It was the night before game against Atlas - my first as a professional Football Manager. It was late. I was sat in the motel bar enjoying a quiet drink mulling over my team selection and how I was going to tackle Atlas. To be honest, I could have been dealt worse cards. Atlas were a mid table team at best getting by on a shoe string budget rather like ourselves. They had one or two useful looking players but nothing that would exactly strike fear into the opposition, plus we were playing at home. Their Manager, Juan Carlos Chavez, had led Mexico's Under 20 team to third place in the 2011 U20 World Cup. I remember watching the World Cup on TV back in England with particular interest as the competition was held in my native Colombia. One of my ambitions was to coach the Colombian national team....I wonder if that would ever be realized one day.....
As I was finishing my drink, my mobile rang. It was Tino. Wherever he was, it was noisy. Tino sounded out of breath.
"Hi Tino. Where are you? Sounds like you're having a good time!" I asked inquisitively.
"I'm outside a club in Rio, its banging in there but I'm here strictly on business of course....".
He seemed to be slurring but I couldn't be sure.
"I never doubted that Tino" I replied.
"Yeh, er I have just finished speaking to the agent of the 'next big thing' in Brazil. Trust me boss, I have watched these players train and in competitive matches and they look like the real deal!" he said excitedly.
"Sounds promising, Tino but a next big thing seems to come out of Brazil every week only for them to be a Kleberson or Denilson."
"I know, I know. Hear me out, I'll send you the videos. Oh, oh and I've found a guy in Argentina as well."
"You have been busy!" I said with a hint of sarcasm.
"Yeh baby, what did you expect! I'm Aspirilla! A-S-P-R-I-L-L-A!!! A-S-P...."
Tino seemed to be shouting at this point.
"Ok, ok, Tino. I get the message. You are taking into account our budget aren't you?"
"Yeh yeh, these guys are young and the big clubs in Europe dont even know these boys exist yet!"
Tino begins laughing uncontrollably. He sounds either drunk, high or based in his reputation - both!
"OK Tino, send me over the videos and files and I will take a look with Rene. You are OK aren't you?".
"Never been better!" he proclaimed.
There was a kerfuffle at the other end of the phone. I heard lots of swearing in Portuguese and Spanish, then the phone went dead.
I knew Tino didn't come without baggage, he was a flawed genius as a player afterall. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and reserve my judgement until I had reviewed the two prospects he had discovered.
I could rain him in when he got back, unless he had uncovered the next Neymar of course...!