Bora Milutinovic: My life with many national teams, how I led the USA before a championship existed

Globetrotting coach Bora Milutinovic, who has guided both club and national teams virtually worldwide, has given a wide-ranging interview to the La Gazzetta dello Sport. At the age of 79, he still has a desire to travel.

Milutinovic, currently in Qatar, said, “I’m in Doha, at the airport. But I’m leaving for Mexico. Then for Australia, then for Arabia and for South America.” The source of this information was his recent interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

When asked about his daily life, Milutinovic focused on the positives. He said, “Life is beautiful, even if it’s crazy. Every day, I say that if God allows me to reach the end of the day, I have a reason to be happy.”

Discussing his many interactions with the powerful figures in sports, Milutinovic said he had faced some difficulties which he had always overcome with respect. He also expressed his pleasure at being referred to as an ambassador and a free spirit. He values when people acknowledge his intelligence, sense of irony and generosity, saying these compliments make him feel a little bit better.

Recalling his experience during the 1986 World Cup when his daughter was born, Milutinovic said, “Maria gave birth early because I was the coach of the Mexican national team. There had been an earthquake. Then Maradona, the hand of God, and the most beautiful goal of that World Cup. But also a good Mexico, my Mexico.”

Reflecting on his time as the USA coach in 1994, he shared an anecdote involving Henry Kissinger and Franz Beckenbauer. Kissinger initially wanted Beckenbauer, who declined and instead recommended Milutinovic for the position. He also highlighted his team’s accomplishments during this period, “In 1991, we won the CONCACAF Championship, and in 1992, we secured the trophy over Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. The 1994 World Cup was a beautiful experience. We qualified for the round of 16 and were then defeated by Brazil.”

The veteran coach weighed in on the impact of big football names moving to Arab leagues, arguing that it brings about change not just in football but also in their lives. He said, “There’s money there, lots of money. But the young people also learn and grow. And the fans have fun. Before, they only saw their idols on television, now they go to the stadium. It’s a completely different story.”

Even at 79, Bora Milutinovic remains passionate about football, travel, and life. A true ambassador of the beautiful game, the coach continues to inspire generations with his wisdom and love for the sport.

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