MONTEVIDEO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Former Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has described Uruguayan domestic football as "a disgrace" and called for wholesale changes to the country's football structure.
But the former Fenerbahce and Paris Saint-Germain center-back lavished praise on Uruguay's national team, which he said has regained its identity under coach Oscar Tabarez.
"It's one thing to talk about the national team, which has regained its mystique since Tabarez began [in 2006]," Lugano told Brazil's Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. "We are going to [this year's] World Cup in Russia with hopes of having a good campaign.
"But Uruguayan [local] football is a disaster, a disgrace. Everything is wrong. Contracts are badly prepared, power is in the hands of a few, there is little democracy. The players leave [Uruguay] too early and those who stay don't have adequate infrastructure. They do not have physiotherapy or adequate technology. It's a sad situation."
Lugano, who was capped 95 times for Uruguay and captained the Celeste at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, retired from football last month.
He immediately accepted a position as the head of institutional relations at Brazilian club Sao Paulo, where he remains an idol for helping the team beat Liverpool in the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup final.