Matchworn Paolo Montero (game unknown)
Despite Uruguay winning the World Cup twice, many people outside of South America still aren’t aware how successful the Uruguayan national team has been in the past. While not a lot of folks are still alive to tell the tale of the team’s triumph in the first ever World Cup in 1930, their success in the 1950 final against Brazil is still considered one of the greatest matches in the history of the tournament and to this day holds the record for the most attended football match ever, with possibly over 200,000 spectators.
Along with Argentina, “La Celeste” is also the record winner of the South American “Copa América”, which both teams won a total of fifteen times.
Even in their somewhat less successful stretch in the late 90’s and 2000’s, Uruguay has yielded some of the biggest names in international football: Luis Suárez, Diego Forlán, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godín and Paolo Montero – the guy who once wore the very shirt that you are now reading about.
Having spent the most successful days of his career in Italy, Montero was considered one of the best defenders in the world and captained his national team as well as Juventus Turin -the team where he spent nine years playing alongside football legends such as Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero, or Gianluigi Buffon.
Before sharing the training ground with the who’s who of international football, he played at Atalanta Bergamo for four years together with Cristiano Pavone.
Who is Cristiano Pavone you might rightfully ask? While not nearly as successful as his Uruguayan teammate, the Italian defender became friends with Montero and received a bunch of matchworn shirts from him over time. These shirts were auctioned for charity and with a little detour, this magnificent piece of polyester found its way into my collection.
It’s hard to pick a favorite among the superb jerseys that Italian manufacturer Ennerre has supplied for Uruguays’s national side. While the 1992 shirt arguably has the more iconic design, the 1995 model impresses with a nicer fabric and a tidy look. At the time of its presentation, however, the shirt wasn’t exactly met with enthusiasm. As the national colors of La Celeste traditionally were light blue and black, the dark blue stripes on the sleeves rally annoyed the Uruguayan fanbase, thus causing Ennerre to change the design after a few matches.
The jersey arrived in immaculate condition, which is always nice for such an old shirt and only shows some dirt stains on the left sleeve.