Controversial Atlante boss Ricardo La Volpe wasted no time in giving local press fodder in only his first week training the Argentine side.
La Volpe referred to Pep Guardiola as a person with whom his influence can be seen to this day, with the Spaniard reportedly taking note of Mexico’s style explicitly during the 2005 Confederations Cup, where El Tri excelled against world powers.
“I think that Pep saw something in my team and what it did in the Confederations Cup, where Mexico came out to play against Brazil and Argentina, and that was a philosophy that he later made better or enriched with details that now I have to learn,” La Volpe said.
“Being a football manager is like any other profession, like a doctor or a lawyer, you have to keep learning and updating your standards to modern practices.”
La Volpe managed Mexico from 2003 to 2006, winning the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup that led the country to the Confederations Cup two years later.
Later, La Volpe guided the team to the World Cup in Germany, getting rave reviews in the process from many outside observers, including Guardiola.
In his 2006 World Cup blog for Spanish newspaper El Pais, Guardiola praised La Volpe’s style of play, which obliges defenders to start the team’s attack and come out with the ball at their feet.
“I was told in my time in Mexico that La Volpe makes defenders train for 30 minutes specifically for this purpose, to come out playing with the ball at their feet, over and over again,” Guardiola wrote.
“If they fail, he makes them stop and start over. He yells, corrects and restarts. Again and again, hundreds of times until his defenders understand themselves as if they were lovers.”
Guardiola played in Mexico for Dorados de Sinaloa in 2006 before retiring. He also went to managing school in the country, before returning to Spain to start his post-playing career.