Hugo Sánchez

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Hugo Sánchez
Sánchez in 2008
Personal information
Full name Hugo Sánchez Márquez
Date of birth (1958-07-11) 11 July 1958 (age 60)[1]
Place of birth Mexico City, Mexico[1]
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Forward[1]
Youth career
1972–1975 UNAM
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1976–1981 UNAM 188 (97)
1979–1980 San Diego Sockers (loan) 32 (26)
1981–1985 Atlético Madrid 111 (54)
1985–1992 Real Madrid 207 (164)
1992–1993 América 29 (11)
1993–1994 Rayo Vallecano 29 (16)
1994–1995 Atlante 31 (13)
1995–1996 Linz 20 (6)
1996 Dallas Burn 20 (6)
1997 Celaya 12 (2)
Total 684 (400)
National team
1977–1994 Mexico 58[2] (29)
Teams managed
2000 Mexico*
2000–2005 UNAM
2006 Necaxa
2006–2008 Mexico
2009–2010 Almería
2012 Pachuca

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Hugo Sánchez Márquez (born 11 July 1958) is a retired Mexican professional footballer and current manager. A prolific goalscorer known for his spectacular strikes and volleys, Sánchez is widely regarded as Mexico's greatest-ever footballer, and one of the greatest of his generation.[3] In 1999, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics voted Sánchez the 26th best footballer of the 20th century, and the best footballer from the CONCACAF region.[4] In 2004 Sánchez was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[5] He is the fourth highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division.[6]

He began his career playing for Pumas de la UNAM in 1976, and briefly on loan to the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League in 1979. He returned to UNAM in 1980. Sánchez then moved to Spain to play for Atlético Madrid in 1981, playing for the Colchoneros for four years before moving to cross-town rivals Real Madrid, where he would experience the best years of his career, winning numerous titles and accolades.

From 1977 to 1994, Sánchez was a member of the Mexico national team, gaining 58 caps and scoring 29 goals. He participated in three FIFA World Cup tournaments and was a part of the Mexico team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup.

As a manager, he won two-consecutive league championships with UNAM. After managing Necaxa, he was announced as coach of the Mexico national football team in 2006, but was fired in March 2008 due to poor results.[7] In 2009, Sánchez was named manager of UD Almería in an attempt to save the team from relegation.[8] Almería was not subject to relegation for the 2009–2010 season.

Club career


Sánchez in 1978

As a teenager, Sánchez played for the Mexico national team at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Having already played in over 80 international matches, Sánchez signed as a youth player at the age of 18 for Pumas de la UNAM, a professional team representing Mexico's national university, where he completed a degree in Dentistry while playing for the first team.[9] That year, UNAM managed to get its first championship in the Primera División. Two years later, he became the league's top-scorer with 26 goals.

In 1979, UNAM agreed to exchange players during the off-seasons with the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League. He played in the NASL during the summer and in the Mexican league during the fall, winter and spring. UNAM loaned Sánchez to the Sockers in 1979 and 1980 where he became a dominant striker for the Sockers, averaging nearly a goal a game.[10]

Sánchez's five seasons with UNAM were during the team's golden years. In 1980–81, his last season with the club, Sánchez and UNAM won its fifth league championship, a CONCACAF Champions Cup and a Copa Interamericana. During his five years with UNAM, Sánchez scored 104 goals in 200 appearances.

Atlético Madrid

After five successful seasons in Mexico, Sánchez drew the attention of several European sides, including that of English club Arsenal,[9] though eventually signing with Spanish side Atlético Madrid in 1981. It took him a while to find his feet in La Liga, only managing twenty league appearances and scoring eight goals in his first season, 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 league and won the Spanish Super Copa. That year, Sánchez won his first Pichichi trophy for being the most prolific scorer in the league, scoring 19 goals.

Real Madrid

In 1985 Sánchez signed for Real Madrid, playing alongside a famous group of players known as La Quinta del Buitre ("Vulture's Cohort"), which consisted of Emilio Butragueño, Manuel Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel, and Miguel Pardeza. This team won five consecutive league titles – from 1985–86 to 1989–90 – a Copa del Rey title in 1989, and the UEFA Cup in 1986. During those five years, Sánchez won four-consecutive Pichichi trophies, becoming the only player in Spanish football history to achieve this without sharing the trophy with any other player in any season, and one of three players to win five Pichichis (the others being Alfredo Di Stéfano and Quini), scoring 208 goals in 283 games in all competitions. 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. Remarkably, all 38 of these goals were scored with only a single touch. Overall, he scored 47 goals in 45 European Cup games, though he failed to win the trophy.

