The Beauty Around Cesar Luis Menotti


A photo archive displays FC Barcelona players, Diego Maradona, and FC Barcelona coach Cesar Luis Menotti (right) during an international soccer tournament between FC Barcelona and FC Girondins de Bordeaux, in Bordeaux, France, on August 28, 1983. The Argentine Football Federation announced that Menotti passed away at the age of 85 on Monday (6/5/2024) morning, WIB.

The world of football mourns the passing of Cesar Luis Menotti. The legendary coach who led Argentina to win its first World Cup trophy in 1978 is the last bastion of the beauty of football. He was unmoved by the romantic idea of ​​playing football at a time when Argentine national team was starting to be attached to the image of a hard and rough game.

Menotti, nicknamed “El Flaco” (The Thin One), passed away at the age of 85. He was the coach of the Argentine national team from 1974-1982. The news of Menotti’s passing was announced by the Argentine Football Association (AFA). The cause of his death was not detailed. However, local media in Argentina reported in March that Menotti was being treated at a clinic due to severe anemia.

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“The Argentine Football Association deeply regrets to report the death of Cesar Luis Menotti, former coach of the Argentine World Cup champions,” AFA said in its official statement on Monday (5/6/2004) morning WIB.

Throughout my life, I have always strived to uphold the standards of beauty that potentially exist within football, by deploying my best abilities whenever and wherever possible.


Cesar Luis Menotti spoke at a seminar in Havana, Cuba, in front of dozens of Cuban soccer coaches on October 4th, 2005. The Argentine Football Federation announced Menotti’s passing at the age of 85 on Monday morning, May 6th, 2024, WIB.

The world football public has lost its figure. The Argentine people felt deeper sorrow as several years ago they lost Diego Maradona. Menotti and Maradona are like two sides of a coin that cannot be separated. He is known as the coach who realized Maradona’s great talent and gave him the opportunity to debut in the Argentine national team on February 27 1977. Maradona was still 16 years and 3 months old at that time.

However, the relationship between the two was strained after Menotti did not include Maradona in the 1978 World Cup winning squad. In fact, at that time Maradona was predicted to become a great player. Many people questioned his decision.

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On one occasion, Menotti revealed his decision not to bring Maradona to the World Cup because he was worried about Maradona’s welfare. “I did what I felt I had to do. I love him more than anyone else. I fell in love with Diego. He is still very young and fragile,” said Menotti.

They may not have had the chance to work together to win the 1978 World Cup. However, Menotti and Maradona still secured their place in history as they led Argentina to win the 1979 U-20 World Cup, leaving their mark with golden ink.


Manager of the Argentina national team, Cesar Luis Menotti, announced during a press conference in Buenos Aires on January 25, 2019. The Argentine Football Federation announced that Menotti passed away at the age of 85 on Monday (6/5/2024) morning, Indonesian Western Time.

As a coach, Menotti has many ideas in his head. All of these ideas have the same common thread, which is beauty. Menotti strongly believes that beauty in football should not be lost or overshadowed by the end result.

Apart from being skilled as a team tactician, Menotti is also quite a productive writer. His thoughts were spread in articles in the media, one of which was Kompas. Menotti’s writings were scattered in Kompas from 1988 to 2012. His insistence on the beauty of football is reflected in his writing in the August 9 1988 edition of Kompas entitled “Basic Attitudes of the Football Community”.

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In his writing, Menotti highlights the growing football industry that erodes the beauty of the game. Menotti condemns the banners of commercialization that lead football away from its purity.

“These deviations have been proven to spread everywhere. What I mean is a subversive form, where physical struggles between players that are naturally seen on the field turn into efforts to harm fellow players. Playing rough is like an ambition aimed at ending the opponent’s career,” wrote Menotti.


Argentine national team manager Luis Cesar Menotti conversed with Argentine national team coach Lionel Scaloni during training in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires on May 28, 2019, before the Copa America event. The Argentine Football Federation announced Menotti’s passing at the age of 85, on Monday (5/6/2024) morning WIB.

