On Tuesday, managing Guadalajara was possibly the last thing on Francisco "Paco" Ramirez's mind. On April 1, Ramirez was serving the second of his two-match ban he had placed on him for slapping an American soccer player as the then-assistant to Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was gainfully employed.
Now, a whirlwind pair of weeks has finished with Ramirez taking over
one of the most storied clubs in Mexico. Ramirez was formally presented
as manager of Guadalajara, a day after Omar Arellano's shock firing by
club owner Jorge Vergara. Arellano took over following on March 30,
about a week after manager Efrain Flores was sacked after a string of
Ramirez, who has never managed in the Primera Division before, said he was excited to take on the task of managing Guadalajara.
"I'm very enthusiastic for having this opportunity to work with a club
as important as this, with a grand tradition, to have the chance to
work for the supporters and to have a team that is aggressive for them,
with a personality," Ramirez said. "We are going to try and put forth
our best effort and what we're capable of to achieve our objectives."
First up for Ramirez will be Sunday's superclasico against America.
Ramirez's first-ever match in charge of a Primera Division club will be
against the hated rivals, America, who have proven to be one of the
best road clubs in Mexico. While the match is Guadalajara's most
important game every season no matter the circumstances, Ramirez is not
fearful of what is to come.
"It is a wonderful challenge, an immense challenge for me but it is a
great opportunity," Ramirez said. "We're here to give our best and we
are well prepared. We know what this club is capable of and we're going
to work towards that."
Although Ramirez may feel a bit of nerves on the day, Sunday will be a
sort of holiday for most of Mexico to enjoy. After all, on only two
days a year are Chivas and America guaranteed to meet.
"The Clasico is a spectacular day for everyone to enjoy," he said. "It
is an important responsibility against a rival with a great tradition
like America which, to me, makes for a true rivalry where you play for
your lives. We are very proud and thank for Mr. Vergara and his wife to
have the chance to be here."
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