Legendary World Cup coach César Luis Menotti dies at 85

Known as ‘El Flaco’ Menotti, he coached Argentina’s men’s national team to its first World Cup win in 1978

César Luis Menotti, who coached Argentina’s national football team during the 1978 World Cup, died at 85 years old on Sunday, said the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

“The Argentine Football Association regrets to inform with great sadness the death of César Luis Menotti, [AFA´s] current national teams director and world champion former manager of Argentina’s national team,” AFA wrote on X. “So long, dear Flaco!” they added.

Menotti had been in hospital since March due to severe anemia, which worsened over time. He had also been admitted to a hospital in August following a fall at his home.

Argentina won its first football World Cup in 1978 under Menotti’s management and his tactical strategy became a footballing school of thought, referred to locally as menottismo.

Born in Rosario in 1938, his first team as a player was Rosario Central between 1964-65. He also played in Boca Juniors, New York’s The Generals, and Sao Paulos’ Juventus, where he retired in 1970. He also briefly played with Pelé in Santos.

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Menotti started his career as a manager in 1970, training Argentine teams Newell’s Old Boys, Huracán, Boca Juniors, River Plate, Independiente, and Rosario Central. He went on to coach internationally, managing Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in Spain, Sampdoria in Italy, as well as Puebla and Tecos in Mexico. He retired in 2007.

Before becoming coach for Argentina’s national men’s team, he played as part of it in several matches during the 1960s. Menotti was chosen manager after he brought Huracán to victory in the 1973 first-division championship. He stayed on as head national coach until 1982, when Argentina did not pass the second round of that year’s World Cup.

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