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Ramón Díaz and a rematch that waited 26 years: from the 'deluxe' River to the surprising Al Hilal, who seeks to dethrone Real Madrid


The man from La Rioja arrived in the Arab world six years ago, managed four clubs and with the current one he won five titles, but he wants to say goodbye with one more crown.

Twenty-six years after his first failed attempt,

Ramón Ángel Díaz

will go hunting for an intercontinental trophy this Saturday.

In 1996, with that River of Enzo Francescoli, Ariel Ortega, Marcelo Gallardo and Marcelo Salas, he lost 1-0 against Juventus in Tokyo in the definition of the European-South American Cup.

This time they will face the final of the Club World Cup in Rabat against Real Madrid.

He will do so at the command of Al-Hilal, the club with which he has already won five titles and one of the four he has led in the Arab World, that universe in which the man from La Rioja set foot six years ago and to whom he wants to say goodbye with one more crown

"What remains for me is that I want to win again with this club, I want to win another title, we will surely decide what to do next

," Ramón replied when asked about his pending dream during an interview published on the FIFA website in the eve of the duel that his team beat Moroccan Wydad on penalties for the quarterfinals of the Club World Cup.

That victory was followed by a surprise triumph against Flamengo that allowed Al-Hilal to become the first Saudi club and the sixth non-European or South American to reach a final of this tournament.

At 63, Díaz is enjoying this dream moment with the club where he began his journey in this part of the planet.

On October 23, 2016, he began his first period at Al-Hilal after his three cycles at River (he won nine titles), after having won the Clausura 2007 with San Lorenzo, after an ephemeral stint at Independiente, after having directed América de Mexico and English Oxford United, and of not having been able to overcome the group stage of the Copa América Centenario 2016 in charge of the Paraguayan National Team.

Ramón Díaz is preparing for the final that his team will play against Real Madrid in Rabat.

Photo: Mohamed Messara / EFE / EPA.

The first months of


on Arab soil were full of success: in January 2017 they won the Custody of the Two Holy Mosques Champions Cup, beating Al-Ahli in the final, and in April they secured the league title saudi

As if that were not enough, they had a very outstanding participation in the Asian Champions League that year, although they lost the final with the Japanese Urawa Red Diamonds after drawing 1-1 in Riyadh and losing 1-0 in Saitama with a goal from Brazilian Rafael Silva. two minutes from the end of the match.

There was nothing to suggest that the romance could be extinguished so soon after that.

But the Argentine coach was fired on February 20, 2018, minutes after a 1-0 defeat against Iranian Esteghlal for the second date of group D of the Champions League.

At that time, the team led the local league with four points ahead and four dates from the outcome of the contest.

His place was taken by a compatriot, Juan Ignacio Brown, who completed the task and led Al-Hilal to a consecration for which Ramón had done almost all the work.

What motivated the dismissal?

As revealed by the Saudi sports newspaper Arriyadiyah, the leadership had demanded that he include two footballers who had not been starters in the lineup and also that he exclude his son Emiliano from the coaching staff.

The double refusal of the man from La Rioja would have triggered the decision.

“I am leaving this great club very grateful.

(I thank) the administration, their fans who have always accompanied them, but above all the players who, despite the demands of the moment, always responded in the best way, putting the club where it deserves to be", the DT said goodbye.

Ramón Díaz, smiling with his son Emiliano and the Saudi league trophy.

Photo: Al-Hilal Press.

Three months after that separation, Ramón returned to Saudi Arabia, but not to Riyadh, but to Jeddah, to lead


, Al-Hilal's staunch rival.

The experience did not start well, since before the start of the season, the coach assured in an interview with TyC Sports that he was ready to direct the Argentine national team, which needed a driver after the departure of

Jorge Sampaoli

after the World Cup in Russia.

The words did not take long to cross the planet and thousands of Al-Ittihad fans demanded his dismissal.

The leadership supported him, but the credit was short-lived: he was dismissed on September 15 after having led the team in only four games, in which he had a draw and three losses (one of them against his former team, Al-Hilal, for the Saudi Super Cup).

"Ittihad's Board of Directors has decided to remove the Argentine coach Ramón Díaz from his position after the poor performances since the beginning of the season", justified the driving, without too many laps.

His next experience was on the other side of the Red Sea, in Egypt: on February 5, 2019, he took the helm of

Pyramids FC

, a club that had been founded in 2008 as Al Assiouty Sport in Beni Seuf and that in 2018 had been acquired by Saudi millionaire Turki Al-Sheikh (royal adviser and president of his country's General Sports Authority), had changed his name and moved to Cairo.

