The ultra-liberal Javier Milei, 53, elected president of Argentina, has a close relationship with football. He has a past as a goalkeeper in the youth teams of traditional clubs in the country and recently attracted attention when he announced that he stopped supporting Boca Juniors to support rival River Plate.
In the mid-1980s, Milei began training in the youth teams of Chacarita Juniors, a Buenos Aires club founded at the beginning of the last century that today competes in the second division of the Argentine championship. Striker Germán Cano, Copa Libertadores champion with Fluminense, played for the team in the 2009 season.
During his time at the club, young Milei received the nickname “El Loco” for the way he played in defense. In 1986, the president-elect went through a period of training at San Lorenzo, but did not act professionally, retiring from the field after taking an economics course at the University of Belgrano.
Although he left training on the field, Milei maintained his close relationship with football as he has been a declared fan since his youth and a member of Boca Juniors, with an admiration, in particular, for former coach Carlos Bilardo, who led the Argentine national team in the victorious campaign. in the 1986 World Cup.
The passion for the traditional club of “La Bombonera”, however, has been shaken in recent years. In 2013, when the team brought back midfielder Juan Román Riquelme, Milei publicly criticized the directors for considering it a populist act on the part of the team’s then president, Daniel Angelici.
Milei’s criticism of the former player and fan idol continues to this day. Riquelme is currently vice-president of Boca and is running for president in an election on December 2, against the ticket that has former president Mauricio Macri as vice-president. Macri announced support for Milei in the second round in the dispute against Sergio Massa.
In 2018, in the decision of the Libertadores final in the classic between Boca Juniors and River Plate, the politician declared that he had “turned his coat”. According to him, the reason for changing his fans was a change made by coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, with the entry of experienced midfielder Fernando Gago in the second half.
“I was supporting Boca. In fact, watching the game. But when Gago came on, which was another act of populism, I started supporting River”, said Milei, in an interview with “El País”. River Plate were the champions of the championship after beating Boca 3-1 in the final.
The Argentine politician was elected this Sunday after an aggressive campaign, with insults to Pope Francis, insults to his opponents and denial of the figure of 30 thousand dead and missing during the military dictatorship. After opponent Sergio Massa’s victory in the first round, however, he began to moderate himself.
Milei, who made the phrase “viva la libertad, carajo” (long live freedom, damn it) one of his campaign slogans, will have as his main challenge resolving the third major economic crisis experienced by the nation in the democratic period, with inflation of more than 140% annually, weights that melt in your hands and poverty on the rise. To this end, she proposes radical measures such as dollarization and the closure of the Central Bank, the target of criticism from different sides.
During the campaign, an interview gained prominence in which Milei defended Argentine football clubs the establishment of models similar to SAFs (Sociedades Anônimas de Futebol) in Brazil, an idea that received a series of criticisms from the federation and local leaders.