Interview with Osvaldo Ardiles: “Mauricio Pochettino is one of the three best technicians in the world”

The Cordovan enjoys his garden at his home in England, where he passes the quarantine without any fuss.
The Cordovan enjoys his garden at his home in England, where he passes the quarantine without any fuss.

"I'm not going crazy to London", in this way Osvaldo Ardiles He plotted what is happening in the English capital by the number of people infected by the coronavirus. The former player lives with his family on the outskirts of the city, where he settled more than 30 years ago when he first arrived to become one of the first foreigners to play in English football.

Sir Ossie (his second nickname, in Argentina they called him Python) played 311 games in Tottenham and scored 25 goals. The best years of his career were those. He won four titles between the FA Cup 1981 and 1982, the Charity Shield 1981 and the UEFA Cup 1984. He was a player, yes, but also a technical director and now an ambassador for the Spurs: "England is not ready to start playing again", he said in an interview with Infobae the 67-year-old man who does not lose the Cordovan song and who, with that unmistakable intonation, several times during the talk alternated between English and Spanish ...

-How are you experiencing this situation due to the coronavirus?

-Locked up like everyone else. In England we are like in Argentina, you cannot go outside. Tucked inside. I spend a lot of time in the patio of my house outdoors ...

-Has it changed your life a little??

-Yes, of course, at home I didn't stop much, I always spent doing other things. Now nothing can be done. You have to stay home. I live on the outskirts of the capital. I'm not going to London or crazy ... The coronavirus especially attacked the big cities, London in England and Buenos Aires in Argentina. It all started in the London capital and later it was distributed to other regions. When the virus started to spread, I stopped going to the city. I haven't been in a month and a half. Where I live it is much calmer. We are still in quarantine. They have begun to open little by little. We are more advanced than you in that matter, like two weeks before. There you have to be a little more careful. In England, the deaths began to decline, but in Argentina not yet and we must take more precautions ...

Far from Argentina, Ardiles maintains gastronomic customs. In his house on the outskirts of London, he also eats barbecue as if it were in Córdoba.
Far from Argentina, Ardiles maintains gastronomic customs. In his house on the outskirts of London, he also eats barbecue as if it were in Córdoba.

-Has the activity returned in any way? Did the teams start training?

-Yes, since last Tuesday. In Germany they started playing the other weekend and the Premier League is really looking forward to starting playing as soon as possible. Within Europe, England is two weeks behind Italy and Spain. Of the European countries, it will be the last to play again because of the virus. They started the practices with certain rules: you cannot do tackles, you can only train with the presence of five players per turn and respecting the distance. They are rather individual workouts. This is how it starts and we will see where we are going ...

-Do you agree with this decision to re-train?

Training yes, because they (footballers) are very well cared for. Now when you start playing you have to be much more careful. Today England is not ready to start playing again. In Germany they have, and we are closely watching what is happening there. It is a difficult decision to play again. I would say that you cannot play again in this country. Here you definitely have to wait. The risk is very little in training, but in games it changes things ...

-What a contrast there is in Britain. On the one hand, in Scotland they ended the league by announcing Celtic as champion. On the other, in England they open the doors to train again and they want the Premier to start. Why does that happen?

- The country is one that is Great Britain, but what happens is that soccer is divided. England has its own league and Scotland has its own. There they are separated. Everything is complicated. In the Scottish land everything is closed. You can't practice and they decided to end the league as soon as possible, so this year they forget to play until 2021. In England, no decision has been made yet. It takes another time for it to be known. It is not known whether the title will go to Liverpool or the rest of the year will be suspended. Or if you resist and the missing dates are played again ...

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Ardiles had an instant romance with English football, which cooled down a few months in 1982 when it was the Malvinas War. (Reuters)
Ardiles had an instant romance with English football, which cooled down a few months in 1982 when it was the Malvinas War. (Reuters)

- You as ambassador of Tottenham What opinion would you give on the matter of whether you should return to play or suspend everything?

I don't think there is time to play. In Italy they are planning to return on June 15. We are behind. I think there will be no time to finish the Premier League. There is also the Champions League that he wants to play in August. UEFA wants to finish playing this year's edition yes or yes. They have already given the dates. That involves different countries. I see everything very, very difficult to play again. I believe that there will be no other way out than to determine this season as finished ...

-What do players think about it? There are soccer players who do not want to go to training for fear of infecting their family when they return from practice ...

-Of course, health for me is essential. Its the first. You can not play again in England when there are many deaths. The peak is said to have reached its culmination, but it is not so. You have to see what happens in the coming weeks. Players are desperate to play again. Also, for going to train. But it is impossible for something to happen. They all have children and parents whom they must take care of and today it is not possible, no ...

