Jorge Luis Pinto said that the former Costa Rican soccer chief warned him in 2014 that men’s national team players, such as goalkeeper Keylor Navas, threatened to lose matches so that the manager would be fired.
“The only communication that the president (of the federation) made to me is that if I continued with the national team, the players would lose three games to get me out,” said the Colombian national coach, during a trial in San José, according to La Nación.
Pinto testified through a video conference before a court, as part of a defamation proceeding brought by Navas, Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges against two leaders, for having said they plotted to fire Pinto.
Pinto confirms, Keylor denies
“Three or four were mentioned. They were Keylor, Bryan, Celso, they told me that (Álvaro) Saborío was there but he didn’t say a word and (Christian) Bolaños, who didn’t come,” Pinto added.
Pinto thus ratified the statements made on Monday by the former president of Costa Rican soccer, Eduardo Li.
“I remember that it was Keylor Navas who told me: we lose 3 games, there is a clause like this and like that,” Li commented at the trial, according to local media.
So, Li said, he chose not to renew Pinto’s contract.
According to Li, a clause stipulated that if the team lost three consecutive games, the leadership was in a position to terminate the contract with Pinto.
The former leader was involved in a corruption scandal that affected FIFA, and in 2017 he was disqualified for life from holding positions in the institution.
The defendants accused by Navas in the defamation suit are the leaders Adrián Gutiérrez and Juan Carlos Román.
The events would have occurred after the return of La Sele to San José, after finishing eighth in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in a tournament where Navas was a figure and catapulted his international career.
But it was not until 2018 that Gutiérrez, the former director of national teams, commented in an interview on the alleged intentions of the players.
Pinto said that the differences within the team were only “trifles” and that “everyone adapted to the demands of the job.”
The trial began last Friday, with the declaration of Navas via telecoferencia, who denied the accusation.
Losing games “is something that has not left our mouths and will never happen, because we have been professional footballers for many years, where we have earned an honor and prestige,” Navas explained, according to Diario Extra.
Navas was decisive last week in PSG’s move to the quarterfinals of the Champions League by saving a penalty against Argentine star of Barcelona, Lionel Messi.