Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti just won his 7th Liga MX title as coach (in his 12th final), tying the legendary Ignacio Trelles for most ever.
The Tigres defeated Leon in a gritty Liga MX Final to secure their 7th title in club history. Though the 1-0 aggregate scoreline was unspectacular, it’s clear that Ricardo Ferretti’s experience and tactical know-how was instrumental in stifling No. 1 seed Leon for 180 minutes.
The last five of the Tigres’ Liga MX trophies have come with “Tuca” as coach and the 65-year-old manager has taken teams to five other finals, coming up short in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014 and 2017.
Ferretti’s road to success with the Tigres was rocky at first. He took over initially shortly after winning his first title, coaching the Chivas to a championship in May 1997. But he was fired twice. His first tenure (2000-2003) included a Finals loss to Pachuca, after which he coached Toluca then Morelia. Ferretti returned to the Tigres in 2006, but lasted just a single season.
After that, Tuca took over the reins at UNAM – returning to the club where he won a title as a player – and coached the Pumas for nearly five years, winning his second title as coach in May 2009. Ever the prodigal son, Tuca left UNAM in the summer of 2010 and returned to Nuevo Leon to take another shot with the Tigres.
The third try has certainly been a charm as Ferretti has led the Tigres to five titles in his nine seasons back in charge. Tuca’s recent success can seem sudden, but his longevity and his trademark style (disciplined teams that are tactically efficient) has had him challenging for titles for nearly four decades.
Coaching in the league finals 12 times is nothing to sneeze at, though his failures have been bitter. In Winter 1998, his Chivas came up short in the Final against an aging Necaxa side, and his Tigres were heavily favored to defeat Pachuca in the Winter 2001 Final. Atlante was a surprise champion in Apertura 2007 as the Potros stunned Tuca’s Pumas in the Final.
Twice during his recent tenure as Tigres manager, Ferretti has tasted defeat in a Final. After the Apertura 2014 season, his club lost to America and then after the Clausura 2017 the Chivas hoisted the trophy as the Tigres watched.
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Surprisingly, Tuca has been reluctant to coach the national team. He has managed El Tri on two separate occasions but exclusively in an interim role. The first time, he led Team Mexico to a spectacular 3-2 victory over Team USA in the 2015 Concacaf regional playoff, a win that sent El Tri to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. His last interim term came last year and some pundits said his dual responsibilities contributed to a poor Tigres season in the Apertura 2018 (the club finished in 6th place and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round).
Tuca has announced that he will retire when his contract with the Tigres expires in 2021. Even if you don’t like his conservative brand of soccer, Ricardo Ferretti simply knows how to win.