Ramón

Ángel Díaz

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“Ever since he was a kid, his wish was to become a football player. Although his father knew it was not going to be easy, he never gave up on his dream“

Ramón Ángel Díaz, Argentine, was born in the province of La Rioja (West of Argentina) on August 29th, 1959. Son of Nélida Molina and Ramón Bartolo Díaz, Ramón was given the middle name of “Ángel” after Ángel Labruna, one of the most important players in River Plate’s history.

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-Ramón Angel Díaz

His childhood and beginnings in football

Ramón Ángel Díaz, Argentine, was born in the province of La Rioja (West of Argentina) on August 29th, 1959. Son of Nélida Molina and Ramón Bartolo Díaz, Ramón was given the middle name of “Ángel” after Ángel Labruna, one of the most important players in River Plate’s history.

When Ramón was only one year old, his father decided to move to Grand Bourg (province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) because he could not find enough jobs as tiler. And off they went to the Big City…

Ever since he was a kid, his wish was to become a football player. Although his father knew it was not going to be easy, he never gave up on his dream. His parents used to set up games in his neighborhood against schools and other teams, and he ended up playing against one of River Plate’s children football teams (12 year-old kids) and beating them 7-0, with Ramón scoring 5 goals.

Miguel Santillán took him to River for a trial. He clearly showed his talent and his scoring power there, and completed all the youth divisions.

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-Ramón Angel Díaz

“We would like to play with this River against the other one, they would not beat us so easily.”

-Ramón Angel Díaz

After Argentina won the 1978 World Cup (there were 4 River Plate’s players in that winning team), some players from River went on tour around Europe while the Argentine tournament was being played. Therefore, River had to use an alternative team for six matches, with Pacha Yácono as head coach. Ramón Díaz played those six games wearing the No. 10 shirt, sharing the attack with Héctor Ramón Sosa.

His official debut in River Plate’s first team was on August 13th, 1978, against Colón de Santa Fe (River 1 – Colón 0). Only 17 days later, he scored for the first time – a left-footed shot from outside the box, drawing the game against Quilmes 1-1 (August 30th, 1978).

Ramón was starting to make the news… and showing his witty statements: “We would like to play with this River against the other one, they would not beat us so easily.”

His immense talent made it almost mandatory for César Luis Menotti to call him to the Youth National Team for the 1979 World Cup. Ramón played as 9, since Diego Maradona already was the number 10. Ramón ended as the Cup’s top scorer, receiving the Bronze Ball as the third most outstanding player.

Ramón Díaz played for River Plate until 1982, winning 4 titles: the 1979 and 1980 Metropolitan Tournament and the 1979 and 1981 National Tournament.

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His career continued in Italy – he played for Napoli (1982-1983), Avellino (1983-1986), Fiorentina (1986-1988) and Internazionale Milano (1988-1989), where he won a league title.

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Then he was transferred to Monaco and played there for two seasons (1989-1991), and in 1991 he returned to River and stayed for two years.

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. In 1993 he went to Japan and played for Yokohama Marinos. He was the 1993 Japanese National Football League top scorer, scoring 52 goals in 62 games. Ramón was the leading figure of the Japanese team, which reached the first positions of a very competitive championship for the first time. He retired there.

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-Yokohama Marinos in 1993

Ramón Díaz – The Coach

After retiring from the field, he decided he wanted to pass along his vast knowledge of the game and decided to become a coach. His first experience as head coach was in the team that prepared him as a player and where he made his first steps: River Plate.

On July 26th, 1995, Ramón made his debut as River Plate’s head coach, starting his amazing coaching career with a 1-1 tie against Vélez, coached by Carlos Bianchi. Only one year later, River won his second Libertadores Cup and the 1996 Apertura Tournament. It took Ramón only a very short time to leave his mark…

But there was more. In 1997, Ramón’s River Plate won the two national tournaments and the Supercopa, with Enzo Francescoli as one of the stars in the field.

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-Ramón Díaz as River’s coach

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-Ramón Angel Díaz

In 1999 he won the Apertura Tournament as well, creating one the best attacking tridents of all times in Argentine football: Pablo Aimar, Javier Saviola and Juan Pablo Ángel.

Ramón Díaz’s first, successful cycle ended in February 2000 – he decided to resign after the club’s officials failed to comply with some obligations.

However, one year later he came back to River Plate to keep on winning titles. Started on July 22nd, 2001, his second cycle was characterized by promoting 27 young players to the first team, who would end up playing for the most important teams in the world. Ramón won the 2002 Clausura Tournament, becoming the most winning coach in River’s history and winning even more titles than Ángel Labruna.

In December 2004 he was hired as head coach by England’s Oxford United, where he fulfilled the team’s main goal: saving them from relegation. Led by Ramón, the team ended only one point away from the promotion positions at the end of the season.

After his time in England, he went back to Argentina, but this time as coach of San Lorenzo. In December 2006, he signed a one-year contract. In 2007, he won the Clausura Tournament, the first competition he entered into as head coach of San Lorenzo.

In July 2008 he was hired by Mexico’s América, where he stayed until February 2009.

His first cycle in San Lorenzo was so positive that he was re-hired on May 28th, 2010. He was their head coach until April 24th, 2011.

His career as coach continued in Argentina, becoming Independiente’s head coach in the second half of 2011. He achieved the long-awaited qualification to the Sudamericana Cup. He resigned on March 3rd, 2012.

He was later hired by River Plate for the third time. River came from a rough time after spending one year in the Second Division (2011/2012 season) and had not won any titles for 6 years.

Facing this difficult situation, Ramón was the one chosen to take River, the team with the highest number of local tournaments in Argentina, back to where it belonged: the first positions. And of course, Ramón did it again: on May 19th, 2014, River became the new champion of Argentina’s First Division (won the Final Tournament), beating Quilmes 5-0 on the last game of the tournament. Only a few days later, River became Argentina’s Super-champion, beating San Lorenzo.

Finally, Ramón Díaz resigned from his job as River Plate’s head coach on May 27th, 2014. Adding up his three cycles in River, Ramón won six local tournaments, two international cups and the Argentine Super-final.

In world football, there are different types of players and coaches − of different ages, styles and personalities. However, very few of them become known for their immense talent. Ramón did.

Ramón Díaz was a very talented forward, one of those elite players that stood out everywhere. He is also one the most recognized coaches in the world and one of the most successful in Argentine football.

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titles won

by Ramón

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