BUENOS AIRES, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Former Argentina captain Diego Simeone will hang up his boots later this month and step into the job of coach for his team Racing Club.
The midfielder, who played for Argentina a record 106 times, had said he would end his playing career in May but was persuaded to change his plans after Fernando Quiroz quit as Racing coach on Sunday.
'I asked him to take the position because this seems the right time to me. He will play for three more games, then take his bows,' Fernando Marin, president of the Blanquiceleste group that controls Racing Club, told Argentine media on Monday.
The combative 35-year-old, who once described his style as playing with a knife between his teeth, made his Argentina debut in 1988 and appeared in three World Cups, winning his 106th cap against England in 2002.
He won the Copa America with Argentina in 1991 and 1993 and a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Simeone, nicknamed Cholo, is a lifelong Racing fan who joined the club in 2005 with the intention of ending his career there after 14 years in Europe.
'The (coaching) proposal took him by surprise at first but Simeone has always loved Racing and this is an ideal opportunity,' Marin said.
Simeone, who began his career at Velez Sarsfield and went on to play for Pisa, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Inter Milan, will play his final match at home in the derby against Racing's arch-rivals Independiente.
'He'll bow out at our ground, in a classic, in front of a full house fit for a player of his stature. From Monday (Feb) 27 he'll be the coach,' Marin said.
Simeone, who is close to completing his coaching course, will take over from caretaker Alberto Fanesi and his assistants will be his former Argentina team mates Matias Almeyda and Nelson Vivas.
Racing have lost all three games played so far in the Clausura championship that began in late January.
They last won an Argentine championship in 2001 under Reinaldo Merlo, the fans' favourite who turned down Marin's offer of a return.