Polo's Lionel Messi Adolfo Cambiaso 'had considered retiring' but starts new era with RH Polo  

Adolfo Cambiaso
Adolfo Cambiaso has committed to the 2017 UK polo season Credit: Tony Ramirez / imagesofpolo.com

Adolfo Cambiaso, triumphant again with La Dolfina with victory at Palermo in 2016 at the Argentine Open, has revealed that retirement did cross his mind last year, but now injury free, and enjoying his play more than ever, that time has passed, and that he could go on until 2019-2020.

Indeed, it is understood that Cambiaso has signed to play with Ben Soleimani's RH Polo this season in England. 

In a wide-ranging interview with Click Polo in Argentina, Cambiaso explained of last season with La Dolfina: "We have an incredible team, with great teamwork. We proved it in the final. We had a lot of fun. Many people think that La Dolfina is the best team in history. It is difficult to compare two different eras, as players usually say. It is almost impossible to imagine how La Dolfina would fair against (Coronel) Suarez. Suarez had their time and La Dolfina is lucky enough to be compared with them, which is good."

Cambiaso singled out Pelon Sterling, particularly, for praise, believing that he is one of the best developed players in the world, while assessing his other two team-mates.

"I'm not surprised about Pelon because I started playing at La Dolfina with him and he's a great pro. He was already amazing at that point, having won various titles, and it did not surprise me," said Cambiaso.

"I don't think I have to mention Pablo's (Mac Donough) talent, he's the kind of player who scores when he has to, who gives you a great pass when he has to, who blocks an opponent's goal when he has to. He has a vision that very few have. JuanMa is definitely amongst the best two or three backs in history."

Cambiaso added that he "could retire with this team".

He said: "There weren't many rumours this year, last year there were many because I did think about retiring or stepping aside because of how much polo I had been playing, not because I wasn't having fun. This year, though, there weren't any rumours, I don't think."

Cambiaso's current feeling is that he could play through to 2020. "I think the team is good enough for me to keep playing, it's the kind of team I could retire with, which would be nice, and then I could support my children, which is also a lot of fun. I'm also 10 times healthier. I am doing a lot better than 2-3 years ago, and that helps me to enjoy the sport a lot more. It's not like before when I needed to win to prove that I am someone. That will to compete helps you play better sometimes, but I'm looking at it in a different way now."

Being injury-free has made a huge difference to him. "After I stopped feeling pain, when that was gone I decided I had to enjoy this more, it meant a lot. I tried to get in a mindset of enjoying the sport more. I still like winning regardless, though."

There had been rumours as to whether Cambiaso would call time on his glittering career Credit: Tony Ramirez/www.imagesofpolo.com

One of the things which has stimulated Cambiaso is his children playing polo. "It is a lot of fun to share this passion with my children," he explained. That includes Mia, his eldest child, and her success at the Jesus Maria Festival. "It was thanks to Ruben Sola, who realizes how much Mia loves horses and has already signed her up. She won first place and it was great, it was nice to compete with my family and the people we share our fields with." 

Asked how Mia is with horses, he told a story. "We were in Uruguay for 10 days and she was more focused on coming back home to train her horses rather than going out. It's nice that horses and polo can drive a 14 year old girl to train all day. We got to Cordoba and she spent day and night training her Moorish. Thanks to her hard work she won the first prize, which is also very nice. She took 10 Moorish horses to Jesus Maria, but they mixed them up with all kinds of horses, over 400, and she gathered them up and won first place. That proves how much she actually knows."

It makes him proud. "It is a lot of fun to share this passion with my children. Mia is so passionate about it that it has rubbed off on Poroto as well. Poroto knows that if he doesn't get himself involved he will fall behind her. The little one (Myla) will be just like them too, she seems to love it. Maria wants her to be a dancer, but I don't think it'll happen. She might dance a little but I don't think she'll beat me with this one either (she will take up polo)."

Cambiaso also believes that "polo's improvement has to come from the players, because it won't happen otherwise."

In the 10-goaler's interview with Click Polo, he is most animated by the influential Eduardo Novillo Astrada becoming an AAP presidential candidate.

He said: "It was a general idea from all the players. Polo needs a change and it needs to come from the players. We all had the idea that, instead of having a parallel Player Association, why not enter the AAP ourselves and make good things happen? We don't want to criticize the past, because we need to take what they did well and improve on what was done bad, making it more professional. The name of the list is the Polo Union. Polo's improvement has to come from the players, because it won't happen otherwise."

As Cambiaso's career does wind down to a close, leaving polo in a good state does matter deeply to one of the most decorated servant's of the sport.

He said: "We've all matured a little and agreed to do things together for the better of polo, to make good things happen and keep developing the sport. Eduardo is going to be head of the group but we're all going to be backing. Facundo (Pieres) and I will give our ideas, and so will the rest of the players. That's what we want, we're supporting the new list to keep growing and help polo stay active."

 

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