Aguirre, a former Mexico player, previously coached Spanish clubs Osasuna, Atletico Madrid, Espanyol and Zaragoza. He also coached the national teams of Mexico, Japan and Egypt. His last job had been with Egypt, which he coached until July.
In Mexico, he played for America and Guadalajara, and coached Atlante and Pachuca.
MADRID (AP) — Former Mexico coach Javier Aguirre has denied taking money that was allegedly used to fix the result of a Spanish league game eight years ago.
Aguirre testified Thursday in the match-fixing trial involving a game between Levante and Zaragoza at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Aguirre, Zaragoza’s coach at the time, is one of more than 40 people who could face two years in prison and a six-year ban from soccer if found guilty.
Prosecutors said there is evidence that 965,000 euros (nearly $1 million) was paid to Zaragoza’s squad and later transferred to Levante’s players to lose the match in the final round of the season.
Zaragoza won 2-1 to avoid relegation. Deportivo La Coruna was demoted as a result.
Former Zaragoza officials said the money was paid to motivate players, not fix the result of the game.
Aguirre and some of the players who have testified denied Zaragoza’s version that the money was paid as an incentive.
Aguirre said he received a deposit without his consent and returned the money to the club because it was not part of his contract.
Some of the players said they were asked as a favor to the club to withdraw the money deposited into their accounts and return it in cash, which they said they did. A few players said they kept the deposits because they believed the money was owed to them.
Among the 36 players accused are Ander Herrera, now with Paris Saint-Germain; former Leicester midfielder Vicente Iborra; former Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez; River Plate midfielder Leonardo Ponzio; Serbian defender Ivan Obradovic; Lazio forward Felipe Caicedo; Itailan defender Maurizio Lanzaro; and Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani.
Herrera, Ponzio and Fernandez were among the players who testified on Thursday.
Former Levante player Xavi Torres was asked why he went more than two months without making any cash withdrawals following the match against Zaragoza. The midfielder said he didn’t need to make any withdrawals because he was on vacation, travelling to different countries and at his parents’ home.
Torres, who played the whole match against Zaragoza, denied the result was fixed.
“You can see during the match that we created several scoring opportunities and tried to win,” he said.
Prosecutors said players on both teams were aware of the alleged match-fixing. They said they found evidence the money was transferred to Levante players after analyzing tax reports and banking transactions at the time.
A lower court had shelved the case but it was reopened last year after an appeal by prosecutors in Valencia, where Levante is based and where the match was played.
Even if found guilty, it’s unlikely that those being accused would face actual prison time because sentences of two years or less for first-time offenders are often suspended in Spain.
Zaragoza returned to the second division in 2014. Levante is currently in Spain’s top league.
Checking the success rate of national rehires as Arena takes U.S. reins
Some nations have never done it, while others have made a habit; As Bruce Arena prepares for his second stint as United States men’s national team boss, what has history shown us regarding these repeat performances?
While each case is quite unique given both the nature of player turnover at the national team level and the relative burdens of a given program, perhaps there’s something to be learned from going back to the well.
Two nations have done this in somewhat religious fashion: Brazil and the Netherlands. While the former was simply hearkening back to the golden days, reintroducing three bosses who had won the World Cup, the Dutch operated in an unorthodox manner in repeating many times.
Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Italy, and Belgium have all gone back to the drawing board once in the last few decades, while some nations: England, Spain, France, Germany.
I’ll admit that I was nonplussed at the idea of Bruce Arena re-appointment. He’ll do fine, as it would take some serious failing to miss out on the World Cup. But I’m hoping this exercise will lead me in a different direction, one of excitement.
Let’s begin in CONCACAF, where Javier Aguirre earned two stints with Mexico. Aguirre led El Tri to the Copa America final in 2001 and oversaw a terrific escape from the 2002 World Cup group stage, where Mexico was drawn with Croatia, Italy, and Ecuador. Mexico then lost to the USMNT in the Round of 16 (Landon Donovan!!), and that was that for stint No. 1.
His return will sound super familiar to U.S. fans. Aguirre was brought back to Mexico in the wake of foreign manager Sven-Gorn Eriksson’s losing two of his first three Hex matches. Upon his hiring Aguirre vowed, “I add, gentlemen, that I want the player who comes, come with pride, to recover the identity that comes with our love for the shirt”.
Aguirre led Mexico back into the World Cup, and won the 2009 Gold Cup. El Tri finished second in its World Cup group but again bowed out in the first knockout round (3-1 to Argentina).
Verdict:Hard to call this anything but a success.
