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Hector Cuper Biography

Sat 31 July 2021 | 19:29

He was considered one of the best football coaches in the early 2000s and many big clubs were interested in signing him. In this article, we will take a look at Hector Cuper biography.

Hector Cuper, born 16 November 1955 in Chabás, near Santa Fe, is an Argentine former footballer and current coach. He was a defender before retiring from playing football in 1992. He played for Buenos Aires-based clubs Ferro Carril (1978-1989) and Huracán (1989-1992), however, he had no major successes. Under Carlos Bilardo's managerial tenure, he made eight appearances for the Argentina national team.

At the beginning of the 1990s, he started his coaching career. From the very beginning, he worked with small clubs that were not league favourites, but then managed to achieve good results; as was the case at the beginning of his coaching adventure, winning the Argentine vice-championship with Huracán and Club Atlético Lanús (and the CONMEBOL Copa with the latter), and later in the Spanish league.

He first reached the final of the Cup Winners' Cup with Real Mallorca, and then led Valencia to the same stage of the competition twice, only in the Champions League. He was less successful at Inter Milan. At that time, the coach was criticised for being too attached to certain tactics and preferring a defensive style of play.

By the end of June 2007, following a break of more than a year, Cuper was back in charge, this time at another club outside the top flight - Real Betis. He was sacked after just fourteen games of the new season, however; when he left, Betis were in penultimate place in the table. He also had short and unsuccessful spells with AC Parma (nine games and relegation from

Serie A

) and the Georgian national team (no win in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers).

All You Need to Know About Hector Cuper Biography

After he departed from Georgia, he had spells in Greece, Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates before being appointed as the new head coach of the Egypt national team, where he remained in charge for three years. Later in his career, Hector Cuper coached Uzbekistan national team and at the moment, he is the head coach of the DR Congo national team.

He stepped down from this position in January 2016 and joined the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv as a coach. He was appointed coach of Ajax Amsterdam at the beginning of the 2016/17 season. Thereafter, he signed a two-year contract with Borussia Dortmund in June 2017. Later he was manager of Bayer Leverkusen for three years and since 2021, he is the coach of Lyon.

Hector Cuper Information

Now that we know him better, in this section of

Hector Cuper biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Hector Cuper nationality

to let you know him even more.

Hector Cuper Bio

  • Full Name: Héctor Raúl Cuper

  • Nickname: Cabezón

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Hector Cuper Physical Stats

  • Weight: 74 Kg

  • Height: 1.79 m

  • Eye Color: Dark Brown

  • Hair Color: Grey

Hector Cuper Football Information

  • Position: Defender

  • Jersey Number: 4

  • Professional Debut: 1976

Hector Cuper Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 16 November 1955

  • Birth Place: Santa Fe, Argentina

  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo

  • Nationality: Argentine

In this section of

Hector Cuper biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about

Hector Cuper childhood

and more.

Hector Cuper Early Life

Hector Raúl Cuper was born in the Santa Fe city of Chabás on 16 November 1955 and his childhood was marked by a very hard life that turned him into an oak tree. His original surname is Cuper, after a great-grandfather who came to Argentina and married an aboriginal woman, and he usually makes it clear that "I have nothing English", while there is a strong Italian presence in his family with surnames such as Pistelli and Santarelli.

When he was only nine months old, his mother, Elsa, died at the age of twenty, and his father, Héctor Gerónimo, who was a truck driver, died in an accident when he was still very young, so he was raised by his grandmother Rosa, while his sister Nancy, 14 months older than him, was taken care of by his other grandparents, Alejandro and María, and he often describes that time as "full of poverty and deprivation", but which, at the same time, shaped his personality.

“From her sadness, positive things come out. I was lucky with my grandmother, full of intuitive wisdom," he once recalled, "She used to repeat to me that education is fundamental. She made me disciplined. She instilled in me the importance of keeping to schedules, assuming responsibilities, keeping honesty above all else, according to the idea of poor but honest".

In those early years, the ball was his great friend. "Of course, the ball was cheap and I had always been able to appreciate what I had. My grandmother taught me that, too, and that toy was an extraordinary thing for me," he recalled. When he was nine years old, he left school, something he regretted for many years, to the point that in Buenos Aires, when he was thirty, he went back to complete his studies.

