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Adolfo Alfredo Pedernera (15 November 1918 – 12 May 1995), born in Avellaneda, Argentina, was a football player and coach. Nicknamed "El Maestro" ("The Teacher"), He was widely considered to be one of the greatest world football players in the 1940s, as well as one of the greatest Argentine players of all-time. Pedernera was the natural conductor of both famous River Plate team known as La Máquina (Spanish for "The Machine"), with whom he won several Argentine and South American titles, and Millonarios team called Ballet Azul (Blue Ballet), with which won the Small Club World Cup in 1953 among many others Colombian titles. Playing for the Argentine Team he won two times the Copa América in 1941 and 1946, being awarded as the Best Player of the latter. He also was elected the 12th best South american footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS in 2000, and his name appears in the list of the 100 greatest all-time footballers selected from the magazine FourFourTwo in 2017, in which he holds the 58th place.
Pedernera with the
Argentina national team, c. 1945.
|Full name||Adolfo Pedernera|
|Date of birth||15 November 1918|
|Place of birth||Avellaneda, Argentina|
|Date of death||12 May 1995(aged 76)|
|1955||Gimnasia y Esgrima LP|
|1960–1961||América de Cali|
|1962||Gimnasia y Esgrima LP|
|1977||América de Cali|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Adolfo Pedernera usually played as an inside forward and was renowned for his technique and ability to create chances for other players, whilst also being a prominent goalscorer.
As an adolescent, Pedernera displayed talent for football. The first club he joined was Cruceros de la Plata, but he soon joined the professional Club Atlético Huracán. In 1933, he joined the Club Atlético River Plate. In 1935, at the age of 16, he debuted with this club.
During his time at River Plate he was part of five Primera División winning squads in 1936, 1937, 1941, 1942 and 1945.
The Second World War kept Pedernera away from the game as he could not participate in a World Cup, but afterwards, his career continued to progress. Still with the Club Atlético River Plate, he played with the likes of Ángel Labruna, José Manuel Moreno, Félix Loustau, and Juan Carlos Muñoz. He also collaborated with Hugo Reyes, Antonio El Maestrico Báez, Néstor Rossi, and Alfredo Di Stéfano who he would later be teammates with them for CD Los Millonarios in Colombia, but first, in 1947, he was offered a million pesos to play for Atlanta of Buenos Aires.
Pedernera's time with Atlanta was short. After the club was relegated for the first time, he returned in 1948 to Huracán where he started his career. However, Carlos Aldabe, the trainer of Millonarios, visited Pedernera in Buenos Aires and convinced him to come to Bogotá, Colombia. There, Pedernera joined the Millonarios on 8 June 1949. He arrived in Bogotá on 10 June and was greeted at the Aeropuerto de Techo by 5,000 fans transported by 200 cars and 25 buses.
Pedernera settled in the north of Bogotá after being received into the club. On 11 June 1949, he attended his first game with the Millonarios, in which they defeated the Club Atlético Municipal (now the Atlético Nacional) with a score of 6–0. On 25 June, Pedernera played for the first time with the club, helping them defeat the Club Deportes Caldas with a score of 3–0. The press of Bogotá received Pedernera well and commented the next day that "El Maestro" ("The Teacher") was "a phenomenon, an artist, a master of passing, and a show of intelligence. After the debut of El Maestro, everything is possible."
Along with Alfredo Di Stéfano and Nestor Rossi, Pedernera helped the Millonarios to their Colombian championship title in 1949. According to Di Stéfano, the team played with the "5 and dance" strategy, in which they would try to not humiliate their opponents by scoring when they were leading by five goals. This strategy was employed in nine consecutive victories. In championship play, Pedernera scored the two decisive goals in the championship deciding play-off matches against Deportivo Cali in 1949.
After Carlos Aldabe retired as coach from Millonarios Pedernera took over as player-manager and was in this position instrumental in winning the three consecutive championships from 1951 to 1953 and the Copa Colombia of 1953.
In this era the Millonarios defeated such other strong teams at the time as Argentina's Huracán, Bolivia's Bolívar, Austria's Rapid Wien, and even his old team, Argentina's River Plate, which had won Primera División championships in 1952 and 1953.
In March 1952, when Pedernera was 33 years old, he was part of the Millonarios tour of Europe. On this trip, they achieved an outstanding win over Real Madrid 4–2 at Chamartín Stadium. The Spanish club asked for a rematch, playing two games else that were also won by Millonarios.
Pedernera also led his team to victory in the Small Club World Cup ("Pequeña Copa del Mundo", an international club tournament held in Venezuela) in 1953. He, along with Don Alfonso and Mauro Mórtola, were placed on a list of noted Millonarios players. The team credits him with establishing their mark on Colombia football.
In 1954, the Lima Pact forced all "illegal" players to return to their clubs of origin, so Pedernera returned briefly to Huracán.
Pedernera also coached Colombia and Argentina national teams. He is remembered in Colombia for helping the national team qualify for its first FIFA World Cup, the 1962 edition in Chile, where Colombia had a good participation. On the other hand, under his coaching Argentina failed to qualify to the 1970 World Cup when the team tied 2–2 with Peru in La Bombonera. This was the first time that Argentina failed to qualify to a World Cup tournament.
In 1993, he published his autobiography named "El fútbol que viví ... y que yo siento" (the football I lived ... and I feel), assisted by journalist Alejandro Yebra.
In 1994, Pedernera was reunited for the last time with his lifelong friends Alfredo Di Stéfano and Pipo Rossi at the Feria Internacional del Libro in Bogotá. Pedernera died the next year.
- Chiesa, Carlo F. (August 22, 1999). "We are the champions - I 150 fuoriclasse che hanno fatto la storia del calcio," [The 150 champions that made football's history]. Calcio 2000 (in Italian). Action Group S.r.l. p. 128.
- IFFHS' Century Elections - rsssf.com - by Karel Stokkermans, RSSSF, 2000.
- Yorkhin, Michael (July 25, 2017). "FourFourTwo's 100 Greatest Footballers EVER: 60 to 51". FourFourtwo. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
- Argentina-Perú 1969: el peor recuerdo de la Selección en la Bombonera, El Gráfico, Nov 2016
- Official Millanarios website at the Wayback Machine (archived 2007-10-20) (in Spanish)
- Futbol Factory profile at the Wayback Machine (archived October 20, 2007) (in Spanish)
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