Manuel Sardella Navarrete, in case of not having made an important life decision two and a half years ago, would now be in the production of Marcelo Tinelli doing what is necessary for the debut of ShowMatch on the screen of America TV. It would be a source of consultation of the programs and journalists about the possible participants candidates to enter the Bailando and even probably the driver, with some joke, would nominate him to join the dance floor.
However, Navarrete's present is quite different. Totally away from Argentine television, the producer with more than 25 years of experience is installed with his family in Valencia, Spain; enjoying the tranquility and quality of life that I was looking for.
Navarrete became a familiar face back in 2011, a time of maximum popularity of Bailando. Tinelli, true to his custom, saw his potential and began to joke with him in front of the camera. He liked it and quickly settled into the program, to the point that he ended up dancing, performing his own musical, in the water of the pools of Flavio Mendoza, with a slap in the face, lending himself to find him a girlfriend and exchanging all kinds of jokes and chicanes with the driver.
Selfie. Marcelo Tinelli and Manuel Navarrete, at the time of "Bailando".
Thanks to that moment of maximum popularity, which continued for a few more years, his name – which was already known by everyone in the television environment – was installed and he, from there, continued with that double facet of producer and media personality.
The day that changed everything was in 2018. Some friends went to eat a barbecue at his house and told him the idea they had of emigrating to Spain. It was not a vague project, in fact they had a fairly advanced plan, with different business possibilities to start.
That night, Manuel and his wife María Elena were left thinking, with the idea turning in their heads: "What do we lose if we try? Do you say yes? And why not?" Surely he, at that moment, came to remember when, in 2012, returning to his home in Caballito, they put a gun to his neck and took silver, a watch, a gold rosary and a pair of glasses. All in full view of Lorenzo, his son, who was in the back seat of the car.
Manuel Navarrete currently lives in Valencia, Spain, with his wife and son.
The chances of taking the leap increased when his partner traveled to Spain to see how the possibilities were for the move. Then came another trip of the whole family, already with the decision made.
The final transfer would take place at the beginning of 2021. "The most important reasons for coming to us were to seek security, respect, order... in short, quality of life. But mainly a much more consistent life and without so many shocks for my son," Navarrete tells Clarín from Valencia, "a beautiful city to live and also very touristy."
It was not easy to make the project a reality. They sold the shoe stores that his wife had in Argentina and, with his friends as partners, in Spain they bet a significant sum of money on the purchase of a franchise selling pizzas and empanadas and opened two businesses, which finally ended up closing.
"The theme of gastronomy was just an investment step, which helped me to know and manage in the Spanish economic and tax market. Now I dedicate myself entirely to real estate investments, which is what I had planned to dedicate myself to when I decided to settle here, "he details.
Navarrete, super happy with his son.
And he emphasizes that his wife, for her part, has a "shoe store for ladies in Plaza España that is like telling you Corrientes and Florida, right in the center of the city of Valencia." And Lorenzo? "Well, he's studying high school, which is like a college ticket," he replies, proudly.
-How did Tinelli find out about your decision to settle in Spain? What did he say?
-At the time he was told by a mutual friend we have. At the time, I was already here, we talked and he told me that he missed me, but that he had made the best decision.
-What do you remember most about your years as a producer?
-Uff... They were 25 unforgettable years. From going out to record with my first producer, (Pablo) El Chato Prada, to the cake war in the studio of Bailando con Marcelo, el Bicho Gomez and Anita Martínez. The programs and works I produced with Miguel del Sel, (Martín) Bossi, Campi, the hidden cameras of (José María) Listorti... I remember everything and how I miss it. Here, in Valencia, the media would almost tell you that they do not exist, they are very zonal. Television passes through Madrid and Barcelona. Maybe in December of last year I was hired by a production company and coordinated some events.
Navarrete on one of the walks with his wife.
-What do you miss about Argentina?
-So many things... My family. To my mother Liliana, which is the most, to my old Emilio, to my brothers Nicolás and Diego, to friends, the work of producing, which is my passion, the gatherings in my house, the barbecue, the good wine, the mate with biscuits, the theater of and with my friends, go to the court to see my beloved San Lorenzo, leaving my house and knowing which route to take to go anywhere (laughs)... Here I'm connected to Waze all the time. And something I can't help but miss, because it's extraordinary, is the rice pudding my mom makes.
-Do Argentines recognize you on the street?
-Magically and strangely yes, people still remember and recognize me. There are many Argentines here. I say strangely because being so far away and after so long they still have in their memory how much fun they had watching us have fun.