Former Argentina International Gabriel Calderon Takes Over At Saudi Giants Al Hilal

After managerial stints with the Saudi national team and Al Ittihad, Gabriel Calderon has been appointed Al Hilal's new manager.
Former Argentina international and Saudi Arabia manager Gabriel Calderon has been announced as the successor to Eric Gerets at Al Hilal.

The Saudi giants made the announcement on their website that the 50 year-old has been given a contract that runs until the end of the current Saudi Pro League season.

Calderon joins after winning the Saudi Premier League with Al-Ittihad, having also lead the Saudi national team to the 2006 World Cup before being denied the chance to lead them at the tournament.

He follows in the immediate footsteps of Belgian manager Gerets, who was successful in a short stint with Al Hilal during which he won the league and Crown Prince Cup, as well as guiding them to the semi finals of the Asian Champions League.

Calderon was sacked by his former employers in January of this year. At Al Hilal he won't enjoy the financial resources that were at his disposal with Al Ittihad, widely regarded as the Arab world's largest and most prestigious club.

Expectations though are traditionally high at Al Hilal, who are hugely popular in Saudi Arabia and the country's most successful team in terms of silverware.

His new side boast plenty of individual quality both foreign and local and are in an excellent position in the league, where they are five points off first place Al Ittihad with three games in hand.

Former Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill had previously been in the frame for the job, though Arabic has reported that Al Hilal director of football and former player Sami Al-Jaber was instrumental in bringing Calderon to the club instead.

Calderon and Al-Jaber developed a strong working relationship when the former coached the latter within the Saudi national team in 2005 and though the majority of the Al Hilal staff preferred O'Neill, the legendary Al-Jaber's not inconsiderable influence prevailed.

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