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Pablo Centrone: the soccer globetrotter who experienced them all

Pablo Centrone, when he was a player (standing, fourth from left to right).

Paul Enrique Centrone He walks steadily on the UTA campus where he trains the Chacarita professional team. He is a true soccer globetrotter who came to the popular San Martín team with the premise of getting him out of the bottom of the standings.

His arrival at the “Funebrero” was not well accepted by the fans, who believed that with his arrival the football crisis he was going through was going to worsen. His first contact with the campus was dog-faced: “I told the players that if they didn’t get up, they were going to go down. I am the third coach, with the fourth they go to Metropolitan B”.

Centrone is 65 years old and He played as a central marker. In Argentina he did it in Sportivo Italiano and Chacarita. He also fulfilled his goals of playing abroad, no less than in the experimental American league, where he played for the Rochester Lancers, a team from the city of the state of New York.

When his career as a player was giving him satisfaction and his wish was to stay out of Argentina, a contractual problem relegated him to play in regional tournaments.

Pablo Centrone, when he was a player (standing, fourth from left to right).

Soccer took him to the city of Colón, in the province of Buenos Aires. At the age of 29 he played for Racing in the city. Y life led him to meet Jacqueline, a young woman of 20 years who dreamed of being a lawyer. Today the doctor of law and the technical director are the parents of Fabricio Alejandro and Chiara Ornella.

That beautiful family was the one who accompanied this citizen of the world from a distance He lived for and for soccer in Mexico (where he worked with Bielsa), Colombia, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Pablo Centrone feels very comfortable living abroad: “As long as I have an Italian restaurant to eat pasta and from time to time enjoy a milanesa, I pack my bag and go.”

He confesses that he lives in Argentina to be close to his mother Ana María, who is 91 years old. Her father, Pascual, died in 2005 and passed on his love for Sportivo Italiano. “I am devoted to Padre Pio because he helped my father in the war. He fell from a plane in the Viareggio area and had several fractures. He was able to save his life. Padre Pio touched Dad and told him that he had hepatitis. At the same time, my father left the hospital ward riding his bicycle.”

At a critical time in the sporting life of Racing, the current Chacarita coach coordinated the football of the “Academy”. During the presidency of Daniel Lalín, Centrone provided different reports of the boys from inferiors, in the processes of Angel Cappa and the Maschio-Costas duo.

Today, he is convinced that Chacarita can project himself to achieve promotion to the First Division: “Despite having lost the first two games, the players began to understand our ambitions and today we can go for much more.”

Pablo Centrone, technical director of Chacarita, interviewed by Sergio Chiarito for TN.
Pablo Centrone, technical director of Chacarita, interviewed by Sergio Chiarito for TN.

Was it difficult for you to enter Argentine football?

-I had an offer from Náutico de Brasil, but Chacarita seduced me because I lived a beautiful time as a player. And now meeting the players I’m excited. And of course people move me.

Did the rejection you had when you were confirmed as Chacarita’s technician bother you?

-In Portugal they didn’t ask me if I knew Queiroz, Eusebio or Mourinho. In Mexico they saw my career and hired me. You don’t need to know the medium to be able to direct.

With Marcelo Bielsa, how soon did you know the Mexican league?

-America hired me as assistant coach. In my house with Bielsa we have seen about 500 games. And we quickly knew the rosters of all the teams. I think they underestimated me. They did not see that I have seven championships won abroad.

Why did you direct so much abroad and so little in Argentina?

-My conclusion is that I only missed my affections. But not the roast, the alfajor and the wine. I adapted quickly in the countries where I worked. I was in Portugal, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and the United States but as a player.

What caused you to leave your family?

-They accompanied me as much as possible, both my wife and my two children. One day I dreamed that my father had died. That day he told me from Italy that he felt bad. My dad came from Italy and there I decided to work in Argentina. I was able to direct Sportivo Italiano, where my father was a founding partner. But I wanted to leave the country, we are very complicated.

Pablo Centrone with his father.

Does something about Argentina bother you?

-I do not tolerate disrespect to the police, the doctor, the veterinarian, the teacher. I directed in very poor places, but there is a great respect for people.

You were directing in complicated places, how did you handle yourself?

-My wife told the guys that I didn’t answer the phone when I was in the locker room. She did very well next to my daughter who was very small. When she finished the match they released her. She directed Independiente Santa Fe de Bogotá.

Who decided that your father’s ashes are in a field?

– He, in his last days of life. He told me to protect my family and don’t neglect Sportivo Italiano. He was a co-founder of the club. With my dad we followed him everywhere. I remember that he had a Brazilian who was a crack, his name was Henrique De Souza Mattos “Jaburú”.

How was your experience in United States soccer?

-They took us with Rubén Giacobetti, who when he played for Argentinos was replaced by Maradona in what was Diego’s debut. We both arrived in Rochester at the hands of some businessmen who managed the career of Daniel and Ermindo Onega.

How long did you play in the United States?

-In 1980 they took us to the Los Angeles Aztecs. The coach was Rinus Michel and Cruyff and Vasco Javier Aguirre played on that team. Michel dismissed us because there were many Argentines. Only “Gato” Ricardo Anhielo remained.

And did you come back?

-No, they gave us a loan to the Rochester Lancers. And there I was able to tour the United States. There were Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia. I made Cruyff a man all over the field. They invested heavily for 3 years with the purpose that these figures make clinics for the little ones. And today they have an outstanding league.

Why did you attack a journalist in Mexico?

-The president of León wanted to talk to me. A journalist insistently asked me to confirm the team he was going to play. I told him that I had to talk to the club president and he kept insisting. That’s why I reacted. I had fights as a fan, coach and player. But everything was in the moment.

Pablo Centrone attacks a journalist in Mexico.

What was Daniel Lalín for Racing?

-I was very clear about it. She invested a lot of money in Racing to get it out of bankruptcy. And he began to recover it with the sale of Milito, Arano, Bastía and Mariano González.

What did you feel when they threw a bass drum at him and hurt him?

-It hurted me. They didn’t get it. His thought was close to that of Macri in Boca. They had innovative ideas. Lalín wanted to do in Racing what Macri achieved with Jorge Griffa.

What is Chacarita?

– An impressive passion that at times turns into fanaticism, but when you go out on the pitch you feel supported. It is not as politicized as in other times.

Pablo Centrone, technical director of Chacarita, interviewed by Sergio Chiarito for TN.

Historically Chacarita had a complicated bar. How do you get along with them?

I honestly tell you I don’t know them. There are people who come and put up flags for us in training.

There is a flag that says “La Centroneta”. How did you live it?

I am very happy with everything that is happening to us. They also call me Gargamel, which is a character I didn’t know.

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