Later career

In 1992, Sánchez returned to his native Mexico for a season and there he won 1992 CONCACAF Champions' Cup with Club América 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, becoming one of two footballers, along with Roy Wegerle, to play outdoor football in both the NASL and MLS. He finished his career playing for Atlético Celaya with Butragueño and Míchel, his old colleagues from Real Madrid.


Sánchez retired from Spanish football on 29 May 1997, playing with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. His last official game was in the 1998 World Cup preliminaries, where he touched the ball as a symbol of his retirement.

International career

In comparison to his "domestic" club success, Sánchez did not have a successful international career with the Mexico national team. He played 58 matches and scored 29 goals for the Mexico national team, but his years as a Mexico international coincided with a difficult period of the nation's football. At the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, the 20-year-old Mexican star played in every minute of all 3 of Mexico's matches they played; unfortunately they were trounced by their opponents; the team allowed 12 goals and scored 2, including a 6-0 loss to West Germany. Mexico did not qualify for the 1982 World Cup in Spain (where Sanchez was playing club football); but after Colombia gave up hosting rights, Mexico automatically qualified for the 1986 World Cup on home soil. Sánchez scored the only goal in eight appearances in the three World Cups in which he competed, this goal being the second goal in Mexico's victory against Belgium. He also failed to score a penalty kick against Paraguay in the same tournament. Mexico was banned by FIFA from playing in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, due to an embarrassing scandal involving forged birth certificates used to have older players in U-20 tournaments. Mexico did, however, qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States, but Sánchez' brash personality is often cited as the reason he did not play many games at USA '94; purportedly as a result of internecine frictions between the 36-year-old Sánchez and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).[citation needed] Had Mexico qualified for the 1982 and 1990 World Cups, in which Sánchez would have most likely been part of the Mexico squad, he would have been one of 3 players to have participated in 5 World Cups, including German Lothar Matthaus.

International goals


Sánchez was known for his acrobatic and flamboyant goals. His mastery of the "Chilena", or "Bicycle kick", was a result of his own early training in gymnastics.[3][11] His trademark was to perform a celebratory somersault after each goal he scored, honoring his sister, who was a gymnast and participated in the Montreal Olympics.[12]

According to his FIFA profile, Sánchez is credited as the creator of the scorpion kick, which was later popularised by Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita.[13]

Sánchez holds the record for most penalties scored in La Liga with 56.[14]

Career statistics


Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Mexico UNAM 1976–77 27 7 - - - - 27 7
1977–78 30 11 - - - - 30 11
1978–79 45 28 - - 2 0 47 28
1979–80 44 30 - - 3 2 47 33
1980–81 42 21 - - 7 5 49 26
Total 188 97 - - 12 7 200 104
United States San Diego Sockers (loan) 1979 17 12 - - - - 17 12
1980 15 14 - - - - 15 14
Total 32 26 - - - - 32 26
Spain Atlético Madrid 1981–82 20 8 5 4 2 0 27 12
1982–83 31 15 4 3 - - 39 22
1983–84 27 12 2 0 2 0 39 19
1984–85 33 19 8 6 2 1 47 29
Total 111 54 19 13 6 1 152 82
Spain Real Madrid 1985–86 33 22 5 2 11 5 49 29
1986–87 41 34 6 6 7 3 54 43
1987–88 36 29 7 3 7 3 50 35
1988–89 35 27 6 4 7 5 50 37
1989–90 35 38 6 3 3 1 45 42
1990–91 19 12 1 1 3 5 25 19
1991–92 8 2 1 0 1 1 10 3
Total 207 164 32 19 39 23 283 208
Mexico América 1992–93 29 11 - - 6 7 35 18
Total 29 11 - - 6 7 35 18

Rayo Vallecano

1993–94 29 16 6 1 - - 35 17
Total 29 16 6 1 - - 35 17
Mexico Atlante 1994–95 31 13 - - - - 31 13
Total 31 13 - - - - 31 13
Austria Linz 1995–96 20 6 - - - - 20 6
Total 20 6 - - - - 20 6
United States Dallas Burn 1996 25 11 - - - - 25 11
Total 25 11 - - - - 25 11
Mexico Celaya 1996–97 12 2 - - - - 12 2
Total 12 2 - - - - 12 2
Grand Total Total 684 400 78 49 63 38 823 487

