When Ricardo Ferretti (nicknamed Tuca) was introduced this week as interim coach of the Mexican national team, he put on a display of a mild mannered man. This was not, by any means, the same man that many were accustomed to seeing, the one that berated journalists both on and off the pitch. The man that was being presented to lead El Tri was a man that seemed very reflective and grateful.
He came out to thank his adopted nation that opened its arms to him at the age of 23 when he arrived at Atlas. Although he quickly became a productive player on that 1977 side, it was not enough to prevent them from going down to the second division. It might have seemed like the end for this young midfielder, but it was a new beginning. He would then see success when he headed to Pumas and then would team up with Hugo Sánchez to win the league title in 1981. He also would repeat the feat a decade later.
It was confusing to see Tuca acting so low-key during the press conference. Could it be part of the job conditions that were placed on him to keep it toned down because of his extra-coaching responsibilities? Just a few short days before that, he was attacking the Mexican press during another butting of heads.
This was not distant from the Ricardo Ferretti who was one of Miguel Mejía Barón’s most trusted lieutenants while the latter was coach of the Mexican national team. One thing that Ferretti had over the Club América coach was that he could say he was undefeated as national team boss. Ferretti was given the chance to coach a match as El Tri began their road to the World Cup in the US back in 1993. On that occasion, his squad of alternate players was able to beat a Costa Rica side 2-0 at the Estadio Azul in an encounter that was rather forgettable for collective fans of their beloved Tri.
Approximately two years after his playing career came to an end, the Brazilian-born Ferretti was more Dunga than Sócrates. He was more demolition man than Picasso as a player; yet he was a cult figure of sorts when he made his move to Mexico.
A few years ago, Tuca was asked about the chance of becoming coach of the national team. “If there is a job that I am not interested in, it’s the Mexican national team. If you offer me a job as a street sweeper, I might consider it.”