Rogerio Micale promotion at Al Hilal adds to curious managerial situation in Saudi Arabia

Change, however disappointing, finally arrived for Al Hilal this week. Razvan Lucescu – once-exalted engineer of 2019’s hallowed AFC Champions League success and 2019/20’s subsequent reclamation of the Saudi Professional League –...

Rogerio Micale promotion at Al Hilal adds to curious managerial situation in Saudi Arabia
Change, however disappointing, finally arrived for Al Hilal this week. Razvan Lucescu – once-exalted engineer of 2019’s hallowed AFC Champions League success and 2019/20’s subsequent reclamation of the Saudi Professional League – made way after a staggering decline in form witnessed his troops go from 12 wins in 13 matches, to three more victories in the proceeding 13 run-outs. Sunday’s 1-0 loss at lowly Damac kept them an unacceptable third and proved too much for a board who’d shown remarkable tolerance by the region’s short standards. Enter, Rogerio Micale. Hardly a familiar name to most observers. But this unfamiliar status also applies to 2020/21 leaders Al Shabab with Carlos Inarejos and 2018/19 champions Al Nassr with Alen Horvat. An unprecedented – and eminently curious – situation is at play whereby Riyadh’s three biggest clubs are now led, to varying degrees of permanence, by technical staff promoted from within. It was Neymar who, rightly, dominated the headlines when Brazil were guided to gold by Micale at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Little fanfare, thus, greeted a 51-year-old who originally landed last December to lead the Under-19 side, fresh from being dismissed by Serie B’s Parana after five defeats from six fixtures. But supporters of Hilal, and their rivals across the continent, should not make the mistake of immediately counting out a tactician whose greatest achievements at club level include Under-20 tournaments lifted a decade, or more, ago at Figueirense and Atletico Mineiro. The promotion of Micale – until the end of the season, according to Arriyadiyah – should be labelled as an ‘intelligent gamble’. He, Inarejos and Horvat represent a shifting of outlook. When the need for change previously arose, clubs in the Kingdom instantly looked to external options. Now, an increasing desire exists to access internal solutions first. #AlHilal .. A Practice Game and Tactical Plans ⚽️#AlHilal_Infographic