Ricardo La Volpe
La Volpe with Monterrey in 2008
|Full name||Ricardo Antonio La Volpe Guarchoni|
|Date of birth||6 February 1952|
|Place of birth||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He is an Argentine World Cup-winning goalkeeper and the former coach of the Mexico and Costa Rica national teams. He is known for his tactical flexibility during matches and abrasive manner, as well as chain smoking on the touchline. As a club manager, he won the Mexico league in the 1992–93 season with Atlante and in 2002 with Toluca.
Ricardo La Volpe began his career as a coach in the Mexico Primera División in 1989, managing several teams such as Oaxtepec, Puebla, Atlante, Guadalajara, Querétaro, América, Atlas, Toluca, and Monterrey. Despite mixed results, La Volpe earned a reputation for his offensive-style of football. He led Atlante to the 1992–1993 season championship and reached the league final with Atlas in 1999 and won his second title with Toluca in 2002.
Mexico national team
His results as coach of the Mexico national team were good, as the team defeated Brazil to win the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup and easily qualified for the 2006 World Cup and performed well at the 2005 Confederations Cup, defeating eventual champions Brazil at the group stage, and reaching the semifinals of the tournament. With these results, Mexico reached 4th place in the FIFA World rankings.
Also under his leadership at the Copa América 2004, Mexico managed to defeat Argentina for the first time in years, but lost in the quarterfinals against Brazil. Mexico also lost at the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals to Colombia. Mexico was also eliminated at the 2004 Olympic Games after losing to Korea during the group stage.
At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, during the group stage of the competition, he won one game (Iran), tied one (Angola) and lost one (Portugal), giving Mexico an unprecedented fourth consecutive qualification to the Round of 16 of the tournament before going out 1-2 in extra time to Argentina at that stage.
During Mexico's first game in the finals against Iran, La Volpe was seen chain-smoking in the dugout, leading to an official warning from FIFA that he was not allowed to smoke in the competition area. La Volpe responded by telling FIFA's executives that he would "rather give up football than smoking", although he later consented.
He had constant clashes with the press, which pushed La Volpe to threaten several times to leave. Once he told journalists: ¡Fuera de mi cara! Tú no sabes nada. No te rompes mis huevos, idiotas." The Guardian even named him Best Coach of the 2006 World Cup for his attitude.
Mexico lost to Argentina at the round of 16 stage after a Maxi Rodríguez goal in extra time. Immediately after the loss, La Volpe finished his term as manager of Mexico. He did not give a final report on the team's performance, for which he was criticized by the Mexican press.
After leaving the Mexico national team, he met with Boca Juniors officials on 24 July 2006. After several weeks of negotiation, it was agreed on 22 August that La Volpe would take over as Boca manager on 15 September, replacing Alfio Basile who had been selected to manage the Argentine national team.
La Volpe had a bumpy start with Boca Juniors, including a 3–1 loss against archi-rivals River Plate on 8 October. On 12 October, Boca lost 3–1 to Uruguayan club Nacional on penalty kicks in the Copa Sudamericana, and so were out of the competition. Boca failed three times to claim the Apertura Championship in the final weeks of the season, and then lost a playoff against Estudiantes. Keeping his word that he would quit if he lost, La Volpe resigned after the match. Later that year he become the new Vélez Sársfield manager, but did not stay in the job long. After watching his team suffer bruising defeats by River Plate and Boca Juniors in the Apertura 2007, and his team in 10th place, he resigned as coach.
Return to Mexico
In 2008, Ricardo La Volpe returned to Mexico as manager of Monterrey. After several days of speculation, the decision was finally announced in the club's official website, as the replacement of former manager Isaac Mizrahi. He had a bumpy start, and didn't win until his fifth match. Monterrey finished the season in 8th place and had the league's leading goal scorer, Humberto Suazo. Monterrey's league would end in the semi-finals in which they were eliminated by Santos Laguna after an aggregate score of 3–3 Fans of Monterrey spoke highly of La Volpe for helping the team reach the playoffs again after two dismal seasons of not qualifying including a last place finish during the last tournament. In the Apertura 2008 the team would have a fairly good start, but completely fell apart towards the end of the tournament placing Monterrey in the bottom of the table, hence not qualifying to the playoffs. After the disappointing tournament, the team did not offer the money La Volpe was looking for and he decided to leave the team.
Return to Atlas
On 28 January 2009, La Volpe signed, once again, with Atlas. Fans of the team had been yearning for him to come back to the squad in which many said he had his most success. The tournament was not successful with the team failing to qualify to the playoffs, finishing 13th. On 18 November the Argentine coach quit Atlas due to poor results, and was replaced by Carlos Ischia.
On September 9, 2010, the former Atlas coach became the new manager of Costa Rica, replacing interim coach Rónald González. The Argentine had originally signed until July 2014, however, poor performance during the 2011 Gold Cup and 2011 Copa América, ended his contract prematurely on August 12, 2011.
He was hired after an embarrassing 4-0 of Chivas against América with just 4 games to go in the tournament, after a win against Pachuca in his debut as coach, he finished the League with a tie and 2 losses, however Chivas owner Jorge Vergara said that it wasn't La Volpe's fault and that he will continue as coach. However on April 30th, 2014, La Volpe was fired by Vergara after an accusation by a female staff member of improper behavior by La Volpe on her and Vergara announced that there was a lawsuit against La Volpe for that matter.
Though he has been criticized by some,[who?] his influence is obvious in Mexican football. Fans of the teams Atlas, Toluca, and Atlante F.C. remember him fondly. His philosophy, style of play, and attitude is referred to as "Lavolpismo". Current coaches who have studied under and continue to use a modified version of his style of play and philosophy are referred to as "Lavolpistas". He has had his run-ins with players in the past, but many players refer to him as a great coach who holds a great relationship with his players.
- Best and Wurst
- Sale Ricardo Lavolpe del Atlas | Milenio.com
- Elogios a Ischia | Milenio.com
- "La Volpe al mando de la Tricolor". fedefutbol.org. Retrieved 26 September 2010.