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 By Tom Marshall

Ferretti leads the list of Liga MX managers to build a club from scratch

Ricardo Ferretti has been in the game for a long time but still knows how to get the job done.

Here is a theoretical scenario: Let's say you are the president of "Hidalgo United FC," a recent addition to Liga MX. The new season is not far away, but you've suddenly and unfortunately found yourself without a manager. 

The club needs stability initially but ambitious owners want titles in the longer term and would like to consolidate as one of Liga MX's best over the next 10 years. Money is there to invest in the squad and the youth system is starting to produce players. 

The new manager must blend those elements, instill a playing philosophy and move the team forward. With that in mind, if you could pick from the current crop of Liga MX managers, who would you select?

Here's a potential top five: 

1. Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti (Tigres)

The 63-year-old Brazilian may be old school when it comes to his preparation. He might flip moods quickly. He may be criticized for being cautious in setting up his teams. But when it comes to the closest thing to a sure-fire success over the long term in Liga MX, nobody comes close to a man, who boasts over 1,000 games managed in Mexico's top division and five league titles. 

On top of that, Ferretti provides better off-field entertainment than the vast majority of managers anywhere in the world.

Classic quote, on playing style: "A show? I've said hundreds of times: If you want to see a good show, Juan Gabriel (since deceased) is excellent ... Why? Because everything is there to put on a show. They use lights, fans, orchestra, mariachis..."

2. Antonio Mohamed (Monterrey)

It may have taken Mohamed time to get into the swing of things as a manager but, in Mexico, the job he did leading Club Tijuana to the 2012 Apertura title and then the quarterfinals of the 2013 Copa Libertadores was phenomenal.

After leaving Tijuana, Mohamed headed for Club America after a brief stint with Huracan and won the team's 12th title -- the 2014 Apertura -- despite a nasty atmosphere enveloping the club and some fans who were not immediately convinced by his more pragmatic style than previous manager Miguel Herrera.

From there, he went to Monterrey where, after shaping the team to his liking, he has the club flying high at the top of the table. 

Classic quote, on winning the Apertura : "I'll leave (Club America) the cup, but I'm taking my dignity."

3. Matias Almeyda (Chivas)

The former Argentina international has earned the trust of his owner and turned the club's fortunes around in some style. Almeyda implemented a relentless work ethic and converted a team fighting relegation into 2017 Clausura title winners. 

The 43-year-old's haul of one Liga MX title, two Copa MX's and a Supercopa MX is remarkable in only two years in charge. Sure, Almeyda has had funds to buy important players, but he has also shown character and charisma and mixed that with an astute vision in terms of the playing side of things. 

Classic quote, upon arriving at Chivas in September 2015: "Chivas should look forward and not back. What's happened has happened. I'm not coming to save them for relegation. I've come to revive the giant." 

4. Miguel Herrera (Club America)

Miguel Herrera is known as one of the biggest characters in Mexican football.
A loose cannon on the sidelines, Miguel Herrera has shown his coaching acumen the last few seasons in Liga MX.

El Piojo may have a checkered record off the field that features high-profile losses of control but the 49-year-old knows how to put together a team. In 2012, Herrera revived Club America in a similar way to Almeyda at Chivas and won the 2013 Clausura final against Cruz Azul in a manner that will go down in the history of the Mexican game.

A real players' manager, Herrera steered Xolos to regular season first-place finishes in the 2016 Apertura and 2017 Clausura, showing much more tactical variable than he is traditionally given credit for. Now back at Club America, Herrera has his eyes on a return to the national team, or a move to Europe.

Classic quote, before the 2014 World Cup on his rivalry with Tomas Boy: "Let's cut to the chase because we both have very little time and have to focus on what we have to do: I have a World Cup coming up and he has to save Atlas from relegation."

5. Diego Alonso (Pachuca)

The 42-year-old Uruguayan is coming up on three years in charge of Pachuca. A league title and CONCACAF Champions League is a good return, but it's his tendency towards younger players and the team's dynamic style that is perhaps more impressive. 

Alonso doesn't seek the spotlight like other managers, although people within the club testify that the former Atletico Madrid forward knows the names and traits of players some way before his first team. He helped develop Hirving Lozano, Erick Gutierrez and Rodolfo Pizarro and has the temperament to make it in Europe. 

Classic quote, on managing abroad: "My future is the next league game. That is my future .. Obviously coaching in Europe is an objective, not just a dream, but I'm not in a rush. When I'm ready and (the possibility) comes up, we'll go there."

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.


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