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- Tigres UANL is Mexico’s most successful club in the last decade
- Ricardo Ferretti has been their coach throughout this period
- “Every team is ready for this,” he said ahead of Qatar 2020
It has been a case of third time lucky for Ricardo Ferretti in his long association with Tigres UANL. Trophylable in his first spell, responsible between 2000 and 2003, he returned to 27 games in 2006 before finally hitting the jackpot with the club in his third spell, starting in 2010.
Tigers were in danger of being demoted at the time, but the man they call Tuca had a plan: not only would he save them from the drop, he would also lead them to the top.
He has been true to his word.
Since then, the Tigres have collected nine trophies, winning the Liga MX five times, the Copa MX once and the Campeon de Campeones [contested by the Apertura and Clausura winners each season] three times. The only trophy that had escaped the club over the last decade was the Concacaf Champions League, a competition in which they lost three finals between 2016 and 2019.
“Despite these defeats, we remained focused on winning the trophy,” said Ferretti, whose side finally achieved the feat in 2020. “For ten whole years, the team showed how good they were and in the three finals we lost, things just seemed to go against us, which can always happen. We even lost a penalty shootout as we seemed to have it all under control. But now that we’ve gone and won it, all this pressure is off our backs. We can now go to the club world championship and look to do something big. “
The crash of Ricardo Ferretti
- Born February 22, 1954 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- First traveled to Mexico in 1977 to play for Atlas
- In addition to the Tigres, he has also coached the Pumas, Guadalajara, Toluca and Morelia, and he also had spells as Mexico’s assistant coach in 2015 and 2018.
- Only Javier de la Torre has had a longer term in charge of a Mexican club than Ferretti in his third term with the Tigres; De la Torre spent 13 seasons in the Guadalajara hot seat between 1960 and 1973
Los Felinos have good reason to be excited about their chances at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™, as Ferretti explained: “The strength of my team lies in the balance between attack and defense. We have some very experienced players who have a lot of mental and technical ability. Just when it seems like there is a problem on the pitch that cannot be solved, they go and solve it. My team is ready and there is a very solid base there for the next few years. “
It is a team with some big names, among them the French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, the club’s top scorer all the time and the cornerstones of the attack. Yet as far as Tuca is concerned, the group always comes before any individual.
“I don’t like talking about one or two players just because this is a team,” he said. “We have some very talented artists with a good mindset. What I like most about them is that they are ready to use the mental strength for the benefit of the team. ”
Now 66 and at the peak of his strength, Ferretti is poised for the biggest competition of his career to date, one that started in 1991 and where he has never gone a single season without coaching.
“I love doing what I do,” he explained. “This is one of the most beautiful sports in the world and I am very grateful to be a part of it. I’m very grateful to have done the same since I started playing the game 53 years ago. I do not find it repetitive or boring because I do what I love because football is my passion. The day I stop feeling like 100 percent is the day I stop. ”
The stage is set for the Brazilian coach to round off in style a decade in which he has won almost everything there is to win. A great performance in a prestigious international tournament would definitely achieve that. But what can one expect from his Tigres on their club world championship train?
“Respect for any opponent,” came the reply. “We are all on the same page: to play to our full potential and win the trophy. Each side is ready for this, but only one of them wins it. I hope it’s us. We are enthusiastic, ambitious and talented. We will take on every team we meet, from the first to the last, with the right attitude and without underestimating anyone. Things get tougher as the tournament continues, but we maintain that respectful approach without being afraid of anyone. ”