"I felt a bit silly studying geography and history with 12 or 13-year-olds, but I had to get that part of my life back. I had a good relationship with some journalists and as I was looking to become a coach when I left football, they suggested I take up my studies again, since the other alternative was to become a journalist and I would have wanted to do the course anyway, and in any case, I was going to need the certificate".

When he was a teenager, he was already involved in football matches with adults in Chabás, an agricultural town, situated on the road between Rosario and Venado Tuerto along Route 33, which had already produced players such as the winger Walter Fernández and the goalkeeper Gustavo Moriconi for professional football.

The famous journalist Horacio Deluca remembers that Cuper "was a good player, an excellent defender who debuted at the age of 14 in the competitive local football although he was smart enough to develop his potential to the maximum. He was playing in the same position and for the same club as his father. He was called "Cunina" (the goddess of Cunina who protected children in the cradle), like his grandfather and father before him, but he was also called 'cabezón' (big head).

Ferro

Nevertheless, a friend of his father's saw him play, became interested in his technical qualities and suggested taking him to Buenos Aires for various trials in 1974, when he was 19 years old.

"I asked for permission at work, but even though I tried out for different clubs, I didn't stay. I started to spend 15 days, then another 15 and it was there that they gave me a deadline to return and it was there that I thought that to work in a bank there would always be time but for football, no". He decided to quit and stay in Buenos Aires, but it wasn't easy.

His friend and former Ferro Carril Oeste team-mate Oscar Garré, member of the 1986 World Cup winning team in Mexico, remembers those times fondly. "I never forget when Héctor came from Chabás. Like any other boy from the interior of

Argentina

, he was submissive, self-conscious, but with a hunger to succeed that led him to ask for another chance for his first trial because he had not been accepted. After another training session, he was more relaxed and that's how he stayed at the club."

He was working as a dishwasher in a restaurant and lived in a boarding house those days. His career was almost ruined when he was fired from his job. "Things got complicated because I had one less meal," he recalled. "I couldn't take it anymore. I packed my bags and went to the club and said I was leaving," but they finally offered him a pension, bed and board. "At that moment I finally felt like a professional footballer," he admitted.

He made occasional appearances in 1975 and in 1976 he played 22 games, although he did not feel that he had established himself in the first division, particularly when he was relegated to second division B in 1977 in the Metropolitano, and had to go on loan to Independiente Rivadavia de Mendoza in the Nacional. His great challenge came in 1978 because the club's promotion was a must because of the situation at the club.

The Ferro team that Cuper was playing in managed to reach their goal and were promoted to the Primera A. The next season, with the arrival of Carlos Griguol as coach they turned out to be a great team and they finished runner-ups just behind Diego Maradona and Miguel Brindisi's Boca. Hector Cuper was one of the best performers in that team.

When his contract at Ferro came to an end in 1985, he was by then a key player, having won two titles, two runners-up titles and two Copa Libertadores appearances, in a team that was always in the limelight. He was the first in the ranking of all defenders in Argentine football, according to the magazine "El Gráfico".

He was even given a chance in the Argentine national team which played the Jawarthal Cup in India, with several of the players who were the foundation of Carlos Bilardo's team, while recognising that his position "was well covered" with Oscar Ruggeri, Daniel Passarella, José Luis Brown and Enzo Trossero.

In this section of

Hector Cuper biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about his playing career with

Huracan

.

Huracan

However, unusually, at the end of his contract, he chose to sign a new one with Ferro again, until the end of 1988, and then he went to finish his career at Huracán. Griguol had wanted to take him to River but he had already given his word to the Globo's directors, although later higher offers from Mexico and Colombia came up.

When it was thought that he would play one year and retire, he remained until 1992, identified with the club although there were permanent financial problems. When he was 37 years old, he realized that his time as a footballer was over and so he decided to become a coach.

Hector Cuper Profile

He started his coaching career at the club where he was born as a footballer, Huracan. It was a modest club that was used to being somewhere between the first and second tier. While at Parque de los Patricios, Cuper led the club to fight for the 1994 league title. He almost won it, but it slipped away on the last day of the season in a match against Independiente de Avellaneda.

