

Like everywhere I’ve played Passarella was loved and hated in Argentina too. A feeling that hasn’t changed even when he’s stripped off his footballer’s attire to put on those of a coach and manager, at clubs and national teams. As a coach, he spent four years accumulating prestigious benches, most notably those of his national team, achieving important successes (the championships with River Plate in Argentina and Monterrey in Mexico) and equally notable failures. Eventually he became president of his river, again for a four-year term.

Anyone who knows Passarella well is Luciano Wernickea well-known sports journalist and writer who is a compatriot of the former 1978 world champion.

Wernicke can boast of an immense bibliographic production in which real milestones in sports literature stand out, especially in South America. Also worth mentioning are the valuable contributions made by Mario Kempes and Carlos Bilardo in the elaboration of their respective biographies. Many countries have translated his efforts, including Italy, published by DeAgostini. We have exclusively received an agile portrait of an icon of Argentine football like Daniel Passarella between reality and perception. We thank him for his availability and hope that the translation has not lost a nuance of authentic meaning.

Luciano Wernicke and Carlos Bilardo, here as two children who love football – or two old enthusiasts – lost among photos, documents and anecdotes. A sincere and lifelong passion. (Many thanks to Luciano Wernicke for the picture.

dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by L. Wernicke

If you stop in any corner of the city of Buenos Aires and ask a 60-year-old River Plate fan who Daniel Pasarella is, the answer will surely be, “The best defender I’ve ever seen in my life.” If you however, ask: a millionaire less than 30 years old, it is very likely that the answer will come from a different angle: “The worst leader in Argentine football history”. Passarella is love or hate, black or white.

On the field the career of Emperor It was impeccable: he is the only Argentine to have been part of the teams World Champion 1978 and 1986; With 175 goals, he is the second-best defender of all-time (beaten only by Ronald Koeman with 253); He shone in the ‘big’ Serie A with Fiorentina and Inter shirts when only two foreign players were allowed per team. Alex Ferguson, one of the sport’s most respected voices, warned that Passarella needs to be moved to one of the following Three dream team always was selected by the prestigious French magazine France Football at the end of last year.

The period of leadership as president, sitting at a desk in a shirt and tie, was undoubtedly a failure. Passarella is the face of River Plate’s only descent in 120 years. “We won the financial game and saved the club from the abyss‘ he defended himself, although not as effectively as in shorts. After all, the fans don’t look at the balance sheets, but at the rankings.

The contrast of black and white is no coincidence.

As a coach, Passarella required his players to meet aesthetic and ethical standards that he had never met as a player…nor would he as a manager. His image as president is also tarnished a prosecution with serious allegations: Collected bribes in transfer market operations, headed an organization that dealt in fake tickets and eventually levied a surcharge on rent Monumental for musical events. A public prosecutor is therefore convinced that not only the club has won the “financial game”, but also he.

It is very difficult to separate these two people. Unlike other stars who had one life on the pitch and another off, The former hero was Jekyll and Hyde in football. We can keep the image of the great captain who won the 1978 cup or the fierce defender who secured Argentina qualification for Mexico 1986, but it doesn’t seem right. Although in reality the only one who was wrong about Passarella was Passarella himself: he disappointed the fans, and he disappointed himself too.

Cover photo © Contrasti Magazine

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