Marcello Lippi won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, which is nice we guess. He left the gig of his own volition, only to return after Italy lost at the quarterfinal stage of EURO 2008. In South Africa, Italy gained two points from a poor group with New Zealand, Slovakia, and Paraguay, and Lippi quit.
Verdict: This one didn’t work.
Georges Leekens is seemingly a rare bird in our study, a coach who disappointed in his first run but got another shot. Belgium failed to advance from the 1998 World Cup’s group stage, the first time the Red Devils missed the knockout rounds since 1982. Leekens was brought back in 2009, and could not help Belgium to EURO 2010.
Verdict: If at first you don’t succeed… don’t do it again?
Nelson Acosta led Chile from 1996-2000, and advanced to the Round of 16. Chile drew all three group games before falling to finalists Brazil in the first knockout round game. He came back for 2005-2007, with Chile not in the 2006 World Cup and bowing out in the quarters of the 2007 Copa America. Oh, and he quit midway through that tenure.
Verdict: Not great.
Argentina‘s repeat customer was Alfio Basile, who won two Copa Americas and a Confederations Cup, though a promising 1994 World Cup run was scuppered by one of Diego Maradona’s failed drug tests. Basile was brought back after the 2006 World Cup, and quit after a Round 10 loss in CONMEBOL qualifying that saw La Albiceleste swept by Chile.
As for the repeat offenders, Brazil and the Netherlands.
Mario Zagallo, Carlos Alberto Parreira, and Luiz Felipe Scolari were all brought back to Brazil after lifting World Cups. It’s worth noting that Parreira had a brief stint in charge before his Cup winning stint as well.
Zagallo had won two World Cups as a player, too, before leading Brazil to the 1970 World Cup final. He returned almost a quarter century later, and led the nation to the final. They lost to hosts France.
Parreira won the 1994 World Cup in the United States, returning 8 years late for a four-year run. Brazil conceding one goal in three group stage games, then blasted Ghana 3-0 before again falling victim to France, 1-0, this time in the quarters.
Scolari won the 2002 World Cup, and came back for the 2014 edition in Brazil. We know how that ended, with semifinal embarrassment at the hands of Germany.
Although any World Cup that ends before the final will be viewed as a failure by some Brazil supporters, none of the above results were true embarrassments.
Verdict: Hard to judge because, well, it’s Brazil.
The Dutch have turned over the same leaf many times, and their bravery was rewarded several times.
Louis Van Gaal‘s first tenure with the national team was rough, as the Netherlands missed the World Cup for the first time since 1986. His return, however, was sensational; Holland ran to the 2014 World Cup semifinal, only falling to eventual runners-up Argentina.
The other returnees had varied success. Rinus Michels had five spells in charge. He first led the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final, where they lost to West Germany, and came back to lead the team to the EURO 1988 title. They beat West Germany in the semis, and Michels is an undoubted Dutch legend.
Guus Hiddink led Holland to the 1998 World Cup semifinals, only losing to Brazil in penalties. He came back in 2014 to succeed Van Gaal, and the Dutch saw misery. Holland finished fourth in their qualifying group and missed EURO 2016.
Dick Advocaat navigated a tumultuous spell of Dutch football to lead the nation to the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual champions Brazil. In his return, Advocaat led the Netherlands to the EURO 2004 semis and a surprising loss to Portugal. This was not viewed kindly.
According to reports in the Japanese press Mexican coach Javier Aguirre is set to become Japan’s new manager following Alberto Zaccheroni’s resignation.
The Japanese FA have said that no formal decision has been made, however Nikkansports newspaper reported that Aguirre will take over in July on a deal worth up to $2.45 million a year that will run through the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
During two separate spells as Mexico’s manager Aguirre led El Tri to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2002 and 2010, while Japan crashed out of the 2014 World Cup at the group stage after failing to win a game in Group C. They were hammered 4-1 by Colombia, lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 and drew 0-0 with 10-man Greece in a disappointing display. In WC history Japan have only reached the knockout stages twice in five campaigns (2002 and 2010) and Aguirre’s task will be to get the best out of talented attackers such as Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa.
Aguirre left his post as Espanyol manager in May after he guided the Barcelona based club to 14th place in La Liga, and it now seems as though he’s set to return to international management. First up he will prepare Japan for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia next January before qualification for the 2018 World Cup begins.
Japan have underachieved on the international stage and Aguirre’s job will be to turn the Samurai Blue into a side that can compete in the knockout rounds of the World Cup. They have the talent, let’s see if a new leader can do the trick.