-In Argentina there is a union that represents the players. How is the footballers' guild there?

-The English guild is number 1 in the world. By far he is the most capable of all. Furthermore, there was a summit recently where representatives from other countries, including one from Argentina and the other from Uruguay, were present to gather ideas. The union has tremendous power. It is very strong and it makes itself heard. The union today does not want to be played ...

-What did you think of the return of German football?

-I saw it a little bit. It is as Cesar Luis Menotti says: "Soccer without people is not soccer." If you see it on television, it's like watching a movie without sound. Folklore is lost without the public. The celebrations of goals, expressions and emotions are the beauty of this sport. Playing on a court without people is good at first because there is no other. But it is not enjoyed, the truth. It does not appeal to me much to see these encounters. People here are totally desperate to watch soccer. And of course, suppose it is played when possible, there is no doubt that the fans will be at home watching the games. It is not ideal, but it is a step towards normality ...

-Mauricio Pochettino has broken with Tottenham and is free to negotiate his arrival at another club. How is your relationship with him?

-It is very close, we are very friends. He is fine in England. He was linked with Newcastle United. When he spoke to direct that club, there were many first-rate people involved who made him a good offer and he had a relationship with Tottenham. Last Tuesday his situation was unlocked and he is a free coach. In this way, he will hear offers again, but Newcastle is a firm possibility to direct again. You will take your time to think and wait a little for all this to happen.

-Do you see him directing again in English football?

-He is an absolutely top-level technician. He is one of the three best technicians in the world. He can direct wherever he wants. Here in Spain, in France and Italy. But he really likes directing in England. There are not many clubs where he could go and have the luxury of having it. There are a few very large teams that want it and one of them is going to be chosen ...

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-And in Argentine soccer?

- No, for now Pochettino is not going to direct in Argentina. He had an approach, there was talk at the time of the selected one, but he was very happy at Tottenham. I don't see it today. Maybe later in his career, yes, but not now.

- Would you recommend it for the Argentine team?

-Of course. I recommend Mauricio for any job in the world. She is an excellent person.

Ardiles believes that his friend Pochettino is to direct anywhere in the world for his ability, but he believes that he will return to work in England.
Ardiles believes that his friend Pochettino is to direct anywhere in the world for his ability, but he believes that he will return to work in England.

- What do you think of Mourinho as DT of Tottenham, do you like his way of playing?

I have to think about it. It started well, but this stopped everything. He just started. He was in charge of the team for 10 games. So you have to wait. Today he is the team coach. He absolutely needs and has to be supported by all the people in the club. I am club people and I fully support it.

-What analysis do you make of Marcelo Bielsa's work in English football?

-Bielsa had a very good 2019. Unfortunately, it did not rise in recent games, but it deserved to do so. This year is very first, is having a good year. That is another issue that the English Federation will have to resolve: not only the future of the Premier League, but also the Championship, the tournament of the second division where Leeds plays. It is undoubtedly the seventh best league in the world in terms of money moving and how powerful it is. In Scotland they announced Celtic as champion. And the tournament ended as it had been suspended. Those who were last descended. In England they have not yet decided what will happen to the Premier and the second division championship. If it ended today, Leeds would finish first and move up to the top flight.

-Bielsa was able to impose her game idea?

-Yes, that's why he almost got promoted. In addition, he could lead another team in the Premier. It is highly regarded by soccer people. He did a very good job the first year, but he was close to promotion. Now, he is doing very well and is the leader of the tournament. We will see what decision the federation makes, that, if everything ends here, Leeds should ascend to the Premier ...

Osvaldo Ardiles in Argentina played at the Instituto de Córdoba and Huracán. In addition, he became world champion in 1978 with the national team by César Luis Menotti. As a coach he directed his beloved English club, Chivas Guadalajara in Mexico, Croatia Zagreb, Racing and Huracán, as well as various Japanese teams (Shimizu-S Pulse, Yokohama Marinos and Tokio Verdy). Also, he had a fleeting passage through Cerro Porteño of Paraguay.

“From Argentina I remember all the clubs I went through with great affection. Of course, the Selection is one step above all clubs, including Tottenham. The selected one was very special. However, in the clubs I formed a very good relationship with everyone and I have very good memories ”

-How would you define Cesar Luis Menotti?

-César is a great football teacher. I could talk about him in different ways. He was and is a great teacher. There is a before and after in Argentine soccer since Menotti's arrival ...

I kept reading:

The dramatic decisions that Osvaldo Ardiles had to make during the Falklands War and the story of his cousin Pepe, shot down by an English plane

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