Upon completing 80 years of life and almost 30 years in charge of Club Athletico Paranaense, Mario Celso Petraglia has received the most diverse expressions of appreciation, affection and recognition for the extraordinary work carried out.
Even those who do not maintain close relationships, as is my case, are able to separate the merit of the great leader of Brazilian football from the self-absorbed, proud and difficult to relate to man.
I feel completely comfortable talking about Petraglia, as I have met him in the stadiums at Furacão games over the last 50 years. My faithful listener, I always admired his behavior and the observations he made about the club, which was invariably in financial crisis.
Participating in Retaguarda Atleticana, led by the idealist Valmor Zimermann and many others, he participated in the club’s stabilization movement in the early 1980s, in the adventures of buying Pavoc, taking the team to Pinheirão and bringing it back to Lowered with the construction of the so-called Farinhacão, until the definitive revolution of 1995.
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Athletico before and after Mario Celso Petraglia offers material for spectacular reports, tributes, disappointments, in short, it’s a hundred years of history. But after May 1995 everything changed for the better, thanks to the leadership of this born administrator, authoritarian, visionary, obstinate and achiever.
If vanities and disagreements had been overcome in the name of the club’s progress and if Petraglia had not chosen to remain alone, relying only on the collaboration of professional executives who came and went as the winds dictated or with lesser amateur collaborators on the board , Athletico, in addition to the magnificent leap in wealth with the construction of the Arena da Baixada and the CT do Caju, would have achieved a much greater number of championship titles.
But with unusual vigor, determination, undeniable talent for organization and enormous ability to absorb facts, he revealed himself to be a football manager far above average. Everyone was infected by his spirit of leadership, competitiveness, speed of reasoning, decision-making and appreciation of competence. The failures were seen in human relationships and, above all, in the choices of supervisors, coaches and players over the decades.
Petraglia stood out as a victorious man, who possesses the most basic quality of a manager: the taste for power and the ability to manage it. When all this work learned in the private sector arrived at a football team, it was immediately clear that Athletico was in the process of transformation, becoming one of the most modern clubs in world football.
Seeing, even from a distance, Mario Celso Petraglia celebrate 80 years of life and the success of his favorite club, I echo the words of Jean Cocteau: “Not knowing it was impossible, he went there and did it.”