Argentina mourns César Luis Menotti

Argentina is mourning César Luis Menotti, the coach who led the mighty Argentina to victory at the 1978 World Cup and a central figure in Argentine football. He has died at the age of 85. Menotti, who held the position of director of the national team within the Argentine Football Association (AFA), has died. 

His death came as the country was engrossed in the final of the local championship between Estudiantes de la Plata and Vélez Sarsfield (ironically, Estudiantes won the final, led by that other great Argentine coach, Carlos Bilardo). The news of Menotti’s death stopped the excitement in Santiago del Estero, where the final was being played. The announcement was made over the stadium’s loudspeakers and screens, leaving everyone in silence.

Although Menotti’s deteriorating health – he had been hospitalised in recent weeks with a serious arrhythmia – had made his death predictable, it still came as a shock to many of those who witnessed the final moments of the Cup.

In a world of fake news, people began to doubt what is circulating on social media until the official confirmation arrived. When it did, it silenced an entire stadium, which paid tribute to Menotti at half-time with a well-deserved minute’s silence, followed by the Argentine war cry in homage: ‘El que no salta, es un inglés’ (‘He who doesn’t jump is an Englishman’).

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