There is no doubt Claudio Borghi is very much his own man. Even now, at 46 years of age, the recently appointed coach of Chile continues to display the very same attributes that shone through during his playing days: impudence, daring and improvisation.
Famous for his frank and entertaining press conferences and one-on-one interviews, El Bichi has become a firm favourite with the media in his homeland Argentina and further afield. As part of our regular ‘The things they say’ series, FIFA.com has brought together a selection of some of Borghi’s choicest phrases.
“So, is it XL or what?”
In relaxed mood on his unveiling as Chile coach, Borghi jokes about the size of the tracksuit he’ll be wearing for his first photos in the role
“We’ve all got something to say about football and we all think we’re good. It’s the same with sex.”
Borghi on why football coaches are on the receiving end of so much criticism
“[Diego] Maradona scored better goals than the one against England at Mexico 1986. There were loads of mistakes leading up to it, and does anyone really think Diego would have scored that goal against Italy or Uruguay? They’d have brought him down before he had the chance.”
Borghi, a member of Argentina’s 1986 FIFA World Cup™-winning squad, on El Pelusa’s mythical strike against England
“When I started my playing career I was like a dolled-up woman in a disco: I looked much better than I actually was.”
Looking back on his early steps on the footballing ladder
“The fame you get from football can be hard for youngsters to handle. When I met my (future) wife I (was so poor I) had lice! She was 15 and when we went out we could only afford one coffee to share between us. Nowadays lads find themselves wondering whether the girls chasing them have ulterior motives. It’s hard being 20 and having 1,000 pesos (around £150) a day to spend. You can’t help but think how great you are!”
On the problems that fame can cause young players today
“In football you can’t wait until you’ve conceded a goal before you start taking the game to the opposition. It’s like with women: if you go to a disco and see a stunning blonde you have to go after her, you can’t just wait until the end of the night or for the disco to close.”
Describing, in his own trademark fashion, how he likes his teams to play football
“I find it hard to be alone, I’ve been told that it’s down to a fear of abandonment. I feel so comfortable with my wife that if she left me, I’d have to go with her!”
On his personal issues and relationship with his wife.
“Footballers are a special breed. If you do a lot of dead-ball work they say you’re a pain, but if you don’t do it they say you don’t know what you’re doing. If you give them the day off they’ll say you’re lazy, but if you train them too hard they say you’ve gone too far. You can’t win.”
Borghi’s view on the peculiar relationship between today’s players and coaches.
“If I’d played ten more games like that final against Juventus then I’d have been bigger than Maradona. But matches like that only come around every so often.”
Recalling the plaudits he received after starring for Argentinos Juniors against Juventus in the 1985 Toyota Intercontinental Cup final. Juve edged the game on penalty kicks.
“I always had good trainers. When I was a kid me and my mates would go into supermarkets and come out wearing new trainers. But it wasn’t stealing, that’d be grabbing something and making a run for it. We’d take off our old ones and leave them there instead...”
On brushes with petty crime during a difficult childhood growing up in the west of Buenos Aires.
“I don’t like talking about players who are ‘versatile’. In my opinion, someone who’s versatile plays badly in every position.”
Discussing the trend for players to be deployed in a number of roles.
“Alexis [Sanchez] could end up being better than [Lionel] Messi. It’d be great if Barcelona bought him, that way we’d see who’s best.”
Borghi’s verdict on the Udinese and Chile flyer, who once played under him at Colo Colo.
“Coaching Boca [Juniors] is like having sex with the windows open. You don’t get any privacy, ever.”
In his own inimitable way, giving his view on the rash of dressing-room leaks during his time at the helm of the Buenos Aires giants.
“[Juan Roman] Riquelme is a different kind of player, like a woman with three breasts.”
Again, true to his style, when praising the very special qualities of the iconic Boca No10.
“I’m not going to start calling up players with three ears just to set myself apart from [Marcelo] Bielsa.”
Following an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy when quizzed on his predecessor in the Chile hotseat.