Sports, Football

Former Argentine WC winning coach Menotti is no more

Published : 06 May 2024 09:41 PM

Cesar Luis Menotti, who famously coached Argentina to their first World Cup triumph in 1978, has died at the age of 85, Argentina Football Association (AFA) announced on Sunday.

“The AFA regrets to report with great sadness the death of Cesar Luis Menotti, former world champion coach of Argentina," the AFA said in a statement. The chain-smoking Menotti managed 11 clubs, some more than once, and two national teams in a coaching career that lasted 37 years. But he will be best remembered for leading Argentina to the 1978 World Cup played on home soil at a time when the country was ruled by a repressive junta. In the final, Argentina defeated the Netherlands 3-1 after extra-time with flamboyant man of the tournament Mario Kempes scoring twice against a Dutch side shorn of Johan Cruyff, who had refused to play in the World Cup. Menotti opted not to pick 17-year-old phenomenon Diego Maradona, who had made his international debut the year before.

Meanwhile, superstar Lionel Messi has paid a tribute to the legendary former Argentina coach Cesar Luis Menotti. 

Messi took to Instagram to pay his respects to the legendary figure in Argentine football, saying, "One of the great references of our football has left us. Condolences to his family and loved ones.” 

Other than the Argentina national team, Menotti has also coached clubs like Newell's Old Boys, Huracan, Boca, River Plate, Independiente and Rosario in Argentina. He also had an extensive stint as a coach in Europe, managing teams like Sampdoria, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Menotti returned to the Argentine national team set-up as a director in 2019 and helped oversee wins in the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup.