Cesar Luis Menotti, the Visionary Behind Argentina’s Historic 1978 World Cup Victory, Passes Away at 85

The football world mourns the loss of Cesar Luis Menotti, the legendary coach who steered Argentina to their first-ever World Cup triumph in 1978.

Menotti’s passing, announced by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) on Sunday, marks the end of an era for football enthusiasts worldwide.

Cesar Luis Menotti, the Visionary Behind Argentina’s Historic 1978 World Cup Victory, Passes Away at 85

The football federation of Argentina confirmed on Sunday that Cesar Luis Menotti, who is renowned for having led his team to their first World Cup victory in 1978—honored as one of the “country’s greatest joys”—had passed away at the age of 85.

“The Argentine Football Association regrets to report with great sadness the death of Cesar Luis Menotti, former world champion coach of Argentina,” the association stated in a statement.

The habit of chain smoking Throughout his 37-year coaching career, Menotti oversaw 11 clubs—some more than once—and the national teams of Mexico and Argentina.
However, his most memorable achievement will be winning the 1978 World Cup on home soil for Argentina, which was governed at the time by an oppressive junta.

Argentina defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in overtime in the championship match, with colorful player of the tournament Mario Kempes scoring twice against a Dutch team without Johan Cruyff, who had declined to participate in the World Cup.

Menotti chose not to select Diego Maradona, a 17-year-old sensation who had made his debut for his country the previous year.

President of Argentina Javier Milei responded to Menotti’s passing by saying on X that he was “deeply pained at the departure of the leader of a team that has given one of the greatest joys to the country.”

Menotti was also well-remembered in Mexico, where he led the national team from 1991 to 1992 before taking on his final coaching positions with Puebla and Tecos in 2006 and 2007.

“The greatest for me is a teacher of teachers,” ex-international Carlos Hermosillo remarked on X. “Thank you for your contributions to Mexican soccer. There was a before and after you for me.

Hermosillo, who is currently a Fox Sports television analyst, claimed that Menotti had encouraged him to become “the most outstanding Mexican goal scorer” in the end.

Menotti was correct in that regard. Hermosillo won three straight individual scoring titles from 1993 to 1996. With 294 goals in his career, he was the second-best scorer in Mexican football history when he retired.

“Cesar Luis Menotti, a football expert, philosopher, learned, considerate, clever, kind, and well-educated… departed from this life… “I am unable to fully enumerate his attributes,” penned journalist Jose Ramon Fernandez, who co-broadcast alongside the Argentine expert during multiple World Cups.

“We had long talks, we shared World Cups, laughter, anecdotes.”
Menotti also offered his condolences to Barcelona, the legendary Spanish team that won the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup while he was their coach from 1983 to 1984.

“After the passing of Cesar Luis Menotti, FC Barcelona would like to offer its condolences. Rest in peace.”

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