GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Soccer south of the border was hit hard by the sad news on Tuesday that Pachuca legend and former Colombian national team ‘keeper Miguel Calero had passed away in a Mexico City hospital.
The 41-year-old suffered a stroke a week ago, but his stable condition deteriorated rapidly on Monday when he was declared clinically brain dead by doctors. He died at midday local time on Tuesday.
US internationals José Francisco Torres and Herculez Gomez both played with “El Cóndor” at Pachuca and the giant ‘keeper made a deep impression on the American duo.
Gomez rented a house from Calero when he arrived in Pachuca in 2010 and remembers him as, “One of the nicest guys I had the pleasure to work with. He was a man that when he spoke people listened, he was a true leader,”
Gomez added to MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday, “He treated no one differently, whether it was the kit manager or the team owner, a true lesson in humility. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, may he rest in peace. ”
Calero was at the club when Torres came down from Texas in 2006 and had supported the 25-year-old in his fledgling career.
Torres told the press at Tigres UANL’s preseason training camp in the Rivera Maya on Tuesday that he was “sad” at his friend’s passing and admitted that, “Yesterday, I let it all out.”
Added the midfielder: “He is somebody who gave me a lot of things, a lot of love, affection and I learned a lot from him. Now he is at rest.”
Calero joined Pachuca from Colombia’s Atlético Nacional in 2000 – retiring in 2011 but continuing at the Mexican club as the goalkeeping coach – and helped the Tuzos to four league titles and the Copa Sudamericana in what is considered the club’s golden age.
Calero famously saved a penalty from Landon Donovan in the SuperLiga 2007 final, as Pachuca defeated the LA Galaxy 5-4 on penalties. The Colombian put in a Man of the Match performance that lived in the memory of many north of the border.