Ricardo Gareca He gave a television interview and reviewed his entire career as a footballer and coach, where he is currently in charge of the Peruvian national team. Tiger had a big step in Colombian soccer, where he served as a forward for the America de Cali between 1985 and 1987, Meanwhile in 1992 defended the colors of the National Athletic.
However, their first and successful stay in Colombia could have been tarnished as a result of drug trafficking who reigned at that time and who had Pablo Escobar as his most visible face. More than two decades later, Gareca learned in the voice of one of his hitmen that he was on the black list of the feared drug trafficker.
“And yes, Ricardo Gareca was always in the sights of Pablo Escobar”, It was the chilling revelation made by Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, alias Popeye, one of the most feared hitmen in the criminal structure of the Medellín Cartel. In October 2018, the criminal gave an interview to the newspaper The popular, from Peru, in which he told that they had planned to put a car bomb on some soccer players from América de Cali, where the Tiger, Today coach of the Peruvian National Team, he worked between 1985 and 1989, before his return to Argentina, to develop his last years of career in Vélez Sarsfield and River Plate.
Popeye He told about Escobar: “He was a fan of Deportivo Independiente de Medellín (DIM). From poor, hard-working and humble people. But when Atlético Nacional played in the Copa Libertadores, all Colombians were fans of that team, ”he acknowledged. And he also revealed that the drug trafficker closely followed all the América de Cali players: “We were at war. He even kidnapped players from Cali to hand over the Rodríguez (Ndr: in reference to the brothers Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela) and, as they did not cooperate, they killed the family of Pedro Enrique Sarmiento, who is currently a successful coach, but he did not cooperate ”.
“Was Gareca in Escobar’s sights?”they asked him promptly at the time. “And yes, Ricardo Gareca was always in the sights of Pablo Escobar; however, they did not reach him. The love of football Pattern saved Ricardo Gareca, because he and the other players from América de Cali they were contemplated placing a car bomb on them, since the Cali Cartel planted a car bomb on Pablo’s family ”.
Ricardo Gareca spoke in the studies of ESPN about this dreaded confession. “I found out over time because Popeye said so, a hitman from the Pablo Escobar epic. It came to me information to me, because I I do not have social networks, through WhatsApp, about a comment of his that said he had me on the list ”.
El Tigre said that he was not aware at that time about Pablo Escobar’s intention of wanting to kill him, but he did refer to the rivalry that reigned between the most popular clubs in Colombia: “I was completely ignorant, at that time rivalries were very normal but later when the real problem broke out I was coming (to Argentina).”
And I add: “Actually, when I come, this whole problem of the cartels explodes. While I was there, there were rivalries, each cartel had a team and from there it is what I knew and had knowledge. After, that problem broke out and became more serious. That was told by Popeye and I was unaware “.
A day after that chilling revelation of Popeye on October 9, 2018, Gareca was consulted and in a previous press conference of the match between the national team of Peru and the combined of chili on USA, the Tiger referred to the sayings of Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez.
“These are things that the truth is that I have no answer because if I have to talk about Colombia… I have spent sensational years in my life and those are things that come out after 25 years and I didn’t have any kind of knowledge and I don’t have any kind of knowledge, “he explained.
Gareca played for America de Cali between 1985 and 1989, a stage in which he scored 57 goals in 118 games and won two First Division titles (85 and 86). Then, in 2005, he spent a season in charge of the team as a coach. Even after the end of Russia World Cup 2018 had been named as a possible candidate for the Colombian national team to replace his compatriot Joseph Nestor Pekerman.
Mafia and soccer
Velásquez, who at the request of Pablo Escobar murdered, among many, his own girlfriend, referred to the interference of drug trafficking in soccer. “The mafia greatly damaged Colombian football. Pablo Escobar had control of DIM, Nacional, as well as Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, partner of the Pattern, had the Millionaires; the Gaviria brothers, to America de Cali, but they all made football fail. Now Atlético is with the Postobón brand, Millonarios with industrial shareholders from Bogotá, and América de Cali, with businessmen. “
“They kidnapped players, bought referees, negotiated matches”, they pointed out to him, affirmation of which Popeye He did not deny: “Pablo Escobar, the Rodríguez, Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, they all bought referees. In Colombia there was a mafia in soccer.”
Apart from football issues, Popeye, who died in February 2020, responded as to whether he regretted being a hit man. “I was loyal to Pablo Escobar. I had chariots, horses, everything, but I lost my youth in dungeons. That is why I try to tell young people that youth is the greatest treasure ”.
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