066. Osvaldo Ardiles
Talented Argentinian midfielder Osvaldo Ardiles was one of the first foreign players to make a successful impact in the English club game. He enjoyed great success and popularity at club level as well as internationally, enjoying almost cult status in England in the early 1980s, and went on to have a long managerial career taking in several different countries.
Beginning his career as a teenager at home town club Instituto Córdoba, he moved briefly to local rivals Belgrano in 1973 before a move to Huracán in 1975 really saw his career take off. Ardiles made more than 100 league appearances in three years at Huracán and in 1975 made his international debut against Bolivia, also appearing in that year’s Copa America. It was the 1978 World Cup in Argentina that really made Ardiles an international star, he played in six games as Argentina took the title for the first time and was rewarded with a surprise move to England to play for Tottenham Hotspur.
In both 1981 and 1982 he helped Tottenham to win the English F.A. Cup, but after the start of the Falklands War he left England for a year to play for Paris Saint Germain on loan. Returning to England in 1983, he won the U.E.F.A. Cup with Tottenham in 1984 but his final years at the club were blighted by injury. Leaving Tottenham in 1988, Ardiles played briefly for Queen’s Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers before moving to the U.S.A. and winning an American Soccer League title with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. In 1989 he returned to England to embark on his coaching career as player-manager of Swindon Town.
Ardiles took Swindon to promotion in 1990 but after that promotion was taken away for financial irregularities his managerial career in England stalled. After short spells at Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and also Tottenham, he left England in 1994 and following a brief stay in Mexico he achieved his greatest coaching success in Japan. Japanese Manager of the Year in 1998 with Shimizu S-Pulse, he also won the first stage of the J-League in 2000 with Yokohama Marinos. Following jobs in Saudi Arabia and back in Argentina with Racing Club, he returned to Japan and spent two years with Tokyo Verdy, winning the Emperor’s Cup in 2004, before moving to Israel to briefly manage Beitar Jerusalem. Having briefly returned to his old club Huracán in 2007, his most recent job was with Paraguayan side Cerro Porteño.