SportsWhat was Gareca like when he arrived in Peru:...

What was Gareca like when he arrived in Peru: the anecdotes left by the “Tiger” told by those who knew him closely

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We didn’t know it, but the ‘Flaco’ who arrived at the ‘U’ was already taking his first steps to later embrace the entire country. On the afternoon of September 29, 2007, fifteen long years ago, Ricardo Gareca had his first contact with Peru, the country that today adores him and celebrates his continued success at the helm of the Peruvian national team since 2015. “The most important thing is to give everything at work. I trust the ‘U’ players”were his first words when he first touched the shirt of University of Sportsclub that had hired him to replace Jorge Amado Nunes.

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The ‘Flaco’ grabbed the team in the middle of the tournament, but he already knew his new bosses closely. They didn’t know him yet, but he had already seen them. , recalls Jaime León Pallete, former leader of the merengue cast.

The day after Gareca’s arrival on Peruvian soil, on September 30, the creams received Cienciano with Omar Jorge on the bench. They won 2-1 with Gareca, we understand, on the stage analyzing their future coaches.

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From the photos with a suit posing with the Universitario jersey at the Jorge Chávez airport to his debut against Bolognesi by Juan Reynoso, scoring goalless. From officially becoming the fourth cream coach in that season to getting his first victory only in his fourth game, 2-1 against Deportivo Municipal.

The hug was long in coming, but the work was not. For Gareca that is the only way to success. “He is aware of the details, tries not to leave loose ends. She listens a lot, analyzes and tries to take as much time as possible to make decisions, to get the most out of the information ”, says Antonio García Pye, current national team manager of the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) and former manager of the ‘U’. The Gareca of yesterday is the same today.

For the Argentine coach, details were always important. Miguel Cevasco played ten years in ‘U’ and remembered those days when ‘Tigre’ was his coach: “He called our parents or wives to see how we behaved at home or with families, or how they saw that we fed ourselves”. “No technician had done that”he added in an interview a few years ago.

“He is a very paternal person, who knows how to reach the player individually very well. He cares a lot about the person, how each one is outside of football. He asks a lot of questions, for which today there are coaches and psychologists, but he liked to handle himself that way. He has the best memories, first as a person. It was nice to work with him, because he teaches you”says Carlos Galván.

The paternalism of Ricardo Gareca, the same one that led him to trust Christian Cueva and make him -for many- the best player of his era in the national team. In the scorer of these Qualifiers and a fundamental piece to continue dreaming of going to the second consecutive World Cup. That same bond forged with donny neyra, its Cave in the ‘U’. The former soccer player himself told an anecdote that reflects how the coach seeks a relationship with his players to try to get the best of them.

“I didn’t travel to the South American game because I was late for two previous training sessions. I warned but it didn’t happen to me. The team travels ‘OR’, at dawn to Quito. It was very hard. He told me: ‘I have made the decision to get you out’. The worst thing is that he didn’t look at my face, but at the side. After that, I went out and got a cry, I felt that I had failed him. Days later, they called me from Quito: ‘The Professor says that you are going to play again’. But we didn’t talk to each other. One day we were in Tacna, while he was pouring water on my hair, at the rally, he told me:. Ricardo, my old man, brought out the best in me in football. He marked a lot in my life, it could have been much better if he continued by my side, but fate did not want it”.

The results did not arrive soon for the technician in the ‘OR’. The Clausura finished in second place. The 2008 season began with many changes in the ‘U’. Ricardo Gareca he dispensed with some references to put together a more competitive team. He risked it and he was right: he was champion of the Apertura Tournament, the first cream title in six seasons.

That night, the cream soccer players could finally celebrate. All thanks to ‘Flaco’, although he, obsessed with work, was already planning the next challenges the next day. Romina Antoniazzi, former press officer of the FPF, recalled the eternal dawn in which Peru qualified for a World Cup after 36 years at the hands of Gareca. “The night of the game against New Zealand, for example, at my house they were waiting for me with a big reception, everyone was happy. The game ended at 11 p.m. The conference at one. I said I would arrive at 2, and I was only able to leave at 3. Sleepy, exhausted, happy… but very tired! I couldn’t even stop now. Before leaving, teacher Ricardo (Gareca) tells me: “Romina, tomorrow at 8 we have a meeting.” And now! I got home, said hello and threw myself on the bed. ‘Excuse me but I have to sleep: keep celebrating,’ I told them. And my family understood perfectly..

Ricardo Gareca said goodbye to the ‘OR’ with a two-goal draw against Melgar, which prevented him from fighting for his only national title. There were 65 games that he directed, with 28 wins, a title and two qualifications for international tournaments. In the Monumental stands, some fans still miss seeing him on the bench giving directions, although they are happy that he is the guide of the Peruvian team, everyone’s team.

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Source: Elcomercio

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