Note­book: Javier Aguirre steps down as Mex­ico coach

move ex­pected af­ter neg­a­tive re­marks, early Cup exit

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter

JO­HAN­NES­BURG, South Africa — Three days af­ter laud­ing the fu­ture of Mex­i­can soc­cer, Javier Aguirre said he wasn’t stick­ing around to be a part of it.

Aguirre ap­peared at a packed news con­fer­ence in Mex­ico City on Wed­nes­day to an­nounce he was step­ping down as coach of the Mex­i­can na­tional team, which bowed out of the World Cup in the sec­ond round for the fifth time in as many tries.

“The first per­son re­spon­si­ble is me. I be­lieve that I have to re­sign my job,” Aguirre said. “It’s the most hon­est so­lu­tion, the fairest and it’s some­thing I Javier Aguirre took over the Mex­i­can team 15 months ago, when El Tri was in dan­ger of fail­ing to qual­ify for the World Cup. have to do.”

The news was no sur­prise. Aguirre caused a stir in Mex­ico in Fe­bru­ary when, dur­ing an in­ter­view, he spoke in vul­gar terms about the coun­try and its nar­cotics-fu­eled crime rate, say­ing that was why he was leav­ing his fam­ily in Europe.

Aguirre was forced to make a pub­lic apol­ogy and it ap­peared clear then he would not be asked to re­turn de­spite the re­mark­able job he did in get­ting Mex­ico to the World Cup.

One pos­si­ble choice to re­place him will be for­mer Club Amer­ica coach Je­sus “Chu­cho” Ramirez be­cause the core of the na­tional team is made up of play­ers Ramirez guided to the 2005 U-17 world ti­tle.

Aguir re, who coached Mex­ico to the sec­ond round of the World Cup in 2002 and who played for El Tri in the 1986 tour­na­ment, took over 15 months ago with the team in dan­ger of fail­ing to qual­ify for the Cup for the first time in 28 years.

He im­me­di­ately turned things around, and three months later Mex­ico crushed the United States 5-0 in East Ruther­ford, N.J., to win the Gold Cup.

Mex­ico’s fifth coach since the last World Cup, Aguirre’s an­nual salary was ru­mored to be nearly $4 mil­lion, which, if true, would have made him the third-high­est-paid na­tional team coach in the world.

Aguirre, whose last two jobs were with Span­ish club teams Osasuna and Atletico de Madrid, has said he’d like to re­turn to Europe.

Guillermo Arias

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