One of Menotti’s criticisms was directed at the Argentine national team, which was becoming known for its image of playing hard and being violent in order to achieve victory. The paradox of Argentina’s great talents with the characteristic of a game that justifies any means is also discussed by Jonathan Wilson in his book Angels with Dirty Faces.

Seeing the Argentine national team adopting a pragmatic approach is torture for Menotti, who is a football puritan. For him, the beauty of playing football is far more valuable than the end result. Menotti believes that the final result (victory and trophies) will only be recorded in history books, while an impressive game of football will be deeply embedded in society’s hearts.

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In the same article in Kompas, Menotti explains clearly that he is a devotee of the beauty of the game.

“Throughout my life, I have always strived to uphold the standards of beauty that are inherently present in football, by utilizing my best abilities whenever and wherever possible. All of my thoughts are translated onto the green field, especially to the talented players who have made such great contributions to football. Also to the players whose dependability has proven to make their teams have a certain distinctive characteristic,” he said.


Cesar Luis Menotti, after being introduced as the new coach of the Tecos football team in Guadalajara, Mexico on August 29th, 2007. The charismatic coach who led Argentina to win the 1978 World Cup passed away at the age of 85 on Monday (6/5/2024) morning, Western Indonesian Time.

Fighting dictators

The most memorable moment in Menotti’s coaching career was when he presented Argentina with their first World Cup trophy in 1978. However, more than that, in the same final match Menotti also inserted a “beauty” of resistance against the dictatorship of Argentina’s rulers in the final match against the Netherlands.

Argentina was ruled by the military regime of General Jorge Rafael Videla who gained power after launching a coup in 1976. Videla was an iron-fisted leader who did not hesitate to suppress anyone who had different views from him. Under his leadership, the number of political prisoners in Argentina increased and around 30,000 people disappeared for opposing Videla.

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The pressure from the world community on Videla’s dictatorial government spread to the point that there was talk of boycotting Argentina as the host of the 1978 World Cup. In the end, the tournament still took place and Videla actually used this opportunity as propaganda for his government to the international community through the slogan “Los Argentines somos derechos y humanos (we Argentines are honest and humane)”.

Menotti was born on November 5, 1938 in Rosario, a university city in Argentina known for its left-wing thoughts. As a coach who had ideas and principles, Menotti used football as a field of resistance against the Videla regime.


Coach and manager of the Argentine national team, Cesar Luis Menotti, in a photo released in March 1978. The charismatic coach who led Argentina to win the 1978 World Cup passed away at the age of 85 on Monday morning (5/6/2024) Indonesian Western Time.

In the final match against the Netherlands, the battle had already begun before kick-off. Instead of paying respects to the government officials’ grandstand, the Argentine players actually paid homage to the spectators’ stand. This was Menotti’s way of showing his support for the people rather than government officials.

Menotti’s idea of the beauty of football is also related to his principle of opposing dictatorial government in Argentina. Through beautiful gameplay, Menotti rejects the fascist leaders’ ways of controlling all aspects of community life, including football. In Italy, the influence of fascist leader Benito Mussolini led to the Italian national team being built on physical strength and organization, with little room for creativity, expression, and talent.

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Menotti created an antithesis. He built the Argentinian national team by giving ample space to natural football talents. The Argentinian national team’s play under Menotti’s guidance was so passionate, based on ball control.

Indirectly, Argentina’s style of play is a strong protest from Menotti to Videla. Menotti successfully instilled an expressive style of football that reminds people of Argentina’s past.


Argentinian coach, Cesar Luis Menotti, giving directions during a Mexican League football match in Guadalajara, Mexico on September 7, 2007. The charismatic coach who led Argentina to win the 1978 World Cup passed away at the age of 85 on Monday morning, May 6, 2024 WIB.

The expressive style of play is the identity of Argentina before it was taken over by the military junta. Through soccer, Menotti outright rejected the authoritarian and conservative values of Videla and his government.

It feels quite difficult to find a coach like Menotti in present times. A coach who prioritizes beauty and champions values in their style of play, instead of only focusing on trophies and victories. This is why the world of football has lost such a figure as Menotti. Rest in peace in peace, El Flaco… (AP)

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