They are 82 years old and play soccer every week

Enzo Castagnola and Hugo Cabrera are chronic lovers of football. Their paths crossed when they began to play on Wednesdays on the Supermatch 5 courts, the first at 8:00 p.m. and the second at 9:00 p.m. At 82, both are the oldest on their teams. “I always say that that lively ball is what keeps me alive,” said Enzo.

Soccer, always.

Hugo was born on June 8, 1940 in Montevideo. As a child he lived near a basketball court where he would go with his friends after school. When he went to high school he joined the Uruguayan League of Inter-school Soccer. He liked to ride his bike and play volleyball on the beach.

When he was 20 or 21 years old, he started going to Club Lagomar. For some time the Lagomar Olympics were organized and he still has the more than 20 medals he won in basketball, soccer and billiards.

As for Enzo, he was born on October 22, 1939, also in Montevideo. He started playing soccer at the age of 12 with a rag ball on the sidewalk When she was 25 she entered the University League as a right back: “I was immediately appointed a delegate and I had to go to the assemblies,” he told El País.

These men not only love football, but also have great power of initiative. “I was always trying to push within each organization where I worked to form a soccer box and participate in the championships between companies”, said Hugo, who was in the administration area from 1956 to 2020.

For his part, in 1989 and together with other partners, Enzo founded the Senior League of Amateur Soccer. “It’s a 35+ league,” she noted. And he added: “I was president for about 15 years and I also continued to play soccer in the league and all the members always accepted that condition.” In order not to lose physical performance, during the week he also played soccer 5.

“Football opened the doors of Europe and the world for us,” said Enzo. With the Senior League they first traveled to Spain, invited by the Barcelona Soccer Club thanks to a contact they had in common, and then they took the opportunity to continue through Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Two years later, another contact allowed them to travel to Mexico City and Cancun. “These tournaments served us as a cover and then we extended the trip,” said the player.

At the same time, as he had completed a few years at the Faculty of Architecture, he worked in an architecture firm and also in construction companies, specializing in budgets and price and performance control.

He does not have photos of his football experiences: “I never had a photographic machine, but do you know what I have? An elephant’s memory”, he said in dialogue with El País.

When he was 57 years old, he broke his fibula when he stepped on a ball and for three months he had to stop playing. He later resumed, but only in soccer 5: “Already close to 60 the field football it’s something else,” he said. However, for 15 years he continued to be linked to the Senior League as technical director.

Enzo Castagnola
Enzo Castagnola, in an orange vest. Photo: Juan Manuel Ramos.

The benefits.

For Enzo, the sport It has always been fundamental in his life. However, twice he had to stay for a while without playing: first, due to a fractured fibula, and later due to a heart attack, 11 years ago. “I came from playing soccer and when I got home I didn’t feel very well. I did not hesitate to call the emergency. They arrived, they rang the bell, and I had to go down to open it, in the middle of a heart attack. They couldn’t believe I was the sick one,” he recounted.

He had a “very invasive” operation, but everything went well: “They left me 0 km.” The doctor told her that it had been a “major” heart attack and that she was surprised how she handled it. For him, his physical condition and the health care he maintained during his life “helped everything to be that way.”

He was away from sport activity for a year and a half. One day, he told his doctor that his body “asked him to do something related to sports.” So, the cardiologist asked him what he did before the heart attack and the answer was instant: soccer. The doctor told him to come back and he did.

But sport was not only important on a physical level: it also gave him a “number of friends” who added “adrenaline” to the game and also brought other activities with them. “Once a month we have a meal that brings us together and revitalizes the relationship,” he said.

Hugo also acknowledged the value of football on a social level. “We have a group called ‘Añejos’ that we are the ones who played together when we were much younger,” she said. Together, they organize meetings and dinners.

Hugo Cabrera
Hugo Cabrera. Photo: Juan Manuel Ramos.

You are old man!

Today, Hugo plays goalkeeper every Wednesday. The group is made up of more than 60 people over 35 years of age and every week who plays is written down through the WhatsApp group: “I already signed up for Wednesday, because otherwise I don’t have a place,” he said. Sometimes it’s six against six, other times seven against seven. And the closest to his age is 73 or 74 years old.

Every year they compete against an Argentine team and the last time was on June 24 and 25, in Buenos Aires. They played two games and the Uruguayans won both, one 2-1 and the other 2-0.

Enzo’s team also plays every Wednesday and is just as heterogeneous as Hugo’s. They both know each other for having crossed paths in the corridors of Supermatch 5. Hugo said: “We always catch each other, because he yells at me: ‘What are you doing, old man?’ and I tell him ‘you’re an old man’”.

The routine of two exemplary athletes.

According to Hugo, sport currently occupies a third of his life. Every other day he does push-ups, squats, sit-ups and push-ups, 60 of each of the first two, and 40 of each of the others. This is interspersed with the days that he does walks, between 3 and 3.5 km. And Wednesdays, of course, are football.

“Age was never an obstacle,” he said. And he added: “Today, at 82 years old, I am one of the most agile.”

Enzo always goes for a walk along the promenade when the weather allows it: “I have to be careful with the cold for my heart”. In addition, he does all his errands on foot and where he lives, he even walks at least a kilometer to go to the supermarket. For him, it is very important to have “life protocols so as not to sit all day.” He gets up at around 7, makes some dunks and when he finishes he starts to prepare lunch. Between getting the ingredients and cooking, he spends the whole morning, being on the move all the time. In the afternoon he goes for his walk or his errands and then comes back to read a book or listen to the radio.

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They are 82 years old and play soccer every week