I was reading through the book Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeno and one of the passages from a particular section stuck me. At the end of the section entitled Moreno Galeno writes: “In 1961 after retiring, he became coach of Medellín in Colombia. Medellín was losing a match against Boca Juniors from Argentina, and the players could not make any headway toward the goal. So Moreno, who was then forty-five, got out of his street clothes, took the field, and scored two goals. Medellín won.”
Pehaps José Manuel Moreno hates losing and has an enourmous amount of confidence in his soccer skills, but to me it seems that Moreno is a player who has an incredible passion for the game of soccer. Moreno certainly had a wild personality, and presented the image of a soccer player that was significantly different than his peers both past and present. Its common to see soccer players caught in the limelight, intoxicated by the fame that accompanies the status of an excellent player, and focused on fine tuning every aspect of their life to become the perfect player. Moreno however is refreshingly different from this. For example instead of pining over the perfect diet and foods that will optimize performance on the field, Moreno preferred to drink and eat however he pleased. In fact he was known to go out to cafes and bars in Buenos Aires at night to listen to music and hang out with friends.
Another example of Moreno’s passion for soccer was illustrated by the fact that “In 1952 Nacional in Montevideo made him a juicy offer, but he chose instead to play for another Uruguayan side, Defensor, a small club that could pay him little or nothing, because he had friends there. That year, Moreno stopped Defensor’s decline.” Moreno is a soccer player who loves the game, he exemplifies a player who plays for the joy of the game, and its refreshing to see this.
Moreno’s character is a breath of fresh air from the highly optimized, and almost mechanical nature of many other players who rise to prominence, he might even be described as organic and real when compared to other players of his caliber.
Interesting thought! Its refreshing to see passion in sports and to know that athletes played because of their love for the game rather than for the limelight. To me, based off the reading Moreno is complex – on one hand, I think that he really liked the limelight, but on the other hand, he seemed passionate about the game. Love for the game and the limelight are intertwined in today’s sports, including soccer. A lot of professional players start off really passionate about the game, but because of the attention placed on them, by the end of their careers they crave the limelight. Unfortunately, because of the increasing intensity in professional sports today, partying can be detrimental to an athlete’s career – more so than in Moreno’s days.