Former Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella has died at the age of 66.
He had been placed in intensive care just a day after the footballing world mourned the death of Argentine legend Diego Maradona.
Buenos Aires-born Sabella led Argentina between 2011 and 2014. He guided them to the World Cup final in 2014 before resigning after the tournament and didn't manage again.
#Video Un año muy difícil para el #fútbolargentino y para la #SelecciónArgentina: a los 66 años falleció el último técnico en llevar al equipo nacional a la final de la Copa del Mundo, Alejandro Sabella.https://t.co/osHV55wLot
- ESPN Argentina (@ESPNArgentina) December 8, 2020
As a player, Sabella was a midfielder. He started out in his homeland at River Plate in 1974 before stints in England with Sheffield United and Leeds. He later played back in Argentina for Estudiantes and Ferro Carril Oeste before winding down his playing career in Mexico with Irapuato in 1989. He won eight caps for Argentina.
A keen tactician, Sabella went into management with Estudiantes in 2009, taking charge of his country two years later.
He made Lionel Messi captain and lost just five of his 40 games in charge.
Sabella guided his side to the brink of glory on the home soil of their fiercest rivals, Brazil.
Having come through the group stage with a 100 per cent record, Argentina beat both Switzer-land and Belgium 1-0 in their respective second-round and quarter-final ties.
After a goalless last-four clash with the Netherlands, Argentina required penalties to squeeze through to the final at the Maracana.
In the final, Argentina lost to Germany in Rio de Janeiro after an extra-time goal from Mario Gotze.
Alejandro Sabella took over an Argentina team that looked like a circus. Yet he was able to turn it around and brought them to a World Cup final all while dominating the qualifiers. Took a bunch of individuals and made them a team. Brought class back. RIP and thank you. pic.twitter.com/cs1l1WIUGi
- Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) December 8, 2020
Sabella said afterwards: "The players were warriors. They left their skin on the pitch. They did everything.
"The team have played an extraordinary World Cup. The players can look at each other and say they gave everything."
During the tournament, Sabella had hinted he may leave his post at the end of the competition, whatever the outcome.
He said: "You have to fill the energy tank which sometimes gets empty. I have to think if I'm in condition to give 100 per cent".
Featured Image Credit: PA
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