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“Valverde is a coach of noses, kicking him out of Barça was a mistake”

Julio Alberto in Bilbao after his talk at the Palacio Euskalduna. / IGNACIO PEREZ

Former international soccer player Julio Alberto, Txingurri’s old teammate in the culé team, praises the rojiblanco coach and recalls that playing San Mamés was always “a challenge”

Laura Gonzalez

Julio Alberto Moreno (Oviedo, 1958), former international soccer player for Atlético and Barcelona in the 1970s and 1980s, who won two Leagues and three Copas del Rey with the culé team, revived his footballing and personal past today in Bilbao. He did it as part of a conference for young university and pre-university students at the Euskalduna Palace, hand in hand with the ‘Lo que de Verdad Importa’ Foundation. The Asturian is a clear example that second chances are possible, after losing everything once he retired, plunging into a dark world of addictions, from which he has definitively closed the page.

He only makes the effort to open that chapter of his life in the talks, to show which paths should never be taken. “I had difficulties and here I am. To have it all you have to know how to manage it and it is very important to be in good company. Not everything goes, you have to know how to stop and say no. We only have one life and we have to know how to make decisions,” he explains. after his intervention in this newspaper. With his experience, he tries to support many parents with problems with their children, as well as teachers and educators. “Helping others is my other passion, aside from football.”

It is curious that someone who hated football as a child would say that, a sport in which he became one of the best defenders in the country, the undisputed starter with Spain in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and two years earlier in the European Championship in France. . “I didn’t like anything at all. I was more into cycling. I saw an ad that they were looking for players for Real Madrid and Atlético and I went there, to try, and forward”.

With the mattress club he made his debut in the First Division in 1977 at the hands of Luis Aragonés, whom he considers “a father”. “It was everything to me.” Four years later, being one of the fastest left-backs of the moment, he signed for Barça for 65 million pesetas. At the culé club, where he won all the titles of his career, he coincided with Maradona. “He was a great teammate. He was an extraordinary person, always worried about others, very affectionate. And as a footballer a ten, for me the best in the world”. At the Camp Nou, Julio Alberto also shared a dressing room with the current Athletic coach, Ernesto Valverde, with whom he is full of praise. “He’s from another galaxy. He’s a very good person, he always has been. He’s a hell of a coach. In his day it was a mistake to kick him out of Barça, he should have lasted a few more years. He’s very intelligent and knows what he wants”, ensures.

Coaching card with Guardiola

In addition to Txingurri, the Spaniard has a great relationship with other ex-rojiblancos, such as Clemente, Ángel María Villar, Alkorta or Goikoetxea, and he does not hesitate to affirm that San Mamés was always one of the most special stadiums for him of all those he stepped on in his career. “Playing at La Catedral was always a challenge. Coming here was impressive, with all the people cheering. The matches were tremendous. We already knew there was going to be firewood and that it was going to be close,” he recalls.

He has a coach’s card, he got it in the same promotion as Guardiola and Luis Enrique, and for a few months he has been the sports director of Deportivo Piloña, a modest Asturian club. “I’m helping the townspeople, we have a lot of kids.” He never tires of giving advice to them, while he enjoys watching them kick the ball. “If you reach higher levels, it’s important to manage the pressure and fame. It’s difficult. Nobody taught us, and we had to learn by leaps and bounds.”

Happily rediscovered with himself, for Julio Alberto what really matters now in life, as the motto of the foundation with which he collaborates, is his family, “and the value we give to life, day by day”. “Nature, dogs, my daughters, my granddaughter… everything makes much more sense.”

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