Aventuras Américas | Part 97 | Católica #3: 100-Year-Old Football Manager

After a stellar career that saw him become the Greatest Manager Of All Time, Robinho Lazaró considered the easy way out and retiring peacefully. Indeed, he spent plenty of years relaxing between his homes in Medellín, Cali and Rio de Janeiro happily watching hours of football per day. But an itch still burned deep inside his Football Manager soul.

The Colombian/Brazilian wanted to have one last shot at management by seeing if a team would be interested in hiring a 100-year-old manager. So he went on holiday through to 13 May 2084 and, 24 hours later, Robinho Lazaró was officially a 100-year-old unemployed manager.

Can a 100-year-old get a job in Football Manager?

Lazaró headed straight for the job centre and discovered several jobs were available, including his former clubs Universidad Católica and Godoy Cruz. More were insecure, including his preferred side Independiente Medellín, which interested him as he never got to manage one of his listed favourite clubs during his career.

Católica came forward with an interview offer, which Lazaró happily accepted. It went well and they swiftly made an offer, which Lazaró delayed just to see if anything else interesting appeared. But the only vaguely interesting job to come up was NYCFC and Lazaró really didn’t fancy the hassle of MLS at this stage in life. So Lazaró was heading back to where his management career began 63 years ago… Chile.

Welcome back to Chile!

After a 63-year career (kind of) it’s perhaps surprising that Católica is the first club Lazaró had managed twice – that said, he did previously have offers from Flamengo and Palmeiras to return. Since Lazaró departed in 2025, the club has almost doubled its Chilean championships haul – winning 10 in the last 59 years to take it to 21 overall. But the 2079 title was their only success in the last 20 years. It’s also added six Chilean Cups to the four it won up to 2011. And it’s still never won a continental trophy, despite being Copa Libertadores runner-up back in 1993.

Católica are currently fifth halfway through the Chilean First Division (top tier) with 27 points from 15 games, eight points behind leaders and rivals Universidad de Chile. But they were expected to finish third and only trail third-place Coquimbo Unido by one point.

Lazaró’s new board expects him to qualify for Copa Libertadores (a top-four finish) and look to develop players using the club’s youth system. They had a bank balance of £5.2 million and handed Lazaró a £3 million transfer budget. That was boosted significantly by Lazaró wasting no time launching a firesale upon realising 12 of the 23-man squad were over 30 and 17 were 26 or older – selling 13 players for a profit of £4.4 million from July through to September.

Meet the Católica squad of 2084

The best player at Católica in 2084 was Chilean/Colombian striker Davián Lemus, who worryingly wanted to move to a bigger club and had attracted Gremio’s interest. Also worth keeping an eye on are two 22-year-olds in winger Luis Romo and Chilean/Palestinian midfielder Ignacio Ithal, and Uruguayan centre-back/holding midfielder Andrés dos Santos.

Luckily, there were a few solid prospects in the youth teams, led by 5-star potential striker Tomás Rebolledo – although his potential has probably been wasted given he’s now 21. There were also four 4.5-star potential players in 16-year-old winger Massami Gillier, 18-year-old winger Braulio Varas and two 20-year-olds in striker Ricardo Zuabi and defender Juan Vidal. There were also eight players with 4-star potential who Lazaró suspected may get thrust into the first team.

And with the transfer window not open for now, Lazaró decided one of his tried and tested tactics, the 4-3-3 with a flat midfield trio was the best approach for the players available to him.

Chilean Cup

Lazaró’s return to Chile began in the second round of the cup. His first game back was a solid 1-0 win in the first leg at Magallanes followed by a disappointing 2-1 home loss, but Católica snuck through on penalties. They improved to thrash San Luis de Quillota 5-0 with five different scorers then 4-0 away led by a hat-trick from backup striker Esteban Estay. Then the quarter-final began with a 2-0 win at home to Palestino with the improving Romo getting the opener before they again tried their best to throw it away with a 3-1 defeat but nicking through on penalties.

That teed up a semi with Coquimbo Unido, who raced into a 2-0 lead but an Ithal strike gave Católica hope for the home leg. But home advantage counted massively as Católica found top gear in a 6-0 thumping led by an early Lemus brace to send them into the Cup Final!

