All of the lights went out and Montevideo was in total darkness, the most widespread power cut in history had hit the Río de la Plata basin. Ángel Bastardo had been given 24 hours of uninterrupted passage into the city to do what he needed to do. A gift from the Russian Agent, Ruslan Chepiga.
In those 24 hours, the loyalty of Montevideo’s major gangs was secured; who swore an oath to uphold the integrity of Bastardo’s political amnesty here in Uruguay. From there, Bastardo & the heads of the Montevideo Barrios would meet with both the Uruguayan Football Association (UFA) and the Republic Government to agree the release of certain key personnel to maintain relations with the Italian mafia. The benefits of keeping up with post-colonial traditions were necessary, not just for Bastardo, but for Uruguay.
The candlelit presidential suite of Tabaré Vázquez overlooked the La Plata basin, the lights of the boats were the only thing to see as Montevideo lay in darkness for a further 6 hours…Chepiga’s guarantee.
But there was still something else that Ángel Bastardo wanted, something he needed to ask Tabaré Vázquez, Uruguay’s 41st President. Political parlay and manoeuvring were something Bastardo rarely encountered when steamrolling African republics, he wished Chepiga or Mendoza were here to negotiate in his place.
“I speak not just for myself or my hired guns here in Montevideo. I have 300 homeless Venezuelans with me Presidente. They need your help to settle here…to call Uruguay their home”. It was not something Bastardo wanted to ask, but the Venezuelans had nobody else to follow. Hugo Ojeda and his mother had defied orders to stay in Colombia…and they had taken the whole jungle compound with them too. These new disciples of Bastardo arriving shortly before Chepiga’s great power cut on the Montevideo border.
“More will follow you Ángel. This is not Uruguay’s problem, I’m sorry. And this was not part of the deal we made with the Russians”
Bastardo paused. What bargaining power does an exiled military dictator with no land now have? Then he remembered who he really was before all the folly in Africa and Colombia had happened. It seemed a lifetime ago. He remembered back to La Plata.
“Which team does El Presidente support, if I may ask?” enquired Bastardo, The Football Manager.
There was an awkward pause, as the President contemplated answering…”Let this stay within these four walls Gentlemen, please. I am Peñarol, although I publicly stay neutral” Vázquez‘s faced puzzled as to the change of subject. Some of the families around the table toasted the exchange…but some, most likely Nacional disposed, hissed and frowned.
Bastardo was quick to follow up with another question, sensing a potential breakthrough…“And how long has El Presidente waited for a Libertadores title?” Bastardo did his best to hide the smile as he asked the question, for he knew the correct answer: 32 years.
“32 years Señor Bastardo, before I was even Mayor here in Montevideo”.
Bastardo, now sensing anxiety, carefully placed his wording to Uruguay’s most powerful man…“Take these Venezuelans and score political points here in Latin America and beyond, give me control of Peñarol and in return I will give you a Libertadores title”.
The cheers outweighed the groans. Several men thumped the table and drinks fell and spilled across the room. Tabaré Vázquez nodded and held his drink up to the sky for all to see…just like that…Bastardo was made manager of Club Atlético Peñarol.
Note from the Editor - OK I admit, there have been a fair few creative posts in recent weeks; but I’ve finally got my man across the Río de la Plata from Argentina to Uruguay in time for Football Manager 2020 (albeit with a detour in between). Next Friday (25 October) I’ll explain the reasons for choosing Peñarol & Uruguay U20s, including the aims & aspirations for the save ahead.
As in previous years, all posts will be collated on a dedicated page on the site (in this case: /fm20). This will help first-time readers looking to catch up, or those wanting to refresh their memory of the story so far; instead of trawling through the usual /blog style.
As always, thanks for reading/sharing/caring.