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)|
|Playing position||Inside Forward|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Adolfo Alfredo Pedernera (15 November 1918 – 12 May 1995), born in Avellaneda, Argentina, was a football player and coach. Nicknamed "El Maestro" ("The Master"), He is still considered by many to be one of the greatest Argentine players of all-time. He was elected the 12th best South american footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS in 2000. Adolfo Pedernera usually played as an inside forward and was renowned for his technique and ability to create chances for others 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 Argentine Championship 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 Club Atlético Atlanta.
Pedernera's time with the Club Atlético Atlanta was short. After the club was relegated for the first time, he returned in 1948 to the Club Atlético 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, 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 Master") 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 Colombian cup of 1953.
In this era the Millonarios defeated such other strong teams at the time as Argentina's Club Atlético Huracán, Bolivia's Club Bolívar, Austria's SK Rapid Wien, and even his old team, Argentina's Club Atlético River Plate, which had won Primera División Argentina's championship tournament 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 won against the Real Madrid in Chamartín Stadium (now called Santiago Bernabéu Stadium) with a score of 4-2. The Spanish club sought a rematch, but they lost to the Millonarios two more times.
Pedernera also led his team to victory in the Pequeña Copa del Mundo in 1953. He, along with Don Alfonso Senior and Mauro Mórtola, were placed on a list of noted Millonarios. 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.
- Copa América: 1941, 1945
- Championship od Argentina: 1936, 1937, 1941, 1942, 1945
- Championship of Colombia: 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953
- Cup of Colombia: 1953
Pedernera coached Colombia and Argentina at international level. He is remembered in Colombia for helping the national team qualify for its first FIFA World Cup. He qualified them for the 1962 edition in Chile where Colombia had a good participation.1969 Argentina failed to reach the finals of the World Cup under his coaching.
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.