[15] [16]


Mexico national team
Year Apps Goals
1977 6 4
1978 8 4
1979 4 4
1980 10 7
1981 6 5
1982 0 0
1983 0 0
1984 0 0
1985 2 1
1986 4 1
1987 0 0
1988 0 0
1989 0 0
1990 1 0
1991 0 0
1992 0 0
1993 14 3
1994 2 0
1995 0 0
1996 0 0
1997 0 0
1998 1 0
Total 58 29


Last updated 25 May 2011

Nat From To Record
G Pld W L D Win % GF GA +/-
UNAM1, 2 Mexico 2000 2005 202 89 63 50 44.06% 328 295 +33
Club Necaxa Mexico 2006 2006 7 2 4 1 28.57% 8 11 -3
Mexico3 Mexico 2006 2008 26 13 9 4 50% 45 32 +13
Almería Spain 2009 2009 17 6 4 7 35.29% 5 6 -1
Career 252 110 80 62 43.65% 386 344 +42

1Includes results from 2003 Copa Libertadores< 2Includes results from CONCACAF Champions' Cup 2005
3Includes results from 2000 U.S. Cup

Managerial career


In 2000, UNAM was having a terrible league campaign. A new manager was needed, someone who could take the lead of one of the most important clubs in Mexico. The designated manager was Hugo Sánchez, idol and figure for UNAM's followers. So, in March, he signed for a 2 years contract with his most "beloved team". Although the very good campaign made by the team for that tournament, many differences became evident with the president of the club Javier Jiménez Espriú, which resulted in his distitution in August of the same year. "I'll be back when Jimenez Espriu is out. I know I'm right and I know I'll be back", were his words as he left the team.

One year passed and Jimenez Espriu resigned as the club's president. The new president, Luis Regueiro, knew exactly who was going to be the next coach for the team, so in November 2001, Sánchez was again signed as head coach of all UNAM's teams and given all the confidence of the new broad.

His labor was long and well planned, as for two years he forged a very competitive team. In 2003, the results were evident, and the Pumas were one of the best teams in the league, but the championship was still missing. Falling twice in semifinals all was set to the New Age Golden Year, 2004.

Sánchez' Pumas won everything they played in 2004: Clausura 2004, Apertura 2004, Champion of Champions 2004 and Santiago Bernabéu's Cup. Also he is the only manager in the history to lead a Mexico team to two consecutive championships in the Mexican Primera División in the new "short tournament" format (South American format).

However, by the end of 2004 things weren't as good as it might seem. The Clausura 2004 tournament was won taking advantage of the competition format, as they only made the minimum points during the league to qualify to the playoffs. For the next tournament Pumas was the worst team of the tournament and in Winter 2005 Pumas was having the worst year of its history. The club needed a change and Sánchez decided to resign in November 2005.

There are many speculations about why he resigned. The best known was that the future didn't seem too optimistic. He stated "If you think I'm the problem, I leave now that there is time, before the team is in danger of descending".

After this turns of events, Sánchez took some vacations and went to Spain to offer his services. Getafe almost signed him but economic differences got in the way. In 2006, Club Necaxa, another Mexico team, signed him as a head coach, but this was very quickly finished as he was called as Mexico national team coach.

He was the coach of La Liga's UD Almería, but after accomplishing the goal of avoiding relegation from La Liga, and despite on 2 June 2009 the Almeria chairman Alfonso García announcing the renewal of his contract,[17] he was released on 20 December 2009.


After briefly managing Club Necaxa, Sánchez was named head coach of the Mexico national team, with the commitment 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. He has a long-standing feud between with former Mexico national Coach, Ricardo La Volpe.

Sánchez's first match as Mexico coach was a 2-0 loss to the United States in Phoenix, Arizona before Mexican fans in February, 2007. Sánchez recorded his first coaching victory 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, which Mexico won 2-1. A few days later on March 28, 2007, Mexico defeated Ecuador 4-2 in Oakland, California at McAfee Coliseum.

In June, 2007 Sánchez coached Mexico in the 2007 edition of the Gold Cup, his first official competition. After struggling in the first stages of the tournament, México reached the final June 24, 2007 and lost it against the US (2-1).

