After nine years of the Celeste’s historic title, Diego Lugano, the captain of that generation of the Uruguayan team, relived memorable moments and some stories from that CONMEBOL Copa America 2011 held in Argentina. The victory meant “placing Uruguay back in the first place at the world rank”.
The legendary Uruguayan player has been interviewed by Juan José Buscalia, an important sportive journalist, and the transmission was this Friday, June 19th, through the official YouTube of the Copa América.
“Although our generation came from a brilliant World Cup, I think that lifting the Copa America’s Cup in 2011, rounded off our good moment and we gave our compatriots an enormous joy. Without a doubt, that image of me lifting the Copa America’s Cup is the best of my career and one that will stay with me forever” said the former defender and captain of the Uruguayan team in 2011.
Lugano recalled that the mentality of that victory was different: “We were prepared to be champions. But knowing that the road was not going to be easy. We had some difficult games, such as Argentina, for example. Imagine how that team was, with Messi at the head and at their home”.
“But we also had our stars like Suárez, Forlán, Cavani and Godín. It was an extremely exciting return game. But we knew that we were the only team in the world, at that moment, that could beat Argentina at home. And that is what history says, and the win happened in the quarterfinals,” he recalled.
In the semi-finals, La Celeste beat Peru 2-0 and in the final, they beat Paraguay 3-0 to become the best team on the continent in 2011. “We were never so local like day at the final of the Copa America. Not even at the Monumental in Montevideo, and we beat a great team by imposing our style. It was a dream come true”.
The ‘Tota’ also recalled some great moments of his successful sporting career and said some words of gratitude to who he considers his best coach, ‘El Maestro’ Oscar Tabarez, who was the strategist behind the number 15 (Lugano’s t-shirt number) star in the Copa America for Uruguay.
“We would never have had the time to talk about ‘El Maestro’ in this live interview. Talking about Tabarez, for us Uruguayans, is a synonymous of greatness. I think he is the coach who brought a profound transformation in our football, one that transcends borders. For me, this influence will never happen again. The ‘Maestro’ uses football as a tool to bring goods to society,” said Lugano.
The former player currently serves as sports director at Sao Paulo, the team with which he achieved the Eternal Glory, winning the CONMEBOL Libertadores in 2005.
This is CONMEBOL’s first exclusive interview with its legends, in celebration of the 104th anniversary of the CONMEBOL Copa América, the world’s oldest national team tournament.
To watch the full interview, visit our Youtube channel.