Carlos Bilardo and the story of the most unusual call he made in the national team: scoring Brazil’s 9th in a single game

The Municipality had closed the Bombonera. “Maintenance problems”, read the minutes that forced Boca to play at home on the Atlanta field, against Platense, for the old Metropolitano, Wednesday, August 17, 1983. That day, Roberto Mouzo received the first message: Carlo Bilardo he was interested in calling him up for the national team. Xeneize’s coaching staff warned him that one of the coach’s assistants would evaluate his performance.

He received the news with great amazement. “I knew that Bilardo sent spies everywhere, but that he followed me … The truth is that, given my age, I didn’t expect it”, the vigorous defender remembers today. He was the captain of Boca, he was 30 years old. In those days, 30 was considered an age close to retirement. And the process that would lead to Mexico 86 had just begun. No one could have imagined that a 33-year-old player could reach the World Cup. In fact, the only one of that age in the World Cup squad was Daniel Passarella, a historical figure.

Carlos Bilardo with the three players called up for the first time in that 1983 match against Brazil: Héctor Cúper, Roberto Mouzo and Alberto Márcico
Carlos Bilardo with the three players called up for the first time in that 1983 match against Brazil: Héctor Cúper, Roberto Mouzo and Alberto MárcicoARCHIVE THE NATION

But more surprising than the sequel was the first interview he had with the coach. “He met me in the furniture shop his family had in via Juan B. Justo at 5000. We met there and went to a nearby bar for a coffee.” Bilardo was worried about the Brazilian 9’s ability to score. He was direct, he didn’t take turns: “I need you to cancel Roberto Dinamita in that game. There aren’t many who know about the stopper function and want to play it like this. But it will be the only time I call you. I need you for this match, nothing more. I will not call you anymore because I have other players”, He clarified.

The Copa América was played in a similar format to that of the Libertadores, with home and away games. Argentina shared Group 2 with Ecuador and Brazil. In the first game, on 10 August, the team drew 2-2 with the Ecuadorians in Quito. Although they started well and went 2-0 with a couple of goals from Burruchaga, the height weighed heavily and the team fell back in the second half. When the locals posted the discount, the Argentines tried to buy time. Ivo Ron tried to get the ball quickly into the goal, but José Luis Brown stopped him. They pushed each other and the referee sent them both off.

Roberto Mouzo, at the Monumentale, on 24 August 1983;  Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 for the Copa América
Roberto Mouzo, at the Monumentale, on 24 August 1983; Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 for the Copa América

For the coach, Brown was indispensable. He was given two suspension dates and he had to turn to someone else. and there he appeared Mouzo, a glory of Boca. His 426 games with that shirt are an unbeaten record. But at the time they were asking him to accept a one-time citation, as a second option and for an emergency. What was your response? “I accepted, of course. It was the selection. Bilardo was sincere, he told me that he was calling me at that precise moment and that he was not going to call me anymore. ‘No problem, count on me for everything you need’I said”.

-Another in his place could have taken such a request badly. What did your Boca teammates tell you when they found out?

-That was crazy, that I had to say no.

– Whose madness is it?

-Da Bilardo … and the truth is that even a little mine (laughs). I explained the same thing to everyone: worse was what happened to me in 1976, with Menotti. I was playing well and people asked me for the national team. He had to summon me. He took me to Russia for a 45 day tour (N. de la R .: it was 15), but he didn’t give me a minute, because he was fighting with Toto Lorenzo. It was hard for me to digest it. The Bilardo thing didn’t bother me, he told me things in advance.

The selection in Moscow, in 1976: Roberto Mouzo, Ricardo Bochini, César Menotti and Hugo Gatti
The selection in Moscow, in 1976: Roberto Mouzo, Ricardo Bochini, César Menotti and Hugo Gatti

That 1976 tour was important for the team. César Luis Menotti’s team played against European teams for the first time. They beat the Soviet Union in Kiev (1-0), Poland in Chorzow (2-1) and lost to Hungary in Budapest (2-0). Then he played two more games with the clubs: he lost 2-1 to Hertha Berlin and drew goalless with Sevilla. Not even in those “unofficial” meetings Mouzo had an opportunity.

But it does not hold a grudge. He even proudly comments that there was to see the final against Holland at the Monumental, in 1978. “I took the ticket and I can say that I was the first to enter. The field opened at 11 and I was from before making the line that reached the Federal Shooting. A policeman saw me and brought me in front of everything. I was in the popular one, in the paravalanchas, next to the boy who became famous because he was dressed as a wedding.

But the story dates back to 1983. That same Thursday, August 18, Bilardo announced the presence of Mouzo in the call for the duel for the second round of the Copa América with Brazil. Mouzo has always been a player that I would have liked to have in my teams. I called him and told him I needed him now. That is fine. It has been two years since he held this function in Boca. If he had continued as a stopper, he would have had no doubts in confirming today that he is the owner ”, explained the coach to LA NACION that day.

Argentina beat Brazil in the 1983 Copa América

Argentina’s victory against Brazil in the 1983 Copa América

Friday was the first training session and Bilardo He was sent to follow Ricardo Gareca around the field. More than satisfied: “It is almost certain that he will be the starter,” she said.

The press wondered if he could make it to Mexico (even if what would have been a traumatic draw wasn’t even played). “I am 30 years old and the important thing for every athlete is to lead an orderly life,” Mouzo replied. I can’t say if I will continue in this physical state for three years, but I have the enthusiasm not to disappoint anyone. “

And on the specific situation of the marking, Roberto Dinamita said: “I have already had the opportunity to mark him in a home run that we played with Boca in Venezuela. He is a tough player and you can’t give him a yardstick. “

Alberto Márcico and Roberto Mouzo, starters in the Argentine triumph over Brazil, on 24 August 1983
Alberto Márcico and Roberto Mouzo, starters in the Argentine triumph over Brazil, on 24 August 1983ARCHIVE THE NATION

The “experiment” went very well. August 24 will be marked as a historic day. The team hadn’t beaten Brazil for 13 years and won 1-0 at Monumental (Gareca’s goal). According to reports, Dynamite only managed to escape Mouzo once. But it was a safe game. He never touched the ball for the whole game.

Bilardo made him play another game, the following week against Ecuador (another 2-2, but this time at Monumental). It was no longer at the end of the group (0-0 against Brazil at the Maracana) and Argentina were eliminated. And, as he had promised, he never called him again.

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