Saturday, October 10, 2009

Three transfers of Argentine players in the summer of 1972 I think were pivotal for the new changes: Pasoriza, Veron, and Piazza.
Jose Omar Pastoriza or ‘El Pato’ (The Duck) was bought by AS Monaco from Independiente. El Pato was getting old, but he was a star. He played 18 matches for Argentina between 1966 and 1972, but more importantly he was fresh from winning Copa Libertadores with Independiente this year. A high profile player of the kind not seen in Europe after 1966.
Osvaldo Piazza was the opposite of Pastoriza: not a striker, but central defenseman. Young, not old, and coming from little known midtable Argentine club hardly known in Europe – Lanus. Saint Etienne snatched him as soon as he made impression in his home land to replace the legendary Robert Herbin, who took the coaching position of the club. Piazza became a key player of the great Saint Etienne of mid-1970s, one of the best defensemen in Europe at the time, and played a total of 15 games for Argentina between 1972 and 1977. Menotti wanted him badly in 1978, but Piazza declined the offer for family reasons, which at that time may had been really political reasons. Thus, Piazza failed to become World Champion in 1978, but his reputation in Europe was great.
France was buying South Americans in the previous years, perhaps the only European country doing so in the late 1960s, but this time high profile players came – once again South American stars were interesting for the European clubs, both established and young and promising, and in the next years the number only increased.