Necaxa will almost certainly have the youngest manager in Liga MX in the upcoming season after announcing the appointment of Marcelo Michel Leano on Friday.
The 31-year-old recently coached second-division Zacatepec to a fourth-place regular season finish and got the club into the semi-finals of the Copa MX. That tournament was won by Necaxa, but Rayos still parted ways with manager Nacho Ambriz after the club failed to make the postseason - with reports emerging Thursday of a dispute about bonus pay for winning the cup as well.
Now Necaxa, a historic club now based in Aguascalientes after half a century in Mexico City, is turning to Leano to lead the way.
"Today we're pleased to introduce this talented young Mexican with whom we'll look to give continuity to our formative and educating goal through the experiences that soccer gives us," Necaxa said in a club statement. "We give the most cordial welcome to Marcelo for this new challenge leading the coaching staff in this new era of the Rayos of Necaxa, wishing him the best of success."
While Leano is young, he's been involved in Mexican soccer for more than a decade, working with Tecos in Guadalajara including a brief spell with Argentine coaching great Cesar Luis Menotti at the helm before moving to Chivas to serve as a bridge between adviser Johan Cruyff and the club's directors. He then moved from the boardroom to the field, taking over at Venados in 2016 then at Coras de Tepic before the franchise's move to Zacatepec.
In addition to being Liga MX's youngest manager, Leano will be the only coach who never played at the professional level but is managing a top division team in Mexico. Cruz Azul manager Pedro Caixinha had a short career and moved into coaching at age 28, but all other currently employed coaches had playing careers.