“Count to 5 and get used to the thought!”

Article by Valentin Șchiopu – Posted on Monday, 06 June 2022, 08:32 / Updated on Monday, 06 June 2022 09:50

Juan Emmanuel Culio, a midfielder who will turn 39 in August, is retiring from football: “CFR Cluj it deserves much more respect. “

At almost 39 years old, Juan Culio, the hero of “Olimpico”, announces his retirement from football. In the winter he left without being able to say goodbye to his fans. Dan Petrescu made the announcement during the competition break related to the disappearance of the Argentine midfielder from the group.

There were family issues behind the decision. The same ones that made him leave the team in 2019. The player chose to be close to his wife, who has been battling a relentless illness for three years.


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Juan Emmanuel Culio has retired from football

Exclusively for Gazeta, Culio explains why his former club has dominated the domestic competition in recent years. The Argentine demands more respect for “the only Romanian team that still matters in Europe”.

“At CFR there have always been 4-5 leaders, and the coach is allowed to work. I would have gone mad to find out that the boss is dictating the changes“, Says the footballer who has spent his career at Galatasaray, Deportivo La Coruna or Zaragoza.

– Hello, Juan! What are you doing? Are you playing another season or are you retiring?
– No, that’s it! I put my boots in the nail, as you say. I was very mentally tired and my intention was to retire from CFR. That’s what happened in the end, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be.

I am grateful to Romania and Cluj for giving me the chance to play in the Champions League and to take the step towards stronger championships, such as those in Spain or Turkey. Thanks also to my former teammates, Cadu, Peralta, Tony, Dani, Camora and many others! They made me a better player and a better person.

I am also very grateful to Dan Petrescu, who taught me many things I did not know. The truth is that Petrescu was, in football, like a father to me. Even when we were arguing or arguing, we always did it like a son with his father.

– Are you sorry you left like that, without being able to say goodbye to the fans on the field?
– What to do? It’s happening … I’ll be back in Cluj for the fans, I hope for a retirement match. When I last came to Romania, my family stayed in Argentina. These were very difficult times for us. I didn’t like it at all. I only lasted three or four months and came back.

The truth is that the last two or three years have been extremely difficult. Thanks to the family and God, we managed to get over the moment and try to move forward.

– Are you better now?
– My wife is fine, it’s all right. The truth is, she’s a fighter. I did everything I could to be with him, to get through this fight. It was a very difficult stage, but thank heavens that we managed to get over it!

I lost my mother, then my wife got sick. When I found out about her illness, I felt like I was running out of air, that my world was falling apart. Those were very difficult years. We have known each other since we were children and the truth is that she has accompanied me throughout my career as a player.

Without her, I don’t think I would have achieved anything I have now! She was always present, for better or for worse. Because everyone is present for good, when it’s hard for you, there are very few people left next to you. I met her at my brother’s wedding many years ago, and we haven’t parted for a second since.

– At 14?
– Yes, we were teenagers. We’ve been doing everything together ever since. He accompanied me everywhere I played. He was with me in Chile, in Turkey, in Spain, in Dubai, everywhere.

Culio: “Count to 5 and get used to the idea that CFR Cluj is a deserving champion!”

– Did your colleagues call you after winning the championship?
– Yes, I talked to Camora. We are very good friends. He was happy, of course. He congratulated me too. Basically, I was also a champion, I only played 3 months this season!

– There were again discussions related to the arbitration from the penultimate stage …
– Wait! In Romania it has always been like this: when a team becomes champion, it is said that it is never on its own merit. It is always said that he won with the help of the referees. It’s disrespectful and fair play.

If CFR was the champion for 5 years in a row, it was because she deserved it, not because she was helped. 5 years in a row, folks! Count to 5 and get used to the idea that CFR is a deserving champion. This club deserves more respect from everyone.

– How do you think this disrespect has manifested itself?
– I think that CFR is not seen and evaluated at its true value. It’s always about Steaua, Craiova, Dinamo and another team, only then comes CFR. I don’t understand why this is happening.