They needed only a draw. In the end, the Santa Fe side lost the match and Independiente were crowned champions of the Clausura Tournament. While Cuper did not know it, he was to experience such frustration many more times in his career.

Lanús

His next step came at Lanús, another club far away from South America's elite. However, it won him the first international trophy in his history, the 1997 Conmebol Cup. A young Óscar Mena, the right midfielder that Cuper himself took to Mallorca years later, would stand out as a goalscorer. That team was a true reflection of what Hector Cuper wanted on the pitch: commitment, defensive solidity and maximum effectiveness up front.

That C. A. Lanús would bring together a group of players whom the coach took with him to the island. These included the aforementioned Mena, but also others with brilliant careers such as Óscar Siviero and goalkeeper Carlos Roa. As well as a little gem like Ariel "el Caño" Ibagaza. Cuper was able to bring out the full potential of players who were not expected to do so much. He assembled a team with equal quality and commitment, which has always been a recipe for success for the coach.

In this section of Hector Cuper biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching career at

Mallorca

.

Mallorca

Having already had a successful career in Argentina, Cuper arrived in Palma de Mallorca to take over a newly promoted R.C.D. Mallorca. This was the time of wine and roses in Spanish football when even the most minor clubs could put together teams of superlative quality in a short period when money was flowing in abundance and there were plenty of ambitious people to carry out large-scale projects.

The Mallorca team had taken advantage of the sale of Paco Roig to Valencia to bring in players such as Engonga and Kike Romero at a bargain price, who would provide the squad with the competitive edge and experience so necessary in the First Division. The Argentinian clan of Siviero, Roa, Ibagaza and Mena would join them in their first season, along with others such as the Serbian Jovan Stankovic and the legendary Miquel Soler.

Together they formed what was the best season of a newly promoted team in the First Division, ending up in fifth place and reaching the final of the Copa del Rey, where they lost to FC Barcelona in a penalty shoot-out.

However, Cuper’s "ordeal" would not end there, since the following year he lost the Cup Winners' Cup final against the Lazio of Nedved, Mancini, Vieri and Marcelo Salas. This was the last Cup Winners' Cup in history and probably Mallorca's greatest success as a club in its entire history.

At that time, the stigma of "losers" was starting to be attached to the figure of Cuper, who that year had strengthened the Balearic club with another batch of Argentinians such as Serrizuela and Ariel "Chupa" López, both of whom were remembered by Mallorquinista fans in a very unpleasant way.

One of them passed without much fanfare and the other, a striker of some fame in Argentina, would not score more than three goals in the whole season, overshadowed by Daniel García Lara, better known as Dani, a centre-forward whose career ended up slipping away in the shadow of Patrick Kluivert at Barça.

Valencia

The next step as a coach for Cuper was to be taken in

Valencia

, where he may have achieved his masterpiece. It was a team with no flaws, and almost unattractive to the neutral spectator, which he led to two consecutive Champions League finals. His personality was in contrast to that of his predecessor in Levante,

Claudio Ranieri

, an Italian who was as tough in his methods as he was warm in his manner.

The seriousness and a dry touch of Cuper did not go down too well in the city of Turia. His first three games were without a win, the team was not getting into the box and his head was hanging by a thread, Cuper’s troubled summer was taking its toll after sending a legend like Paco Camarasa to the reserve team and temporarily removing the team's top star at the time, Claudio López, from the team.

Over time, the team took on a different spirit and despite a game that was far from beautiful, Valencia finished the season in fourth place and went on to play in a final against Real Madrid in which there was only one team.

It was another success in Cuper’s career and yet another final loss. On the way, there were some anecdotes, such as when the hard pre-season training sessions took their toll on Óscar García Junyent, who finished a training session throwing out even his food.

Although Cuper, who has always been one to be well supported by his trusted players, attempted to sign the Mallorcan player Siviero, getting rid of a man he loved and whose performance was impeccable, the Swede Joachim Bjorklund, the club eventually gave him another of his requests, Mauricio Pellegrino, whose signing was unpopular due to his discreet and brief role at Barcelona.

