September 19, 2015 / 9:58 AM / in 3 years

Soccer-Almeyda takes charge of relegation-haunted Guadalajara

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Argentine Matias Almeyda has taken charge as coach of relegation-haunted Mexican giants Guadalajara and will make his debut at home to Queretaro on Sunday.

“I’ve come here to lift this giant,” the former River Plate, Lazio and Argentina midfielder said at his official presentation on Friday.

Almeyda, who has coaching experience with River and Banfield in his homeland having steered both to promotion to the first division, takes over from former Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre who was sacked on Monday.

The Chivas, who won the last of their 11 league titles in 2006, are one from bottom of the relegation standings based on teams’ average points over three seasons. The bottom team goes down at the end of the season in May 2016.

In the current Apertura championship, Guadalajara are 15th with seven points from eight matches.

“I’m not a magician and I don’t have a victory medicine, otherwise I’d sell it and stay in Argentina,” Almeyda said.

“I like challenges and I feel I have the capacity for this but I don’t want it to be mere words but facts.

“I’m going to leave my last drop of sweat (and) time will tell if the decision (Guadalajara) have taken was good or bad,” the 41-year-old said.

Almeyda knows what it is like to be relegated having been a part of the River side relegated for the first time in 2011 in his final season as a player.

He was immediately handed the reins and led River back to the top flight the following season.

Almeyda left River in 1996 after helping them win the Libertadores Cup to play for Sevilla, Parma, Lazio, with whom he won Serie A in 2000, and Inter Milan in a fine European career before returning to River in 2009.

He played as a holding midfielder for Argentina at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and won an Olympic silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games. (Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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