Tributes poured in for Manuel
Preciado on Thursday after the popular Spanish coach died of a
heart attack in Valencia at the age of 54.
Preciado had on Wednesday agreed to take the reins at
relegated Villarreal and was scheduled to attend a news
conference at the Madrigal on Friday.
"He was a man of football who represented the best values of
his profession," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told Marca Radio
from Poland where his team are preparing to start the defence of
their Euro 2012 title.
"It's almost impossible to believe so much could happen
around one person in such a short space of time. He was a
Del Bosque was referring to the personal tragedies that
befell Preciado over the last decade when he lost his wife to
cancer, his son in a road accident and his father.
The charismatic coach, with a bushy moustache and gravelly
voice, always maintained a positive outlook and was
characteristically blunt about the knocks he had suffered.
"Life has hit me hard," he once said in an interview. "I
could have weakened and ended up shooting myself or I could look
to the heavens and carry on. I preferred the second option."
His former club Sporting Gijon broke the news of his death
in a statement.
"Sporting convey their great sadness for the loss of someone
who wrote their name in our history in golden letters and send
their condolences to his family in these painful moments," the
relegated club said.
Preciado coached Sporting between 2006 and January this
year, when he was sacked after a poor run of results.
He was Sporting's second longest-serving coach after having
also worked with Racing Santander, Levante and Real Murcia among
Villarreal, who were hoping Preciado would lead them back in
to La Liga next season after he successfully guided Levante and
Sporting into the top division, said: "Villarreal wish to show
their deep sorrow for the sad loss".
Preciado famously had a war of words with Real Madrid coach
Jose Mourinho two years ago after the Portuguese suggested his
Sporting side fielded a weakened team in a match against
Later that season Sporting were shock 1-0 winners at the
Bernabeu where the two coaches made up.
Mourinho ended up inviting Preciado to visit Real's training
facility earlier this year.
"Manolo was always a worthy opponent," Mourinho said in a
statement. "He had everything I like in people and sportsmen;
character, transparency and the ability to fight against
setbacks that were particularly cruel in his case.
"A great football figure leaves us and above all a very
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