|Full name||Adolfo Pedernera|
|Date of birth||15 November 1918|
|Place of birth||Avellaneda, Argentina|
|Date of death||12 May 1995(aged 76)|
|Place of death||Avellaneda, Argentina|
|1955||Gimnasia y Esgrima LP|
|1960–1961||América de Cali|
|1962||Gimnasia y Esgrima LP|
|1977||América de Cali|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Adolfo Alfredo Pedernera (15 November 1918 – 12 May 1995) was an Argentine football player and coach. He was widely considered as one of the best world football players in the 1940s. He was also regarded one of the greatest Argentine players of all time. He played for the Argentina national team from 1940 until 1946. Despite the mid-attack position (at the time a sort of "buoy" in the penalty area with the sole task of putting the ball in the net), Pedernera is more of a demi-striker: he loves to return often to midfield, dragging himself behind the scorer and leaving the field free to fellow warders. Gifted with an extraordinary technique: he has the incredible ability to always be able to serve the less marked partner with millimeter pitches. His powerful and precise shot allowed him to score hundreds of career goals. Pedernera won the Copa América in 1941 and 1946, being named the Best Player of the latter. He also was elected the 12th-best South American footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS in 2000, and his name appears in the list of the 100 greatest all time footballers selected from the magazine FourFourTwo in 2017, in which he holds the 58th place.
Nicknamed el Maestro, he is considered to be the footballer who invented the role of attacking midfielder, at the time known as center-attack. He played almost every role in the attack, from the center forward to the playmaker.
Club career[change | change source]
He was so passionate about the ball that he treated it in childhood as a pet and, as a teenager, he was the ball boy at Racing, where his brother Raúl played. He tried to start his career there, but he was not approved. He caught the attention of Huracán, but before signing for the Parque Patricios team, a friend invited him to try his luck at River Plate. He would end up professionalizing there, debuting in 1935, still 16 years old. His debut was against Ferro Carril Oeste, where he dribbled past José Della Torre, a player for the Argentina national team.
He consecrated himself as conductor of the mythical riverplatense team known as La Máquina, winning five titles in the Argentine championship in the eleven years he spent at the club. Left-handed, but also skilled in his right leg, he was considered the brains of the squad, having played successfully in the five offensive positions of the different formations that squad had - Pedernera had played with idols of the 1930s, such as Bernabé Ferreyra, Carlos Peucelle and Renato Cesarini, and the following decade, where he composed the most remembered attack, together with Juan Carlos Muñoz, José Manuel Moreno, Angel Labruna and Félix Loustau. He, in turn, always praised that a good part of the Machine's success was also due to players in other positions, who provided good plays to those attackers.
In 1947, he and the goalkeeper José Soriano left River, hired by the small Atlanta, which ambitions to form a great squad to win titles. However, Villa Crespo 's team failed in their attempts, even ending up in the last position, relegated. His departure, by the way, opened a vacancy for Alfredo Di Stéfano to shine that year; until then, he had not been able to find space on the River. Di Stéfano even considered him the best he had seen play.
After the failure at Atlanta, Pedernera went to play for the team where he could have started his career, Huracán. I would end up not staying so long at Globo; a strike broke out among Argentine players in 1949. They demanded medical assistance for their families, a minimum wage for the category and the extinction of the pass, to be free to choose where they would like to play, but they were not granted. Pedernera was precisely one of the leaders of the players' union, and was one of many South Americans attracted by the tempting offer of Eldorado in what had become Colombian football, whose clubs rebelled against the local federation and FIFA itself to organize a cosmopolitan and highly profitable championship. Pedernera was signed by Millonarios, who called up several other Argentines, among them Di Stéfano himself.
As part of the so-called Ballet Azul, he won four Colombian championships in the six years he spent with the Bogotá team. In 1955, he returned to Huracán - it was part of an agreement imposed by the other South American federations, angry with the departures of their main players without being able to demand any money from them (since the Colombian league was outside FIFA's jurisdiction) which established a deadline in which such a situation could persist, and all players must then be returned to their clubs of origin. Pedernera was already 37 years old at that time and soon retired. He would later return to River Plate, working in the millionaire youth ranks.
International career[change | change source]
Pedernera was part of the talented Argentine generation that ended up being deprived of playing in a World Cup due to, among other factors, the occurrence of the Second World War, which left no conditions for the tournament to be held in the 1940s. He made his debut for the Argentina national team in 1940, scoring one of the goals in a 3–1 victory over arch-rivals Uruguay. The following year, he would join the Albiceleste squad that became South American champion, which he would again be in the other two editions he played in, in 1942 and 1946.
Obdulio Varela, who became famous as the leader of the Uruguayan title in the 1950 World Cup, declared, when asked if he feared Brazil 's forwards, the host that the celestials would beat in this tournament: "You forget that I faced Pedernera... and like him, there is no one".
Managerial career[change | change source]
In addition to his work in the youth ranks of River Plate, Pedernera has coached the top teams of arch-rivals Boca Juniors, San Lorenzo and even the Argentina national team. He was the coach of Colombia - where his prestige is even greater than in his homeland - in the 1962 World Cup, the first for which the Colombians qualified.
Honours[change | change source]
- Primera División Argentina: 1936, 1937, 1941, 1942, 1945
- Categoría Primera A: 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953
- Copa Colombia: 1953
- Copa América: 1941, 1946
References[change | change source]
- "Adolfo Pedernera". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
- "7 Greatest Footballers of the 1940's". 22 April 2018.
- Chiesa, Carlo F. (22 August 1999). "We are the champions - I 150 fuoriclasse che hanno fatto la storia del calcio" [The 150 champions that made football's history]. Calcio 2000 (in Italian). Action Group S.r.l. p. 128.
- "The Copa América Archive - Trivia".
- IFFHS' Century Elections - rsssf.com - by Karel Stokkermans, RSSSF, 2000.
- Yorkhin, Michael (25 July 2017). "FourFourTwo's 100 Greatest Footballers EVER: 60 to 51". FourFourtwo. Retrieved 2 August 2017.