Alejandro Sabella: dies at 66

Former Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella has died at the age of 66, Argentina Football Association (AFA) has announced .

In a Twitter statement, AFA said:

“The AFA, via president Claudio Tapia, deeply regrets the death of Alejandro Sabella, former coach of Argentina, and sends its warmest hug to his family and loved ones.”

Sabella, who led his country to the World Cup final in 2014, had been ill in hospital in his homeland.

As a professional He played for Sheffield United and Leeds United in England, as well as River Plate and Estudiantes, he was best known for his work as a coach towards the end of his career in football.

Sabella led Estudiantes to Copa Libertadores glory in 2009 and the final of the Club World Cup later that year, where they lost to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Hugely popular in La Plata, Sabella took over as national team boss from Sergio Batista in 2011.

Appointing Lionel Messi as captain, the Albiceleste reached the final of the World Cup six years ago in Brazil.

They lost 1-0 to Germany.

Sabella resigned from his position in July 2014, having suggested he no longer had the energy to fulfil the demands of the role.

Estudiantes described Sabella as “the star that we choose and will wear proudly on our chest”, adding: “Thank you for so many teachings and for your legacy.”

Radamel Falcao, who knew Sabella from his early career with River, wrote on Twitter: “Unfortunate news of the death of Alejandro Sabella. We worked together at River.

“My condolences to his family, friends, and everyone who had the opportunity to know him”.