Gustavo Matosas is the new manager of Costa Rica, FEDEFUTBOL announced Tuesday.
The move doesn’t come as a shock. The federation had announced last week that the former Club America and Leon boss was headed to San Jose to negotiate terms on a deal. The parties now have come to agreement, with Matosas set to travel to Monterrey with Costa Rica federation president Rodolfo Villalobos to watch Costa Rica’s friendly with Mexico from the stands Thursday. He will then take in Costa Rica’s match against Colombia in the United States next week before getting to work.
“This is a great honor for me, to represent, through the medium of the national team, a country like Costa Rica. It’s a marvelous challenge that has me feeling very enthusiastic. I’ve spoken with all the people in my immediate family because it’s a marvelous opportunity, so I’m going to take it on as though it were my own country,” said Matosas, who is Uruguayan.
That challenge will include refreshing a national team that had its greatest moments in 2014, making the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Brazil. The Ticos returned to the World Cup in 2018 but failed to make it out of the group stage under the guidance of Oscar Ramirez. Many of Costa Rica’s players were present during those moments, but a younger generation has been slow to emerge. Just one player on Costa Rica’s roster for Russia is under the age of 25 – defender Ian Smith – with 10 players 30 or older.
Matosas’ finest moments as a manager came with Leon where he led Las Panzas Verdes to back-to-back Liga MX titles, becoming just the second team to win the bicampeonato. He later took over Club America, and lifted the Concacaf Champions League trophy. However, he fell short in league play and left the club after elimination by Pachuca in the 2015 Clausura playoffs.
He later went to Atlas before brief spells with clubs in Saudi Arabia, Portugal and Argentina. The manger assured Costa Ricans, though, that he’s in it for the long haul and has his eyes set on getting to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Dreams always speak more than money,” he said. “I’d love to manage in a World Cup. It would be an honor to arrive there representing a country like Costa Rica. This opportunity was one of the situations that motivated me most about the project.”