Previously at Grasshopper HQ: Ángel Bastardo was left for dead after the mutiny in Milan.
The three words echoed in his head like a beating drum: “For La Plata”, “For La Plata”, “For La Plata” …it had been this way for hours, days…maybe even years? He couldn’t tell.
Every bone ached. His head pounding and his chest hollow, the next breath could be his last. Breathe slowly he thought, but even that hurt him. His olive-skinned face, hardened by 41 years of Argentine sun, was covered white by the snow that surrounded his desk. The snow was everywhere, covering the Estudiantes logo on his blazer, over his desk and all over the floor…Winter had finally arrived in La Plata. Yet, when Ángel Bastardo looked out at the window, the sun was shining and the air was warm. He had awoken into a nightmare.
But this wasn't a traditional Winter...and this certainly wasn't snow. The silence in the room was abruptly brought to an end as Santiago Ascacíbar bundled his way through the door, walking around the hills of cocaine that littered the floor.
"Boss?" he cried out "Where have you been? Training starts in 5 minutes".
Ángel Bastardo paused, the drug induced hangover caused him to slow his words, "Santi, why are you here my boy? I sold you, to Paris and then you came to Milano. Why are you here?"
"Boss! Verón is here too, he demands you come immediately. I’m to be sold to Stuttgart in Germany"
Jesus Christ. If Juan Sebastián Verón (aka La Brujita) was here to tell Bastardo that Estudiantes’ best prospect is to be sold, there’ll be Hell to pay. What kind of hangover is this?
He'd only just signed a contract with Estudiantes, yet the cocaine dreams had him winning the Copa Sudamericana for La Plata, a stint with the Chile National Team and Scuddeto titles & a Champions League win with Inter Milan. He’d travelled the World, visiting fellow managers…learning from the very best: Mendoza, Darwen and Rensie. 10 years of dreams were seconds in reality. A millisecond in the life of Ángel Bastardo, played out as a lifetime of drama…a splinter of the cocaine mind.
Bastardo dusted off the residue ‘snow’ from his blazer, straightened the collar on his shirt…and headed out with Ascacíbar to the training ground. It was time to Return to La Plata.
Note from the Editor:
Part of the decision to bring back Ángel Bastardo was that I needed to revisit Argentina in Football Manager 2018. 3 seasons in the Primera Division during FM17 were simply not enough, I never won a domestic trophy and I feel as if I have unfinished business in this special league.
I also couldn’t choose a different team in Argentina. Estudiantes de La Plata’s dark & rich history captivated me from the onset and I now find myself following their real-life results and watching as much of their games as I can (timezone dependant of course).
The persona of Ángel Bastardo also merited another year of FM content. Whereas Grasshopper Club Zürich’s Loïc Swartzendruber reached a natural conclusion in FM16, Bastardo is only getting started. He is often fiery and temperamental, but sometimes calculated and cold. Like Estudiantes, Bastardo is now very much central to my life.
So I hope you join me again in my new series: “Return to La Plata”. The plan is to spend the whole of FM18 with this crazy club, reaching 10 seasons and building an Argentine dynasty that will see the World take note of Ángel Bastardo once more. My next post (out on Friday 20 October 2017) will discuss the finer details of what I want to do in FM18. A little tease can be seen over on fmgrasshopper.com/fm18...which is where this year's content will be collated. But until then…rejoice in the fact that Bastardo is back!
FM Grasshopper (in the guise of Ángel Bastardo)