Nov 15, 2007

True To His Word, Passarella Resigns From River. What Now?

Daniel Passarella handed in his resignation at River Plate today, fulfilling a promise made at the start of the season to quit if his team failed to win a championship. River's last chance for a trophy went down the drain when they were eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana last night. The timing of Passarella's departure is still being worked out with the team's front office, according to the AP.

Passarella had an illustrious career as a player, culminating with his captaincy of Argentina's 1978 World Cup-winning squad. His coaching career started with a lot of promise but has ultimately not been as illustrious. After retiring as a player in 1989, he took over coaching duties at River, winning three titles in four years. He then managed the Argentine national team for four years, winning the South American Coach of the Year accolate in 1997. A disappointing run at the 1998 World Cup led to his resignation, soon followed by another disappointing stint as the national coach of Uruguay. After a brief stint at Parma, he briefly reclaimed some success in Mexico, winning a title with Monterrey in 2003 but was fired from his next gig, at Corinthians in his native country in 2005. He then took over River in January 2006.

Does Passarella have what it takes to be a successful manager? Or were his brief successes one-off events? No doubt his status as a national hero helped him effectively motivate players in the early years, but with each succeeding generation the living memories of the 1978 run became fainter. By the late '90s I doubt many of his players could even recall the '78 tournament, much less Passarella's mythical status. All of which make the Mexican years stand out--and perhaps offer a reason to be bullish on his chances as a manager (sorry for the financial terminology; it's a force of habit from the day gig). I didn't really follow the Mexican league in those years so I can't opine on his tenure. Maybe somebody else can?


  1. Kudos to Emilio!!! I probably attended about 15 DC United games this season and I can attest to his value to DCU. He was the only true finisher on whom we could rely most of the year. Jaime Moreno is still a great closer, but has lost a step and doesn't get as many opportunities as he once did. Others can score (Gomez, Fred, etc.), but there was nobody else on whom we could rely consistently. Yes, we probably make the playoffs without him, but there's no way we come in the top two in the East without him.

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