In return, Subirats signed left-back Fagiani, who never really settled in and was denied a starting place by Cuper in the Champions League Final against Real Madrid, at the expense of Gerardo, who was one of the main players to be singled out after the game. Upon leaving the Parc des Princes, a disgraceful action of some hooligans shaking the Argentinian coach's car would be the beginning of what would lead to his departure the following year.

No one expected Valencia to repeat its success after a great season. But they did. It was necessary to move pieces as the big teams in Europe came to Valencia to fish: Gerard returned to Catalonia to sign for his beloved Barcelona after paying his termination clause, Farinós left for Inter and Claudio "Piojo" López for Lazio.

They were replaced by Rubén Baraja (Atlético), John Carew (Rosenborg) and Pablo Aimar (

River Plate)

, the latter in mid-season, joining the hard core of the squad: Cañizares, Carboni, Angloma and Mendieta, who was one of the best players of the early 2000s. This second Valencia under Cuper approached glory again when they lost in their second consecutive final against Bayern Munich in Milan, which would become the final of finals for Hector Cuper.

Cuper was in vogue, he was the coach everyone wanted to have, he was making the headlines and clubs began to import his model so that the Argentinean coach began to be highly valued. During those years, coaches such as Mario Gómez (Mallorca) or Carlos Timoteo Griguol (Betis), regarded as the master of the coach from Santa Fé, arrived, but none of them would be successful.

Inter Milan

Milan would be his home the following year. As Inter were known to spend their money lightly, they assembled a super team with Vieri, Toldo, Cordoba, "Chino" Recoba, Seedorf and the jewel in the crown, Ronaldo Nazario, who could only play for a few games due to meniscus problems. His relationship with the Brazilian ended badly, very badly.

Ronaldo described him as the worst coach of his career and the main reason why he quit Inter to join Real Madrid. Probably Moratti never forgave him for that, firing the Argentinian at the beginning of his third season. Cuper had taken

Inter

to the Champions League semi-finals along the way and lost the league in the last game in his second season.

Cuper’s ruthless style never pleased Inter fans and his own players, such as Clarence Seedorf, who made the tough decision to leave Inter to play for arch-rivals Milan. Cuper defended the stars working for the team and did not include either the Brazilian or the Dutchman.

Return to smaller projects

Following his departure from the Italian club, a downhill slide began a period in which Cuper returned to his origins, in which he was unsuccessful. Neither Mallorca in a second stint, nor

Real Betis,

nor Parma or the Georgian national team were able to put Hector Cuper’s career back on the winning track.

Cuper is still remembered on the island as an idol and an example of honesty when he waived his salary in full in his second season when he resigned. Later he would play a creditable role with Aris Thessaloniki, taking them to the Greek Cup final, yet another defeat in finals for a team coached by the Santa Fe native, losing to the mighty Panathinaikos Athens. That Aris team included old acquaintances from the Spanish league such as ex-Madrid player Raúl Bravo and ex-Levantinista Nikos Karampelas.

For whatever reason, the Hector Cuper miracle seemed to have faded. The magic wand of the once popular coach at the turn of the century had been buried under the ground. Not a single major club had the Argentinian in their plans. His recent results had not been good, and the subsequent ones were not good either.

A few months after his signing, Cuper ended up resigning from Racing Santander after thirteen games in 2011. He did not have much luck in strange projects either, such as with Turkish club

Orduspor

. There he coincided with the controversial David Barral, who had left

Sporting Gijón

that year.

The United Arab Emirates, last stop before Egypt

The Argentinian's next stop was Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates. It was a place where football has a lot of money and a low level. There the Argentinian recruited two players from his country, Emmanuel Culio and Mariano Donda. Besides the one who had been the most contagious smile of the Spanish league, the Brazilian Ricardo Oliveira. However, it was not to be. Cuper was dismissed just a few months after taking up his post due to poor results.

Egypt

The legendary Hector Cuper took charge of the

Egyptian national team

in March 2015. It was a new position, even more exciting than the previous one. His recent experiences did not bode well. The South American coach's winning gene had long been dormant.

He inherited a fractured squad, far away from the team that was crowned champions of Africa in 2010. Cuper did not have the typical legion of African players based in Europe's elite. Nor did he have a large number of second-generation immigrants like Côte d'Ivoire, Morocco or Algeria.

