Paolo Montero : biography
Paolo Rónald Montero Iglesias (born September 3, 1971 in Montevideo) is a former Uruguayan footballer who played as a central defender or left back. He has been described as "skillful on the ball and calm under pressure", and a "wonderfully talented and intelligent footballer". His international reputation is one of a man who was "fearsome, immovable and essential, in a back line that conquered Italy and Europe.". He is well known for his poor disciplinary record and rough tackles as well as his long spell with Italian giants Juventus FC., which have earned him a reputation as "being something of an uncompromising hardman"; he currently holds the record for the greatest number of red cards received in Serie A (16).
Montero also captained his country in their bid to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in an intercontinental playoff against Australia, the country the Uruguayans defeated by a very convincing margin of 3–0 to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament four years before. Sadly for Montero, he limped off with a hamstring injury during the second game in Sydney, and later Australia went on to narrowly snatch the win and the World cup qualification via penalties. After the defeat, Montero immediately announced his international retirement, saying "what happened today was such a pity as this group of players deserved to be at the World Cup finals." Montero made over 60 appearances for his country in between 1991 and 2006.
- Serie A (4)
- Winner: 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03,
- Runner-up: 1999–00, 2000–01
- Coppa Italia
- Runner-up: 2001–02; 2003–04
- Supercoppa Italiana (3)
- Winner: 1997, 2002, 2003
- Runner-up: 1998
- UEFA Champions League
- Runner-up: 1996–97, 1997–98, 2002–03
- UEFA Super Cup (1)
- Winner: 1996
- Intercontinental Cup (1)
- Winner: 1996
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (1)
- Winner: 1999
Montero was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, into a footballing family; his father is former Uruguay international Julio Montero Castillo. As a child, Paolo had to maintain good grades at school, otherwise his father would not allow to him to attend football practice. As a professional, Montero started his career for C.A. Peñarol in 1990 and remained with the club for 2 seasons, making 34 appearances and scoring one goal, before transferring to Atalanta B.C. in the Italian Serie A in 1992.
After transferring to the Bergamo-based club, Montero became an instant fixture in the club’s starting eleven, and was a key member of their defense. He managed 27 league appearances and two goals in his debut Serie A season. In his second season with the club, he managed 30 starts, however the club’s season ended in relegation to Serie B. In the second division, Montero appeared in 34 games, scoring two goals, helping his team to immediate promotion back to Serie A. During the 1995–1996 Serie A season, Montero struggled with injuries, only making 23 appearances. After impressing greatly during his 4-year stay in Bergamo, Montero made the highly anticipated switch to the Italian and European powerhouse, Juventus FC.
Following the big switch to Turin, Montero made over 30 appearances in his first season with Juventus in all competitions. It was here, even after an impressive first season, that he achieved great success, winning four scudetti with the club, along with other honours.; Montero was believed to have been the best friend of Zinedine Zidane during the pair’s time together at Juventus, which ended when Zidane was sold to Real Madrid in 2001. Juventus had what was considered as the best defense in the world at this time, and teams strongly regretted ever going down a goal to the club, as they knew how hard it would be to score one back for themselves. Montero played at both center back and left back during this period, forming impressive defensive partnerships with the likes of Ciro Ferrara, Mark Iuliano, Gianluca Pessotto, Lilian Thuram, Alessandro Birindelli, Igor Tudor, Gianluca Zambrotta, Nicola Legrottaglie, and Fabio Cannavaro during his 10-year tenure with the club. After the 2004–2005 Serie A triumph, Montero and teammate Ferrara called it quits on their Juventus careers. The Uruguayan opted to return to South America, while Ferrara retired. Montero made over 200 appearances for i bianconeri, scoring one league goal. In the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final, Montero was one of the three Juventus players to have their penalty saved by AC Milan keeper Dida in the shootout.
After his tenure at Juventus, Montero moved to Argentinian club San Lorenzo. His time at the club was short-lived however, as he constantly missed games due to injuries. He left the club after just 14 appearances and scored one goal against Racing Club de Avellaneda. In 2006, offers came in from clubs such as Olympiakos and newly promoted Serie A club Catania; however, Montero chose to return to his childhood club where he began his career, C.A. Peñarol.
Return to Peñarol
For the 2006–2007 season, Montero re-joined former club Peñarol, for one last season prior to officially announcing his retirement. He scored one goal in 26 matches during his last season as a professional footballer.
Paolo Montero reportedly retired in late May 2007 after attending a team training session in order to say goodbye to his teammates. His current squad had tried to persuade him to come back to football, with teammate Ruben Capria saying that "it’s a tough blow to lose our captain".
He played his final match in which also was Marcelo Salas’ farewell match. Salas also was formerly of Juventus, however with a much less impact on the Italian club.