Menotti takes charge at Independiente
BUENOS AIRES: Cesar Luis Menotti, the chain-smoking coach who led Argentina to their first World Cup victory in 1978, has taken over for a third stint at Independiente.
“I’m returning to a place for which I have great affection,” the 66-year-old told reporters after agreeing terms with the club. “I’m very happy.” Menotti, known as El Flaco (The Thin Man) has not coached since being fired by provincial club Rosario Central just over two years ago.
Independiente, who have struggled since winning the Apertura championship in 2002, chose Menotti after unsuccessful approaches to former Argentina coach Daniel Passarella, 1986 World Cup striker Jorge Burruchaga and 1978 World Cup midfielder Americo Gallego. They finished 15th in the Apertura championship held in the second half of this year.
Menotti replaced former Argentine and Fiorentina forward Daniel Bertoni, who took over in August following the death of Jose “Pato” Pastoriza but resigned less than four months later. Youth team coach Pedro Monzon had been in charge on an interim basis for the last month. “It’s been a cruel year for Independiente,” said Menotti. Since the 1978 World Cup, Menotti has coached the Mexican national team, Argentine clubs Boca Juniors twice and River Plate once, Uruguay’s Penarol, Italy’s Sampdoria and Spain’s Barcelona.
Menotti, an exponent of attacking football, has been credited with revolutionising Argentine football during the 1970s but his magic touch appears to have faded in the last few years. He lasted only seven months at Sampdoria in 1997 and eight months in Independiente in 1999. His next job was at Central, the club where he began his playing career more than 40 years ago, in 2002 where he was in charge for five months. reuters