Egypt was far away from world football's big business. Deprived of the usual pull of Ligue 1, European football for the country's footballing elite was a long way off. Cuper thus had to draw on a large group of local players, mostly from one of Africa's giants, Zamalek, as well as players from smaller leagues.

He also had to bring in players from the minor leagues, such as Omar Gaber (Basel), Amr Warda (Pantelokitos) and Mahmoud Trezeguet Hassan (Mouscorn). All of that and Mohammed Salah, of course, the country's only globally recognised player.

Cuper built a strong, reliable squad and, by using his trade, managed to get Egypt back on its feet after four years of poor results on the continent. In that year's Africa Cup of Nations, the Argentinian took his team to the final. Nevertheless, the curse would not stop for him. With the score level at one, Aboubakar's goal three minutes before the end gave Cameroon the win. Another tear in the eyes of the losing legend that he was already dragging behind him.

Following the good performance in recent years, the Egyptian federation opted to keep the coach on board. This allowed Cuper to enjoy real joy for the first time in a long time. It was an unqualified success with no ifs and buts: getting Egypt into the World Cup 28 years later. It came with all the epic and suffering that has always been Cuper’s trademark. A penalty just seconds before the end that Salah would eventually convert. Following three defeats at World Cup, he was fired from his post.

Uzbekistan

He was then called up by Uzbekistan to lead their national team to the last 16 of the 2019 Asian Cup, where they were defeated by Australia on penalties and then he was sacked after losing 2-0 to Palestine in the second Asian qualifying round for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

DR Congo

In another chapter of his long and unique career, Cuper has been appointed as the head coach of

DR Congo

to take the team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In this section of Hector Cuper biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching style.

Style of Play

Cuper usually plays with a 4-2-3-1 system of play and is a true fan of it, as in the majority of the matches in which he coached the Egyptian national team, they played with this system.

Reception

Cuper, although he now seems a shadow of the past, has been one of the best coaches in Europe. Quite deservedly, he is a true legend at clubs such as Valencia and Mallorca. Hardly a man given to journalistic treatment and pastiche, but a lover of work and discipline applied to football. He is a man who this sport could have honoured with one of the most brilliant records in living memory. Nevertheless, it has provided him with no more and no less than eight vice-championships.

Hector Cuper outside Football

Cuper had a rather hard early life and lost both his parents when he was a kid. During the early days of his career, he used to work as a dishwasher in a restaurant to earn some money as his team wasn’t paying him any salary at the time.

Hector Cuper Personal Life

In this section of Hector Cuper biography, we will take a look into his personal life and share some info about

Hector Cuper life story

and

Hector Cuper religion.

Family, Children and Relationships

During Hector’s playing days, in front of his pension lived Cynthia, who was from a family of doctors "and who helped me a lot to be stable, with a great sense of family because I had grown up alone. She knew I was not very talkative, but she understood my silences," said Cuper. He and Cynthia later married each other and gave birth to three children.

Philanthropy

Currently, there are not reports of any philanthropy or charity activities regarding Hector Cuper in Spanish or English media.

Legal Issues

Cuper was included in the list of suspects for alleged involvement in a betting ring in October 2011 and, when interrogated in November, he initially said he was not involved. However, investigators believe that members of a Castellammare di Stabia gang gave the coach €200,000 in return for information on four games from the 2006-2007 season (two from the Spanish league and two from the Argentine league) to bet on.

Hector Cuper Career Statistics

In this section of Hector Cuper biography, we will take a look at his career stats on the international and club level.

Club

During his playing career, the Argentine coach has played a total of 567 matches and scored 34 goals. He spent the majority of his career in Ferro.

International

In 1984, Hector Cuper was called up to the Argentina national team and even played three games for his country, but he was not included in the list for the 1986

World Cup

.

Managerial

As of 11 June 2021, Cuper has an average win ratio of 40.92 percent with 311 wins, 210 draws and 239 defeats in a total of 760 matches.

Hector Cuper Honors

As a manager, Cuper has won Copa CONMEBOL with Lanus, Supercopa de España with Mallorca and Valencia and finished as runner-up in the

Champions League

with the latter.

His notable personal awards include

La Liga

Coach of the Year – Don Balón Award, UEFA Club Coach of the Year and some others.

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source: SportMob