Hugo Sánchez Márquez
(born July 11, 1958) is a Mexican
football coach and former striker, and the current coach of the
Mexico national football team.
One of the world's most prolific scorers of his era, Sánchez played twelve
seasons in the Spanish Primera División, and is the second highest
goalscorer in the history of that league. He also played for the Mexico national
team for 17 years and participated in the World Cups of 1978, 1986, and 1994.
After winning two championships as head coach of the club UNAM Pumas and
briefly with Necaxa, both teams in the Mexican first division, Sánchez was named
head coach of the Mexican national team, aimed to reach the World Cup 2010.
In 1999, he was voted the 26th best footballer of the 20th Century, and the
best footballer from the North America, Central America, and the Caribbean area
by the IFFHS.
Sánchez was born in Mexico City. As a teenager, Sánchez played for the Mexico
national football team in the 1975 Pan-American Games and the next year in the
1976 Summer Olympics. At the age of 18 and having already played over 80
international games, Sánchez signed as a youth player for UNAM Pumas, a
professional team representative of Mexico's National University, where he
completed a degree in Dentistry while keeping up his football career. That year,
UNAM managed to get its first championship in the Mexican Football League, and
just two years later, he became top-scorer in the league, with 20 goals. In
1979, UNAM entered into an agreement with the San Diego Sockers of the North
American Soccer League (NASL) to exchange players during the off seasons. The
NASL played during the summer and the Mexican League played during the fall,
winter and spring. UNAM loaned Sanchez to the Sockers in both 1979 and 1980
where he became a dominant striker for the Sockers, averaging nearly a goal a
||Hugo Sánchez Márquez
|Date of birth
||July 11, 1958
|Place of birth
||Mexico City, Mexico
||Mexico national team
→ San Diego Sockers (loan)
| ? (99)
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of June 9, 2006.
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of June 9, 2006.
* Appearances (Goals)
Sánchez' five seasons with UNAM were the team's golden years. In his last
season with the team, Hugo again became the top-scorer in a tie with his
teammate Cabinho and UNAM won not only its second championship, but also the
CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Career in Spain
After five successful seasons in Mexico, with 99 goals to his name, Sánchez
drew the attention of several Spanish sides, and signed with Atlético Madrid in
1981. Also noteworthy is the fact that he turned down an offer to play for
Arsenal FC, a prominent English soccer team that had offered him a position.
Sánchez cited language and cultural challenges that would come with playing in
England as his reasons for opting for Spain.
To his chagrin, playing in Spain presented the very cultural challenges he
feared with regard to England. He acknowledges that his first seasons in Spain
were difficult, as spectators often taunted him with racial slurs on account of
his Mexican nationality, which entailed his indigenous ancestry.
It took him a while to find his feet in La Liga, but by the 1984-85 season he
was scoring regularly with a team that won the Copa del Rey, finished in second
place in the Spanish League and won the Spanish Super Copa. That year Hugo also
won his first Pichichi trophy for being the most prolific scorer in the league.
At this point, he reached the high-point of his career, signing for Real
Madrid in 1985 and playing with players such as Camacho, Butragueño, Gordillo,
Valdano and Míchel. This team won five consecutive league titles (from 1985-86
to 1989-90), the Copa del Rey in 1989, and the UEFA Cup in 1986. During
those five years, Sánchez garnered four consecutive Pichichi trophies, scoring
207 goals in 283 games. He scored 27 or more goals in four consecutive seasons
between 1986 and 1990, including 38 goals in the 1989-90 season, tying the
single-season record set in 1951 by Telmo Zarra and earning the European Golden
Boot award to the best scorer in Europe. He scored 23 goals in 45 European Cup
After this successful period, Sánchez returned to his native Mexico for a
season, before playing for a variety of clubs in Spain, Austria and the USA (he
played for the Dallas Burn in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer). He
finished his career playing for Atlético Celaya with his old colleagues from
Real Madrid, Butragueño and Míchel.