On 27 June 2007, in the opening game of the 2007 Copa América held in Venezuela, Sánchez led the Mexico national team to a stunning 2-0 win over 5-time world champions Brazil, Hugo's first major victory as a coach. After glancing through the group stage of the tournament, Hugo led the team to the semi-finals (beating Paraguay 6-0 in the quarter-finals) where they were beaten 3-0 by Argentina. Mexico ended the tournament in 3rd place by defeating Uruguay 3-1.

In August 2007, Sánchez announced that Mexico would permanently, or at least in his time coaching the team, drop their famous green home kit, replacing it with their white away kit, meaning that their new away kit would be red. For this decision, Sánchez was subject of a lot of criticism. The two main arguments against him were that the decision was breaking a long-standing Mexican tradition, yet the strongest critics suggested that he should devote more time to the strategy and training of the Mexico team rather than entertaining himself with superfluous features of the sport.

In March 2008, Sánchez had some very upsetting results, including draws with Australia and Finland,[citation needed] and a loss at home in Querétaro against Ecuador's U-23 team. Disappointing results continued in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualification, a tie with Canada and a loss with Guatemala. His only victory was against Haiti with a 5-1 score. Nevertheless, the goal difference eliminated Mexico from the Pre-Olympic qualifying tournament. This was a tremendous disappointment in Mexico, particularly to the owners of the Mexico soccer clubs. They had supported players by providing financial resources and separation from their teams during the time that remained of the Mexico season.

Many analysts claim that Sánchez's first year as the national coach has resulted in a Mexico team with poor soccer variants, no collective game, tactical stiffness and a general lack of strategy. A significant proportion of the Mexican press agree that this situation has reached a point of no return with the U-23 elimination from the Pre-Olympic tournament. Sanchez also made the decision to change the jersey color of the Mexico national team from green to white, in reference to his concern how the color green would blend with the tuff. On 31 March, Hugo Sánchez was fired from the Mexico team via a 16-2 vote from the main leaders of the sixteen Primera División Club Owners.



Atlético Madrid
Real Madrid




  • La Liga Best Replacement Manager: 2008–2009



Personal life

Hugo Sánchez is the son of Héctor Sánchez, who was also a footballer who played for Asturias and Atlante. Sánchez is currently married to Isabel (née Martín), and has two children, a son and an older daughter from his previous marriage. His son, Hugo Sánchez Portugal, was also a footballer and played for UNAM and Atlante. On November 8, 2014, Sánchez Portugal died from the effects of a gas leak in a Mexico City apartment as stated by the Mexican Red Cross.[19]

Sánchez was appointed as the official FIFA/SOS Ambassador for Mexico, joining Wayne Rooney (Ambassador for England), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands), and fifty others in fund raising for the official 2006 FIFA World Cup Charity.[20]

On September 1, 2007, Hugo Sánchez inaugurated a street with his name in Puebla, central Mexico, before a thousand of the locals around there.[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Hugo Sánchez".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "FIFA Classic Player: Mexico's all-time number one". FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Stokkermans, Karel. "IFFHS' Century Elections". RSSSF. Retrieved 2006-12-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Ronaldo surpasses Hugo Sánchez". Marca. Retrieved 29 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Hugo Sanchez fired as coach of Mexico". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 31 March 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Simolo, Gemma (7 December 2013). "Hugo Sánchez – 'Niño de Oro'". Inside Spanish Football. Retrieved 7 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "AGAINST THE TIDE: THE STORY OF HUGO SANCHEZ AND SOCCER IN SAN DIEGO". 18 December 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Simpson, Paul. "Who the hell is Hugo Sanchez?". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Andaló, Paula. "Hugo Sánchez, con alas en los pies" (in Spanish). Univision. Retrieved 4 July 2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "FIFA Classic Player: Mexico's all-time number one". FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). Hugo Sanchez is credited as the creator of the scorpion kick, later popularised by Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita. Though he regularly practised the trick in training, the Mexican striker never scored a goal with it in an official match.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Witker, Jorge Ernesto (1 January 2016). "Cristiano Ronaldo marca menos de penalti que Hugo Sánchez" (in Spanish). AS. Retrieved 12 January 2016. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Hugo Sanchez To Stay On As Almeria Coach - Reports
  18. "Legends". Golden Foot. Retrieved 23 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Hugo Sánchez to attend 6 villages for 2006 opening in Morelia". SOS Children's Villages. Retrieved 2008-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Inaugurada en México la calle Hugo Sánchez". El País. Retrieved 2007-09-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links