From The Soccer Field to The Presidency: The Untold Story of Javier Milei and Martín Ortiz in the Inferiores del Cuervo

Martín Ortiz, with an archer’s diver, and Javier Milei, his competitor in the fence in the Inferiores del Cuervo

It was 1987 when a 16-year-old teenager showed up at Ciudad Deportiva with the dream of being a professional goalkeeper. Accompanied by his parents, Javier Gerardo Milei arrived with a red sweatshirt with blue sleeves, from the brand with the three stripes, with the deepest desire to join the Lower Divisions of San Lorenzo. He tried himself in the Fifth Division, but was not signed to play in AFA tournaments, but instead joined a parallel team called “Los Forzosos de Almagro”, directed by Roberto Betinotti.

“He shared training with us. He didn’t lack conditions, but he was short in stature and didn’t reach 75 meters. He didn’t have the bearing of a goalkeeper, and on top of that, in that division I was the starter,” recalls Martín Ortiz, who in addition to being the captain, competed in the position with him under the three sticks.

Milei was part of “La 70” del Ciclón, the same category as Juan José Cardinal, Gustavo Tempone and Osvaldo Ozzán, and which would also be joined by Juan Carlos Docabo, today the goalkeeper coach of the team led by Ruben Insua. “They didn’t sign him because the starting team was made up of guys who had been at the club for years. In the time he spent at San Lorenzo, he was never among the leaders of the locker room,” adds the 60-year-old.

Behind closed doors, in dressing rooms, Milei had a hard time finding her place. Although she had the intention of joining the group, in the youth divisions she usually pays floor fees. “We didn’t accommodate her, but not because we were sons of bitches or anything in particular, but because she was a group apart. Javier wanted to join. But since they didn’t sign him, we looked at him out of the corner of our eye,” reveals Chúcaro Ortiz, popularly known in this way in the Los 70 team.

In the Boedo club, the leader of La Libertad Avanza spent a year and a half, and earned two nicknames. Pocho Bettinotti defined him as “El Loco del Arco” and his teammates called him “Rambo.” “It was fashionable at that time and Javier came singing that song, he compared himself to Rambo,” says the former guard in dialogue with Infobae, while taking a break at the hair salon he runs at José Bonifacio 168, in the heart of Caballito.

Three years ago, Chúcaro Ortiz received an audio from the current President of the Nation, greeting him and remembering his time in Boedo. And immediately, Ortiz invited him to join the WhatsApp group of the Barça “La 70” boys. “I spoke to him and told him that we had a WhatsApp group. I asked him if he wanted to join and he told me yes, but that he was not very keen on participating. I added him, but after two months he left,” says his former partner.

Ortiz and Osvaldo Ozzán, former First Division player in CASLA

– What is it about your life, Martín?

– I have my hair salon, where former footballers like Osvaldo Ozzán, Roberto Oste and Fabián García, Ruben Darío Insua’s field assistants, come; Mariano Lisanti, who is working with Frank Darío Kudelka. All former teammates in San Lorenzo de Almagro.

– Gallego Insua needs to go and a full cardboard..

– It’s strange Ruben, that blonde hair is difficult to cut. We told him, but he still didn’t show up (laughs).

-How were your beginnings in football?

– I did all the Lower Divisions in San Lorenzo de Almagro until the Third. At the age of 14, I suffered a torn cruciate ligament in one of my knees playing in Novena. I was unemployed for two years and I started playing again. Then, I went to Nueva Chicago, where I couldn’t debut in First Division.

-During your time in Ciclón, did you meet the President of the Nation, Javier Milei?

– Yes, in 1987, in the Fifth Division. He was not signed in AFA, since he went to try out and did not stay. But he did join a parallel team managed by Rodolfo Pocho Bettinotti. There was Osvaldo Díez, coordinator of the Lower Divisions, who put together a selective parallel. So, so that they don’t go around or if they were doing well at the time, they took the leap and signed him in AFA. But well, they put that together and played a separate championship that they ended up winning, after beating Huracán.

– Is it true that Milei also trained with you?

– Yes, he trained and changed with the AFA team but he was not part of the group of 25, although we did share a locker room and training sessions, and the occasional confrontation between both teams. He spent a year and a half at the club and then went to Chacarita. The tests were carried out in the Ciudad Deportiva, in Bajo Flores.

– What were those locker room talks with him like?

– They were difficult, because the locker room group is not easy; There were hawks and doves. He was on the side of the pigeons, those who did not play in AFA. Later, within those groups there were kids who had more affinity with some than with others. Javier, not being signed, was not given much room. But not because we were sons of bitches or anything in particular, but because it was a separate group due to the condition of each team. Javier wanted to join our group, but we didn’t accommodate him, we looked askance at him.

– Did they leave it aside?

-We played on Saturdays and since he didn’t come, there was a distance between those of us who were from AFA and those who were part of the selective team. So, we left him aside a little and looked at him from the side, beyond what he wanted to add to our team. It was a general camaraderie, but one had more affinity with the kids who shared our daily lives and were signed up.

Javier Milei’s message to Martín Ortiz, his former teammate from San Lorenzo

– Why wasn’t he signed in AFA?