CFR has shown all these years in the Champions League, in the Europa League, that it has won many trophies. It should be much more respected and it is also valid in Petrescu’s case. People say that CFR’s style is not spectacular, but CFR always wins with this game.

– What has made the difference in these years?
– The fact that we always had players with the mentality of winners, we had 4-5 fighters in the group who led the locker room. Camora and I always said in the locker room that it was essential for everyone to follow a line of conduct and discipline. I always said that without discipline, you can’t play at CFR – discipline in the locker room, on and off the field.

Discipline is fundamental for a team that wants to be champions. You have to train very well to achieve your goals in an endurance fight. And CFR is a club that plays every year to win domestic competitions and qualify for a European Cup.

And she is the only one who still represents Romania in the European cups. To achieve this, it is clear that you need discipline in your professional and personal life! I always tried to explain this to my colleagues.

– What kind of coach is Dan Petrescu? At one point he proposed to you to be his second.
– He is a coach who helps the player with everything he needs. He is also very demanding. To yourself, first and foremost. Then the rest. He also demands a lot from his own players, both on and off the field. And in the first place is discipline, because we kept talking.

If you give everything, he will never blame you for anything. If you don’t train properly, you don’t want to have him around. I got along very well with him from the beginning. We always talked before and after matches, because there was a chemistry between us. I could be completely open to him, tell him what was wrong with the grass, and I would get immediate feedback.

He always told me his opinion about the match. There is a connection between us. Otherwise, every coach has a style of play. Simeone and Simeone, Guardiola and Guardiola. Why change your style if the team is doing well?

Dan Petrescu has a style with which CFR won five titles, played in Europe, won with Celtic, with Lazio, very good teams. What to change? I don’t even know if he could do it. He trains in this way, making the selection of players according to his game principles.

Culio: “FCSB has never been a team!”

– What has your main opponent, FCSB, been missing in the last few seasons?
– FCSB has never been a team in the true sense of the word. First of all, that’s what you have to do there: play like a team! They would need 4-5 players around whom to build the locker room, the group, and all to shoot in the same direction. It doesn’t help that today’s players are moving in one direction and tomorrow in another.

You have to act like a team, otherwise you don’t get anywhere. An equally important thing is the coach. He must be allowed to work quietly! His authority must be respected! Everyone has to do their job, the coach is the coach, the president is the president. There is no need to intervene in the work of the coach. Petrescu has this peace and does exactly what he thinks is right.

– How would you react if you found out that the coach changed you in a match at the suggestion of the owner?
“I would have left immediately.” I couldn’t stand it because my temperament and personality are like that. If my boss changed me, I’d go crazy!

– What is left after a career of almost 20 years in football? How would you like your fans to remember you?
– I always told myself that my dream was to become a football player. I don’t know if I was good or bad, but I always gave my all in training and games. After each training I was “dead”, precisely because I gave my best.

Petrescu was often upset and told me to let it go, because I was too old. I always told her I couldn’t let her go any easier. When I train, I dedicate myself completely. Petrescu told me that I was crazy, that I risked an injury. I couldn’t avoid the intense moments, that’s my mentality. That’s how I would like him to remember me: as a player who gave his best.

– Did you find this mentality less in Romanian players?
– The Romanian players are technical, but they do not have a winning mentality. They are content with a little, they give up quickly. They win a game or two and they think it’s enough. He earns 1,000-2,000 euros and that’s it, they think it’s enough. In life you don’t have to comply, to be satisfied with 1,000 or 5,000 euros or with two games won! You always have to grow!

You can win or not, but the mentality must always be the winner. And one more thing, the ability to make sacrifices. For us, somehow life starts only after we quit football. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people.

13 trophieswon Culio in League 1, all with CFR: 6 champion titles, 3 Romanian Cups and 4 Super Cups. To these is added a Turkish Super Cup with Galatasaray

240 matchesJuan competed for CFR in all competitions. He scored 31 goals and 34 assists

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