Football News

Uruguay’s record-breaking manager makes history once more

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:13, 17 October 2019

Longevity is a rare sight in modern football with clubs often cycling through managers to keep up with pressing demands.

On the opposite side of things, some managers also like to move around every few years, keeping things fresh for themselves, never staying at one club for too long. Oscar Tabarez, you could argue, is one of them.

The 72-year-old has managed 12 different sides since starting out as a manager in 1980, but there is one job that appears to be particularly close to his heart.

Tabarez first took charge of the Uruguayan national team in 1988, leading them through the 1989 Copa America and the 1990 World Cup before leaving after 34 games.

He would return 16 years later in 2006, with Uruguay having missed out on the World Cup for the third time in four attempts – failing to win a single game in their 2002 appearance. And that is where he has remained since.

Tabarez’s return to Uruguay has seen the South American nation grow into a footballing powerhouse, finishing as high as fourth in the 2010 World Cup. A last-16 finish followed in 2014 before Uruguay reached the quarter-finals in 2018.

During the tournament in Russia, Tabarez became the first manager to have led the same national team in four different World Cups.

Despite suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a muscle weakness that saw him use crutches at the 2018 World Cup, Tabarez is still going strong for the Uruguayan national team.

After the 2019 Copa America, Uruguay have been playing in friendlies, most recently drawing 1-1 with Peru in Lima. That game saw Tabarez hit a remarkable milestone, taking charge of his 200th game as Uruguay manager – no one has managed more games in charge of a single nation.

And, with the next Copa America taking place just next year, Tabarez won’t be thinking about stopping any time soon.

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