The moving dialogue between Valdano and Ruggeri about Maradona, the “most present absentee”: from the “taco duel” to the unknown gesture in Mexico 86

* Valdano’s perfect definition of Maradona: “He is the most present absentee”

Jorge Valdano Y Oscar Ruggeritwo struts of Argentine team champion in the World Cup in Mexico 86met on the show F-Teamof ESPN. Although they had already been together at the intimate dinner that the campus organized away from the lights, the former striker and the former defender shared details and anecdotes of that feat before the cameras. Perhaps the most emotional moment was when the topic Diego Maradonathe great figure of that title, who passed away in November 2020.

He is the most present absentee that I have seen in my lifeto go through the city is to find murals everywhere. It is the experience that I take from this trip as well. It is a worldwide phenomenon, everywhere people continue to talk about Diego as if he were still alive; with an advantage, today we talk about him without worrying, because the last years of his life when we talked about him there was an implicit concern for his health, for his condition, ”said the former Real Madrid technical director, who lives in Europe.

“Didn’t you see how they both got into practice and kicked heels?”Ruggeri goaded him regarding the duel of luxuries that Diego and Valdano were starring in the América stadium or in the warm-ups. “Just the same”, the former attacker was called to humility, who later uncovered an unknown gesture by Pelusa in the World Cup final that Argentina beat Germany 3-2. A detail that proves the panoramic mind that attended the talent of the Ten on the field.

* Valdano’s view of the Maradona-Messi comparison

“What a genius, what a personality. We had the great advantage of seeing him in the fullness of him, he was happy, extraordinarily happy in those days, an expression of a healthy type, who managed not only the match, but the entire show”, he prologued. “

“On this trip I remembered, I don’t know if I told it at dinner. When I finished the goal (the partial 2-0 against the Germans); the play, which was long, and the celebration that was long, I ended up crushed by the whole team. When I’m getting up, he comes and whispers in my ear: ‘Stay calm, I’ll take care of the locomotive’. In the next two or three minutes he took care of Briegel, because he understood that I was dead. But it is a sign that he did not have ‘his’ party in mind, but ‘the’ party”, completed the story.

Indeed, before the definition, Bilardo had asked Valdano to make a personal mark on the center-back, in another story that deserves to be highlighted. “An obsessive, he did everything in a very studied way. The day of the final I met him at the door and he told me: ‘The final is over, it’s 10 against 10, but it’s defined in a duel’. ‘Diego?’ I asked him. ‘No Diego is among the other 10. It’s you against (Hans-Peter) Briegel,’ he told me. And I had never done personal, ”he narrated.

Valdano is not exactly from the bilardista school. In fact, he recognizes himself as a disciple of Menotti, the Doctor’s antagonist. “I identify more with Menotti because he resembles me in terms of football sensitivity. And because I met him when I was 17 years old. I was champion in Toulon with the youth team and debuted in the Major with him. Before him, going to the National Team discredited you, ”he explained.

However, the success in most of the Narigón determinations throughout the campaign in the World Cup in Mexico stands out. “To Bilardo I recognize many successful decisions in 86. We spent the entire championship with two kilos above our weight. And he said, when we get to the final, we’ll be at our weight. So it was. We played without forwards, we did not give references to the rivals. I had the experience of having trained in Colombia, at altitude”, he stressed.

“What a pleasure, I get so happy when Jorge comes to the country, we don’t see each other often, except if I go to Spain and call him. The first one he tells that he is coming is Gringo Giusti, he tells the Gringo and the Gringo distributes. He speaks to those in the middle, as Bilardo did”, Ruggeri scolded him.

“The Gringo and Oscar are very important for the group of 86 to remain united, it is always important for someone to inflate the ball, the day they are not there the ball is punctured,” the former striker returned the praise.

* The former striker’s opinion on Bilardo


His look on the present of the Argentine team facing Qatar and the Scaloni era

“The players believe Scaloni, footballingly he has generated an ecological balance that works for him, there are players who work better in the National Team than in their teams. The authority had to earn it, it did not overreact at any time, it has acted intelligently and ended up winning over the group. He had to build his prestige. The National Team is in a position to beat anyone”.

The Maradona-Messi comparison

“They are two geniuses who often look alike, who express themselves in different ways. Messi gets into some tremendous trouble and he is confident that he is going to get out of those troubles. He has played as a winger and it seemed that he was born there. From 9, it seemed that he was born there… And today as a strategist, it seems that he was born there. They put it where they put it, it has the game map. He doesn’t have the scoring power that he had years ago, which was something never seen before”.

His opinion on Guardiola and the Argentine connection

“Guardiola is the best technical director today. He has contributed to letting football loose. He has great admiration for Argentine football, for the passion. Once, in a conversation, in a colloquial way, he commented that he would like to lead a team in the future. I said, ‘Argentina?’ ‘No, you guys are crazy,’ he replied.”

* Valdano, on the work of Scaloni


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