Former Mexico coach La Volpe quits Velez Sarsfield

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BUENOS AIRES, Nov 14 (Reuters) Former Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe quit as manager of Velez Sarsfield yesterday, two days after a 4-0 defeat by Boca Juniors.

''I resigned because after the game against Boca, a decision had to be made and I took it,'' the gruff former Argentina goalkeeper told reporters.

''Velez is a great institution in every sense, its directors, its players, its squad, its kit man,'' he said. ''I thank the players for their support.'' The resignation completed an unhappy homecoming for La Volpe, who last year resigned after only four months at Boca after they lost the league title to Estudiantes in dramatic circumstances.

On Sunday, La Volpe was jeered and insulted by Boca fans who still have not forgiven him for the team's failure to win what would have been the club's third successive title.

Needing to take one point from their last two games, Boca lost them both before going down to Estudiantes in a playoff.

La Volpe immediately resigned as Boca coach and was then appointed by Velez in a straight swap with Velez's Miguel Angel Russo, who took over at Boca.

La Volpe, reserve goalkeeper in Argentina's 1978 World Cup team, finished his playing career in Mexico, where he stayed on and turned to coaching.

After coaching at several top clubs, he was appointed Mexico coach following the 2002 World Cup and led them to the last 16 in last year's finals in Germany where they lost to Argentina.

During that period, La Volpe repeatedly clashed with the Mexican media and was the victim of bitter attacks from former Mexico striker Hugo Sanchez.

An ever-controversial figure, he was reprimanded for smoking on the touchline during the Confederations Cup in 2005 and cut a distinctive figure with his combination of jacket, jeans and bright ties.

He stoked further criticism by leaving out the gifted but volatile Cuauhtemoc Blanco out of the World Cup squad.

REUTERS AB RK1025

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