Carlos Salvador Bilardo is a former professional footballer and a coach who is currently the manager of the Argentina national football team. Known as el narigon or “The big nose” for his exaggerated facial feature, Bilardo was one of star players in the 60s.
Playing CareerBilardo was a promising student and never shied away from helping out in house work. However, his first love was always football and he was one of the stars of the youth divisions during his time at San Lorenzo. Picked to play for the junior Argentina national football team at the 1959 Pan-American games, Bilardo also travelled with the team to the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
Upon returning from Rome, he moved to Deportivo Espanol in 1961, becoming the team’s top scorer. However, the once striker was slowly being placed into a defensive midfielder’s role, while he continued to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires.
In 1965, Bilardo moved to Estudiantes de la Plata where Bilardo’s leadership instincts grew. As the general in midfield, Bilardo controlled his team and the play, helping the team win the 1967 Metropolitano title, three successive Copa Libertadores titles between 1968 and 1970 as well as the 1968 Intercontinental Cup.
In 1971, Bilardo retired having graduated as a physician and went on to become the coach of Estudiantes. He helped manage his father’s furniture business while doing research on rectal cancer and practicing as a gynaecologist.
Bilardo went on, from Estudiantes, to become the coach at Colombian side Deportivo Cali. Returning to Argentina to manage San Lorenzo, Bilardo then took up the national team job at Colombia. However, failure to qualify for the 1982 world cup meant that he would be removed, going back to Estudiantes.
With a reinforced squad, Estudiantes went on to win the 1982 Metropolitano title with a fantastic attacking force. Bilardo was, thereafter, offered the position of the Argentina national team coach, a position he accepted in 1983. From then, till the end of the 1990 World Cup, Bilardo held the position, guiding Argentina and Diego Maradona to the peak of world dominance in 1986, with a world cup triumph.
Argentina, with a below-par team, won the 1986 world cup and then reached the finals of the 1990 edition, only to lose to West Germany in a re-run of the 1986 final.
Bilardo then shifted to teaching and journalism, following the end of his tenure as national team coach. He went on to have brief stints in Sevilla FC and Boca Juniors, before moving on to coach the Libyan national team.