That Final arrived three days later as 10-time winners Católica faced off against Temuco, who’ve never won the cup but were runners-up in 2077 and 2080. The team was exhausted, three players were on international duty, two were ineligible and Lazaró had just 14 players available! So he lined up:

Pereira; Vidal, Dos Santos, Maldonado, Basanez; Contreras, Alvarez, Ithal; Ramírez, Méndez; Estay
Subs: Rebodello, Barrero, Zuabi

Católica rattled the post in the second minute with a brilliant curled effort by winger Jason Méndez, who soon had a shot well-saved. But he eventually broke the deadlock just after the break, coolly slotting under the keeper after a lovely pass midfield playmaker Francisco Cárdenas. Temuco suddenly woke up and hit the post then forced a great save out of Raúl Pereira. But that man Méndez, playing from a completely unnatural left-wing role, doubled the lead after great play by young midfielder Ronaldo Barrera. And that was enough for a dominant 2-0 win.

Robinho Lazaró won the Chilean Cup at age of 100!!

Chilean league resumes

Lazaró’s return to league football in Chile for the first time in nearly 60 years saw Católica travel to sixth-place Antofagasta. And it was a happy return as a Romo strike edged a 1-0 win. Romo scored again in Lazaró’s first home league game and Estay sealed a 2-0 win over Copiapó.

His second home game saw Colo-Colo come to town in the Albo-Cruzado Derby. Católica made a great start as Romo scored early but Colo levelled things up. Lazaró thought his side had nicked it late as Lemus got his first goal under the new boss only for Colo to undeservedly equalise in injury-time. And Lazaró fined 34-year-old goalkeeper Tomás Chevrot, who he really wanted to sell, two weeks’ wages.

But Católica kicked on from there with three successive wins to move six points behind leaders and holders Universidad de Chile. They really kicked on in a 7-2 win at strugglers San Marcos de Arica with braces by Lemus and Romo then another Méndez brace inspired a 4-0 win over Huachipato, which followed a two-week break after the cup final.

That moved them to within three points of the top of the league but a draw at Magallanes saw Universidad move five clear with five to go. Nevertheless, they were in the title race but had to play both the other top three sides Universidad de Chile and Unión Espanola.

Game 1 – Palestino (11th, home): Católica started the run-in well as a Romo brace and a 94th-minute winner by centre-back Alvaro Maldonado earned a 3-2 win. Both the other sides also won.

Game 2 – Universidad de Chile (1st, home): That set up the big one and possibly a title decider in the Universitario Derby. Católica suffered three injuries in the week but started well and eventually got their reward as Lemus scored in the 80th minute. It looked like the title battle was back on, only for Universidad de Chile to cruelly deny them with a 94th-minute equaliser.

Game 3 – Deportes Valdivia (12th, away): Católica then lost goalkeeper Pereira and the in-form Estay to injury. And that affected them as they could only draw 0-0 at Valdivida, which killed off any hope of the title and crowned Universidad de Chile as champions for the third year in a row. That was compounded by Católica losing at Espanola, which was their first loss under Lazaró, to slip to third. And they stayed there despite a 4-1 final-day win at home to Everton de Vina.

Despite only losing once under Lazaró, Católica finished 10 points back from champions Universidad de Chile. Although they took 32 points from his 15 games, compared to 29 from 15 prior to his arrival. Romo had the third-best average rating in the league (7.28) but there was nothing else to shout about.

Youthful promise

The star man in Lazaró’s half-season was Romo, who’d scored two in nine league games when the manager joined. He scored 10 in 15 under Lazaró’s stewardship and finished the season as the joint-top scorer with 16 in 32 and nine assists in all competitions. He’s definitely a player to build this team around.

Lemus scored 16 and got nine assists in 43 games, which is disappointing considering his quality, while Méndez scored 13 and got nine assists in 38 games and Estay scored 10 and got 11 assists in 33 games. Another key performer was Maldonado, who averaged 7.28 including 7.54 across the last five games.

Católica had decent youngsters coming through, but that was added to by a solid youth intake. The intake star was Rodrigo Maldonado, who instantly became the fourth-best striker at the club so Lazaró threw him straight into the first-team, along with three 4-star potential players.

In other news, two of Lazaró’s former players were considered among the best four in the world. Alberto Mejía, his homegrown superstar at Pumas, was still at Feyenoord, looks incredible and came second in Goal 50. His former teammate Nogueira was at Man UFC and came fourth, while Lucas came 33rd. And you probably can’t argue with the winner being Serafim Assuncao, who looks like an absolute monster!

Lazaró had his work cut out to improve this Católica squad but he did see plenty of positives from his half-season. With that in mind, we’ll come back for more of Lazaró as a 100-year-old Football Manager tomorrow!


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