In Saudi Arabia, Ramón Díaz led not only Al-Hilal, but also Al-Ittihad.

Summoned by Al-Sheikh, who knew him from his work at Al-Hilal, Díaz had to replace an emblem of Egyptian football, Hossam Hassan (the national team's all-time top scorer), who had been fired two weeks before his arrival.

His stay was brief, but fruitful: he was there for less than four months, in which his team won eight games, drew three and lost only one.

As a result, they finished third in the Egyptian Premier League and qualified for the African Confederation Cup.

At that moment, his destination seemed to be in Cerro Porteño.

Seven months later, she ended up in Paraguay, but to lead



A prosperous start to the season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

When the ball rolled again, things did not go so well and


left on September 24, 2020 with the team third in the local league and complicated in its Copa Libertadores group, which it shared with Boca, Independiente Medellín and Caracas.

This was followed by a misstep by Brazil.

On November 10 of that year he was presented in


, but immediately traveled to Asunción to undergo thyroid surgery.

The recovery was expected to take 10 days, but it was extended.

After 17 days in which


played and lost three games with

Emiliano Díaz

on the bench, the leadership decided to fire Ramón.

"Due to the health of the coach, who is now scheduled to be discharged as of December 7, the club believes that it cannot wait any longer," he justified.

Ramón Díaz led Libertad de Paraguay between December 2019 and September 2020. Photo: Luis Eduardo Noriega / EFE.

After the period of convalescence, the man from La Rioja returned to the ring and again with the GPS directed towards the Middle East: on February 4, 2021, he took charge of

Al-Nasr of the United Arab Emirates


He arrived in Dubai five days before the team played the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.

In his debut, they lost 2-1 at home against Ittihad Kalba, but in the rematch they won by the same result and later won on penalties.

On April 9, he lost the final of that tournament against Shabab Al-Ahli, also by shots from 11 meters, after equalizing 0-0.

On May 16, the

Pelado team

was once again at the door of a consecration: they lost the final of the President's Cup, again against Shabab Al-Ahli.

They fell 2-1 at Al-Ain's Hazza bin Zayed stadium with a goal converted by Federico Cartabia from Santa Fe in the third added minute of the second half.

That campaign was completed with a fifth place in the Emirati league, 11 points behind the champion Al-Jazeera and out of the Asian Champions League qualifying places.

In the 2021/22 season, Al-Nasr had a promising start in the league, with five wins, three draws and just one loss.

But then he stumbled five times and fell to ninth, 15 points behind leader Al-Ain.

So Ramón, in a move that took him just a few hours, broke ties on February 15,

got on a plane, landed in Riyadh and began his second cycle in Al-Hilal


The grudges, after his dismissal in 2018, seemed to be put aside.

In 2022, Ramón Díaz won the Saudi league and the Lusail Super Cup with Al-Hilal.

Photo: Al-Hilal Press.

The bar was set high, as the team had won the last two editions of the local league and had achieved, just three months before and under the command of the Portuguese Leonardo Jardim, its fourth crown in the Asian Champions League.

Díaz did not disappoint: he signed the three-time championship in the domestic tournament, won the Lusail Super Cup and won his group in the Champions League (on February 20 he will face the Emirati Shabab Al-Ahli in the round of 16).

The good performances made 14 players from Al-Hilal integrate the squad of the Saudi national team that beat Argentina in their first match in the World Cup in Qatar.

With those scrolls in his briefcase and with great expectations, Ramón and his family arrived in Morocco.

This is the biggest club in Asia


We are in a super competitive team, which allows you to choose the players you want and also gives you the chance to win”, stated the DT before the debut.

Two wins put him one step away from that title that is drawn as his pending dream.

To do this, he must overcome Real Madrid, who emerged victorious in the eight games they played in their last four appearances in the Club World Cup.

And if he succeeds?

"I don't know, we will see the future later,"

he warned.

look also

Luciano Vietto had a consecration night and Ramón Díaz's Al Hilal eliminated Flamengo from the Club World Cup

Real Madrid suffered against Al-Ahly but will play the Club World Cup final again: they will face Ramón Díaz's Al Hilal

Messi, in doubt due to injury at PSG: the video that would demonstrate his physical discomfort days before the Champions League

PSG added another disappointment and Messi will not fight for the only title he is missing: eliminated from the French Cup by Marseille

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in Saudi Arabia: the new record he achieved and why it is bad news for Messi

Cuti Romero and the privacy of the National Team: what is the new name of the WhatsApp group like and who changed it?

The shocking image of the ankle of 'Papu' Gómez, who will be operated on for the injury he suffered at the World Cup in Qatar

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-02-10

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