Ex-Hearts striker Mauricio Pinilla on 'excess' years, management and deciding to retire

Ex-Hearts striker Mauricio Pinilla has opened up about his injury which made him retire, while looking back on his career.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Mauricio Pinilla played only a handful of times for Hearts during a difficult period in his career. Picture: SN

The Chilean cult figure announced his retirement in February to become a pundit for ESPN.

Pinilla negotiated an early release from his contract with Coquimbo Unido due to a knee injury.

The 37-year-old, who played just eight games for Hearts between 2006 and 2008, revealed the decision was “painful” but he had to look forward to the next stage of his career.

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“When I got injured, the decision was made,” he told La Tercera.

"I did not know it was going to be so drastic, but since so many projects appeared to me, I was sure that I would not have much time to think.

"My concern was to retire and stare at the ceiling, suffering and missing. So, I looked in the mirror and told myself that I had to pave the future.

"Mentally I was not ready to sit and look at the garden and I really wanted to start realising my dreams and goals, which in this case, was to work in broadcasting.”

He added: “With this new adventure, I don't know if it's going to make it a little easier for me, but my head won't have as much time to spin in retirement.

"It is complex, because it is the activity I have done since I was seven years old, and ending it after 30 is painful.”

Career rebuild

Pinlla’s spells at Tynecastle coincided with the most difficult period of his career. The player was dealing with a number of off-field issues, including a well publicised incident with then Chile captain Luis Jimenez in 2007.

Between 2006 and 2009 when he joined Serie B side Grosseto he played for five clubs in five different countries.

Pinilla admits to “excesses and not dedicating” himself to football but would go on to build a successful career in Italy and return to the national team.

“It would be a bit unfair to me and my career to say that I was missing something," he said.

"I am very happy with what I did; what I had to live with, especially after the negative times of 2006 and 2007, when I practically did not play.

"I was able to rebuild my career, I was able to succeed in Italy. I have the best memories, many years in Europe.

"I was able to participate in the most beautiful processes with the National Team.

"It would be very selfish of me to say that something was missing. I am very grateful for football, for life and for all the things that have happened to me.”


A move into management is not on the horizon for Pinilla currently but admitted there is at least one proposition from a former club which could make him reconsider.

He said: “As a coach, not for now, because I am one hundred percent focused on communications and I don't feel like I have the patience to lead 30 people. I am just retired and with a level of stress from everything I have experienced in recent years.

"Now, if they call me from Italy and they say ‘Mauro, I want you to come and manage Cagliari’, that is something else and you start working accordingly.”

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