Just a couple weeks after leading Argentina to the 2014 World Cup Final against Germany, head coach Alejandro Sabella has decided to step down.
According to Argentine media, via Luis Ampuero and Rex Gowar of Reuters, the 59-year-old informed Argentine Football Association president Julio Grondona of his resignation Tuesday.
Although La Albiceleste fell 1-0 to the Germans in Brazil, the general consensus seemed to be that Sabella did an excellent job at the helm. He had an offensively gifted team including the likes of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, but Sabella managed to instill a certain amount of defensive responsibility into the squad as well.
Are you surprised by Sabella's decision to step down?
David Kent of Daily Mail reported on July 19 that the Argentinian players as a whole wanted Sabella to return. While Sabella was flattered by the support, he admitted that it wouldn't be the deciding factor in his ultimate choice.
"That makes me proud, but my decision doesn't depend on that," Sabella said. "It's down to whether I feel strong enough to give 100 percent. If I can't give the players what I ask of them, it wouldn't be honest."
Apparently Sabella came to the conclusion that he was no longer fully invested in Argentina's head coaching position. His relinquishment of the job now opens up a prestigious and highly coveted position in the world of international soccer.
Although it is unclear whom Argentina will hire in his stead, Daniel Edwards of Goal.com has identified a potential contender:
Argentina will be looking for a new coach, as Sabella confirms he won't stay on. José Pekerman signalled as one of early favourites— Daniel Edwards (@DanEdwardsGoal) July 29, 2014
Jose Pekerman is a native of Argentina and he currently coaches Colombia. He led the Colombians to an impressive showing in Brazil as they advanced to the quarter-finals before being eliminated by the host nation.
Pekerman may very well be content with his current job, but it could be difficult for him to turn down an offer from his home country.
Whoever replaces Sabella will have big shoes to fill. Sabella's tenure didn't come to a fairy-tale conclusion, but it was awfully close.
He gained a great deal of respect from Argentinian players and fans despite not winning the World Cup, which speaks to how impactful he was as La Albiceleste's boss.
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