La Liga Weekly

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elpresidente On January - 16 - 2012

Target On: Marcelino

5 years ago Marcelino García Toral was on top of the world. He guided not only Recreativo de Huelva to promotion in 2006 and their best ever finish that year at 8th on the table the subsequent year, but repeated the feat at Racing Santander the following year finishing a club record 6th on table.  He turned down an opportunity to guide Valencia CF and went to the second division with Real Zaragoza to rescue that grand club. He was the highest paid manager in Spain at the time and one of its most highly respected ones at that. His name was bandied about internationally as the next Spanish manager to leave Spain and garner the attention of clubs in England. Then Juande Ramos´s failed experiment at Tottenham turned that corner and the troubles began for Marcelino.

Despite promoting Real Zaragoza, he and the club were constantly at odds, disagreeing over club selection, tactics and especially transfers. That they played poorly and teetered on the brink of relegation early on in 2009 contributed to his firing. His name was mentioned for many opening in 2010-2011 but he rejected the offers stating that he would wait for an opportunity that suited him. In January of last year, Racing Santander was bought by Indian ¨businessman¨ Ahsan Ali Syed and a coaching change was instigated. Marcelino was promised a larger budget for transfers and made lofty promises about the club´s intentions. They would fight for European slots. This was a club that matched his intentions. Sadly, the well dried up quickly and Ali-Syed was no more than another not-so rich owner who spent other people´s money and left town soon after. Players that hadn´t been paid from the previous regime weren´t paid with the new one either and despite playing an attractive and hhigh-energy game, fans stayed away in droves. Marcelino left at the end of the year for what seemed like the club that suited his ambitions most: Sevilla.

Now, 19 rounds into his first season as manager of Sevilla FC and the vultures are circling again. The club are struggling. They were bounced out of the Europa League in their first two games of the season, but their domestic form has not benefited from the lack of extra games. They are currently 8th on the table, 9 points behind bitter rivals Valencia CF, and they have won 4, drawn 6 and lost 0. The quantity of draws, and the lack of scoring is concerning considering the amount of talent that Sevilla has gathered, and while their home form is acceptable to have scored only 4  goals and conceded 5 away from home is rather pathetic. Valencia bounced out of the Copa del Rey this past week and so their only hope is to reach the Champions League slots. This is a club built on modest means but with the requirement that their operating budget is fueled by how well they do in Europe. Without Champions League money, and missing out on a second consecutive slot would be disastrous, they don´t have money to offer Sporting Director Monchi for renewing the club, and it is imperative that Sevilla renew itself and soon.

So whether it´s fair or not to a talented young coach like Marcelino García-Toral, the club have already approached ex-Atlético Madrid and Valencia coach Quique Sanchez-Flores to succeed him, especially if the long awaited Sevilla derby this week goes pear-shaped. My prediction: sooner or later we´ll be hearing Marcelino´s name called out for the next job opening in this coaching carousel that is La Liga because his time in Seville is nearly over.

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