Jordi Cruyff is set to step down from the front office to become Maccabi Tel Aviv’s head coach on a full-time basis next season, while retaining his responsibilities as sports director.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
After five years as the club’s sports director, Jordi Cruyff was named as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s head coach on Wednesday, aiming to take the yellow-and-blue back to the pinnacle of Israeli soccer after two seasons without a title.
Cruyff insisted time and again that he has no interest in becoming a coach, including during a one-month stint as an interim replacement for the sacked Shota Arveladze earlier this year. But after a short and disappointing tenure by Lito Vidigal at the end of last season, and with the successful experience of guiding the team under his belt, he decided it was the right time to begin a new stage in his career.
Cruyff will leave his position as sports director, but he will maintain many of the responsibilities he held in his previous job, including being tasked with building the squad which he will lead next season.
Maccabi opened pre-season training on Wednesday, with the team to already return to action in two weeks in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.
Spaniard Dani Poyatos will be Cruyff’s senior assistant, leaving his role at the Real Madrid youth department.
“I am happy and excited to be appointed coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv,” Cruyff told the club’s official website. “Entering my sixth year at the club I am very aware of the owner’s and fans expectations. I am more determined than ever to meet these expectations.”
Owner Mitchell Goldhar is confident the team will achieve success under Cruyff’s guidance.
“I know that Jordi feels a great sense of responsibility as the standard bearer of the Cruyff name which is synonymous with so many great achievements in football,” explained Goldhar.
“I, like him, feel that this is the right time for this next step. Having had the honor to get to know Johan Cruyff and to see how proud he was of his son I am certain that Johan would be very excited to see Jordi take on the position of coach of this historic club. I am confident that with the support of the whole organization and our fans, Jordi will achieve the results and the style of play that meets the standard which I expect.”
Wednesday was a busy day of announcements for the yellow-and-blue, with the club also appointing Ben Mansford as its new CEO.
Maccabi operated without a full-time CEO last season following the departure of Martin Bain. Mansford served as the CEO of English Championship side Leeds United last season, a club he joined from Barnsley FC where he acted as CEO for three years.
“Ben’s background and experience is a welcome addition to our senior management team and I am looking forward to Ben helping to lead the club forward on all fronts,” said Goldhar.