‘Danubio will never forget its Bulgarian roots’
A special interview with Gonzalo Peralta, member of Danubio’s Marketing and Communication team, about his club’s third kit in the colours of the Bulgarian flag and what Bulgaria and Uruguay have in common
One curious piece of news from faraway Uruguay has made the recent headlines in Bulgaria. Uruguayan top-flight club Danubio have unveiled their new third kit which is in the colours of the Bulgarian flag – white, red and green. And there’s more – the shirt features the first words from the Bulgarian national anthem. By creating this special shirt Danubio have paid tribute to their Bulgarian roots – the club was founded back in 1932 by two brothers of Bulgarian origin, Miguel and Juan Lazaroff. The name’s team, which means ‘Danube’ in Spanish, was suggested by Maria, the brothers’ mother who left Bulgaria for Uruguay. To tell us everything about the most ‘Bulgarian’ team in South America – here’s our special interview with Gonzalo Peralta, member of Danubio’s Marketing and Communication team.
About the third kit
When we created it we never thought it would gain such a popularity in Bulgaria. A lot of people from Bulgaria have written us since – some of them are journalists asking for an interview, while others simply want to congratulate us on the design and express their gratitude. We’re really happy that the shirt has enjoyed so many positive reactions. It’s an honour. Uruguay and Bulgaria have a lot in common – they’re both small countries surrounded by their big neighbours but nevertheless have a lot to be proud of.
We’ve also received requests from Uruguayan immigrants, living in the US, Spain, Argentina… They all wanted to buy that third kit. Unfortunately, that was impossible as it was a limited edition.
How did we come up with the idea of creating that particular kit? Over the years we’ve tried different options – our first-choice kit is always white with one black diagonal line (its design was inspired by River Plate’s shirt), while as far as the third kit is concerned we’ve used various colours, including Uruguay’s sky blue. One day the Marketing team that I’m also a part of gathered and decided it would be really nice to pay tribute to our club’s Bulgarian legacy which we will always remember. Our designer Agustin Gonzalez has done a fantastic job by creating the shirt and including the Bulgarian anthem.
In South America there are many stadiums with great names – Boca Juniors play at La Bombonera, for example, whereas River Plate’s home is called El Monumental. For a lot of years Danubio’s own stadium was called just Jardines del Hipódromo (The Gardens of the Hippodrome) – after the neighbourhood in Montevideo the venue is located in. That’s why in 2017 we decided to let our socios (club members) vote on our stadium’s new name.
There were three options to choose from. One of them was María Mincheff de Lazaroff – the mother of our founders, the brothers Miguel and Juan Lazaroff. After all, it was María who came up with the name of our club! The curious thing is that before Danubio (the river which also represents the border between Bulgaria and Romania) María proposed the name of another river in her native country – Maritsa. Yet their boys decided against Maritsa because it did sound too ‘feminine’ to them. Danubio, on the other hand, was accepted straight away!
Another option for a new name of our stadium was Hugo Forno – in honour of our legendary president who stayed in charge over the course of 19 seasons. The third alternative was simply ‘Lazaroff’ – our founders’ surname. The club members elected María Mincheff de Lazaroff and this became the first football stadium in Uruguay named after a woman.
We owe María and her family a lot. In 2018 her son Juan died at the age of 97. He was the last living member of the group that founded Danubio in 1932 – a bunch of kids in a school in Montevideo. Juan’s son, Jorge, who sadly also passed away, was a popular Uruguayan musician as well as a big Danubio fan, of course. Some of his songs are dedicated to the club.
Today we’re proud of our four Uruguayan league titles and the fact that a whole host of fantastic players such as Álvaro Recoba, Marcelo Zalayeta, Edinson Cavani and Cristhian Stuani, among others, started their careers at Danubio.
Bulgaria, we’re coming!
Is it possible for Danubio to visit Bulgaria in the near future? Why not? I hope this happens one day. Until then we’ll try to do something else – we would like to bring the academy teams (boys and girls) to Bulgaria. It would be a fantastic experience for the kids! It’s a different continent, cuisine, climate – for many of them it will also be their first time travelling by plane! I’m sure it’ll be a trip they’ll never forget. Usually, we're visiting some of our neighbouring countries in South America but going to Bulgaria would enrich them a lot.
We’re open to receiving guests from Bulgaria as well! It would be great if some Bulgarian clubs were to send their football talents to Montevideo. Hopefully, these things will happen in the years to come.