As the Argentine squad returned from their successful Under-20 South American championship campaign this month and looked forward to the upcoming World Cup in South Korea, fitness coach Gerardo Salorio had other concerns. “El Profe,” as players call him, was asked to resign as a result of some more than questionable behavior shown during the tournament.
In the side’s penultimate game of the qualifying tournament against Brazil, Salorio became enraged when Brazil were awarded a penalty. Fuming at the contentious decision, he took the issue up with some nearby Brazilian fans. Initially trading insults, the coach then proceeded to try and scale the fence separating the fans from the pitch-side area, inviting them down to fight.
Luckily, members of security and the selección’s coaching staff stepped in before the incident could go any further.
Salorio was, however, subject to inevitable retrospective sanctions from AFA’s Normalising Committee. Upon their return to Argentina, he was ordered to leave head coach Claudio Ubeda’s coaching staff.
Prompted by the outcome of the episode, Salorio yesterday announced his decision to call time on his career with a Facebook post, saying that he hopes his “22 years [with the national team] will not be marred by what occurred.”
In a separate interview with Closs Continental, a tearful Salorio explained: “I came to the country to change football, but today I feel like a dumbass.”
“I have to reinvent, I’ll think about the bad things I did. The situation took hold of me, I had a lot of problems.”
The coach enjoyed an illustrious career with the national side, working alongside legendary coach Nestor Pekerman during his seven year long tenure, from 1994-2001. Salorio stayed with the team after Pekerman’s departure and won five Under-20 World Cups between 1995 and 2007. He returned to the Under 20 national team in 2015, after an eight year hiatus.