– He was not lacking in conditions, but he was short in stature, he did not have the bearing of a goalkeeper, and on top of that I was in the same division and we competed for the position. He wanted to stick to the goalkeepers, especially me, knowing that he was the captain and starter. He was already alive at that age, he knew who to hang out with, but he was a barbaric madman, a madman from birth.

– How did you prove it?

– He always wanted to do something more than what the coach told him to do. Or he did everything fast, he was kind of clumsy too. When he saved a ball, he screamed like a madman; he harangued himself. He always wanted to stand out from the rest. That was latent, that’s how it was at all times.

– Did you want to be the center of attention?

– Yes all the time. We looked at him and said: “What’s wrong with this kid?” Because, beyond the fact that one trains and competes to reach the maximum, if the teacher tells you to do two laps, if you can steal a little, you do it. This way, if they ask you to do 100 sit-ups, you do 90. But he did 120, and he wanted to show you.

– In what way?

– He looked at you defiantly (laughs), and did everything quickly to show you that he could do it more than you. We don’t share many training sessions, but the little we did share, it was like that. He liked to be watched and looked at. They didn’t give him the conditions to save, since he was short, I don’t know if he reached 75 meters. He was a flyer, he had a very good base of legs. But no matter how much his legs give him, if you don’t have a good height, at least 190 centimeters, he doesn’t have enough to be a professional goalkeeper.

– Was he a stick-to-stick flyer?

– No, the only one who flew from stick to stick was Pato Fillol. Javier had strength in his legs. Genetics helped him, but his height was not enough for professional football.

– What nickname did they give you?

-Rambo. Because it was fashionable at that time and Javier came singing that song; He wanted to look like Rambo. He didn’t wear a headband, but he wore a red sweatshirt that he brought, because in San Lorenzo they didn’t give him clothes.

-Who took him to training and games?

– I think he was alone. I never saw his parents or his sister. At least, I don’t remember seeing them. Every time he passed me he was alone. Maybe he went to his father, he left him at the door and left. Likewise, almost all of us arrived alone. I never asked him what painting he was from.

– Was it about fighting with your teammates or rivals?

– Not one to fight, but he did like to stand out from the group. He harangued himself. He always wanted to prove himself to belong to the group, but we didn’t give him room, he didn’t pay attention to it because he was crazy, nor did we know the fate of this boy (laughs). He was one more, who went to try out and was there, but the locker rooms are not easy. We looked at it and nothing more. He didn’t talk much, but he identified with Rambo, he liked being him. He was euphoric and a football fan. He likes football a lot. He wanted to constantly excel.

– You who are a hairdresser, what type of hair did Javier have at the time?

– Very thick, thick blonde hair. She got into paraffin. Over the years, her hair gets darker, but it was much blonder than it is now.

-Why did you leave San Lorenzo?

– Because they told him that he was not going to be taken into account in AFA. She got tired and looked for another destination. He returned to Chacarita Juniors. I know that before leaving San Lorenzo he was crowned champion with the selective team against Huracán on the Defensores de Belgrano field. But I didn’t join that team because I was already in AFA.

– After San Lorenzo, did you continue to have a relationship with him?

– One day, colleague Sergio Chiarito, who is a client of mine, sent me an audio that Javier recorded for me, greeting me and remembering me. It was the audio of the reunion after so many years. They call me “Chúcaro” and Javier remembered me very well. He was happy: “You’ve been doing Chúcaro for so long, I’m glad to meet you.” Then they gave me his phone number and one day I called him. He was just getting into the media, he answered me and I asked him if he wanted to join the La 70 WhatsApp group.

Ortiz, in action, in the work he dedicated himself to after leaving football

– What did he answer you?

– He told me “yes, but I am not very keen on participating in WhatsApp groups. But delighted.” So, we put it in. It was when he was just starting to be known.

– How long did you last in the group?

– Two months. What happened? There are guys who are spicy when they talk about politics. Then, they started to ignore him a little and he left alone. These guys are very Kirchnerites and they were in charge of everything. Javier didn’t accept it, he responded a couple of times, until he got tired and deleted it. At first, he responded to two or three messages, to the best known in the group, and then he didn’t post anything until he left.

– What were those talks like in the group that made Milei angry?

– An anti-Kirchnerist put something up, another Kirchnerist refuted him, Javier didn’t give his opinion and just read. But one day he got tired of the discussions and comments, and he deleted himself. The group became very politicized and it was clear that they didn’t like him very much.

– Have you ever suggested that he go to your hairdresser to cut his hair?

– Yes, I once sent him a message through a friend of both of us. I invited him to the hairdresser to cut his hair, he told me he was going to come, but so far he hasn’t shown up. Now I see it as complicated (laughs) because he must have his own hairdresser. At the time, I understand that Lilia Lemoine cut her hair.

– Did you write to him again?

– Yes. When he was elected President of the Nation, I sent him a couple of audios but he never answered me (laughs). He doesn’t have me as a contact in his calendar.

– Were you surprised that a young man you knew in another area has become the President of the Nation?

– Yes, totally. But it is because of what she went through for so many years in Argentina. It is not his virtue, but rather the errors of Argentine politics.

2024-03-04 04:30:00
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