Despite huge domestic success, Sánchez did not have a similarly successful
international career. He played 60 matches and scored 29 goals for the Mexican
national team, but his years as a Mexican international coincided with a
difficult period for the nation's football. Mexico did not participate in the
World Cups of 1982 and 1990, in which Sánchez would have most likely been part
of the Mexican squad, since he was at the highest peak of his career. He scored
one goal in eight presentations in the three World Cups in which he competed and
was never selected to the "Best XI" World Cup squads. Sánchez' brash personality
is often cited as the reason why he did not play in the 1994 World Cup,
purportedly as a result of internecine frictions between Hugo and the Mexican
Football Federation ("FMF").
Sánchez retired from spanish football on May 29, 1997, playing with Real
Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium - the stadium that witnessed most of his
glory throughout his career - in a match against Paris St. Germain with a result
of 4-1 in favor of the Real Madrid with him scoring a hat trick. The last time
he touched the ball on an official game was on the first game of the 1998 world
cup preliminaries where he just touched the ball as a symbolism of his
His trademark was to perform a celebratory somersault after each goal he
scored, honouring his sister, who was a gymnast and participated in the Montreal
He is also famous for his many acrobatic goals, many of which involved his
trademark windmill kick, a product of his own early training in gymnastics.
To date, he has been the most successful Mexican soccer player to have played in
Europe, in terms of years played, goalscoring, and achievements.
Sánchez has been nicknamed "Niño de Oro" ("golden boy"), "Hugol" and "Pentapichichi"
(for his 5 Pichichi trophies). For many Mexicans, he is a symbol of national
pride on account of his accomplishments. Sánchez' life has also generated plenty
of anecdotes. One such anecdote involves an instance when Sánchez was an infant,
and while being carried by his father, the older Sánchez proclaimed to a friend
that "this boy will go on to become the greatest Mexican football player of all
time." While factually questionable, such stories serve to further the ex-soccer
player's significance as a cultural icon.
Sánchez won two championships as head coach of the club UNAM Pumas, and
briefly managed Necaxa, both teams in the Mexican first division. In 2006,
Sánchez was named head coach of the Mexico national team, and is in charge of
leading Mexico through the qualification process for the 2010 World Cup finals
in South Africa.
During his coaching career especially, Sánchez has been known for his
volatile temperament and willingness to speak candidly, often expressing strong
emotions and opinions, a trait that engenders equally emotional and strong
responses from those he criticizes. A case in point is the long-standing feud
between him and former Mexican National Coach, Ricardo Lavolpe, current coach
for Argentina's Velez Sarsfield. Often, when asked their views toward him,
Mexicans generally assert they are "Hugistas" (supporters of Hugo) or "anti-Hugistas"
Hugo Sanchez recorded his first victory as the Heach Coach of the Mexican
National Team against Venezuela (3-1) in front of 67,000 "Tri" fans in San Diego
at Qualcomm Stadium. Hugo's first game in Mexico took place against Paraguay in
Monterrey, Mexico on March 25,2007. Mexico won 2-1. A few days later on March
28,2007, Mexico defeated Ecuador 4-2 in Oakland, California at McAfee Coliseum.
Sánchez was the only Mexican who appreared in Pelé's 125 Top Living Football
Players List in March 2004. He is also listed as a playable character in
videogame FIFA 2006 in the Classic XI team, alongside legends Franz Beckenbauer,
Eric Cantona, Gheorghe Hagi and Zico.
Hugo has been appointed by FIFA as "World Ambassador" by Unicef.
Sánchez is the son of Héctor Sánchez, who played for Asturias and
Atlante. Hugo Sánchez is married to Isabel Martín and has two daughters, a son
and an older daughter from his previous marriage.
- ^ Stokkermans, Karel. IFFHS' Century Elections. RSSSF.
Retrieved on 2006 December 17.