GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Argentine coach Matias Almeyda, who won five titles in three years with Mexican league club Guadalajara, has parted ways with the team over differences with management.
On Tuesday, a day after his departure from the club, players and fans are recalling a coach who had a human side.
Almeyda stressed the importance to his players of having a strong defense, being creative in the middle of the field and being accurate when taking shots on goal.
The 44-year-old Almeyda, who was named the Liga MX’s best coach last season, taught his players the importance of values like honesty, honor, loyalty, character, kindness and fairness.
Almeyda relied on an old school approach while coaching Mexico’s most popular club, changing the culture to emphasize clean play and appreciation for players’ efforts, as well as instilling his philosophy of attacking rivals and maintaining balance on the field.
The Argentine coach led Guadalajara to the 2017 Clausura tournament title, Copa MX titles in 2015 and 2017, and the 2016 Super Copa MX championship.
Guadalajara played poorly in the Liga MX this year, but the team won the CONCACAF Champions League, qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup with players who gave the Chivas a great effort on the field despite being owed money by management.
Players took to the Argentine coach as if he were a soccer messiah, with even stars like forward Alan Pulido expressing deep respect and admiration for the foreigner.
Pulido called Almeyda “the best coach I’ve had in my career” in a social media post.
Other Guadalajara players also criticized Almeyda’s exit from the team, saying that management lacked respect for fans.
In recent weeks, Almeyda’s relationship with management became strained after the club jettisoned three key players – goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota, defender Oswaldo Alanis and midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro.
Although his contract ran until 2021, Almeyda indicated last month that his time with the club was nearing an end.