"Guero" Real, Omar Bravo return to Chivas

Posted by Tom Marshall

Derek Leung/Getty ImagesJose Luis Real will have a tough task next year as he tries to prevent Chivas from being relegated.

The decision to name Jose Luis "Guero" Real as the new Chivas coach will split fans down the middle.

Some will point to the fact that he guided the team to the final of the Copa Libertadores, oversaw the Bicentenario 2010 campaign in which the team finished second in the regular season, and that he was an important influence in Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's rapid rise.

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They could add that Real -- who was Chivas coach between November 2009 and October 2011 -- was fired after losing just 19 of his 73 games as coach, and that there was a time that owner Jorge Vergara believed the manager had all the prerequisites to become the "Mexican Ferguson".

Others will look at Real's poor record recently in charge of Chivas USA, the indiscipline within the squad when he was coach at Guadalajara and the five winless games that led to his sacking. There was also the often dour style of Real's Chivas team.

But in hindsight, Real's time in charge was a golden period in comparison to what has come since, with the team maintaining relegation form since he was removed.

"For me, would have, could have does exist," Real said in his presentation on Monday. "If I would have continued as coach, the team had the basis to be champion."

They were strong words from Real, but he also admitted that "the reality now is different" than his first spell in charge four years ago due to the specter of relegation being very much on the table.

For that reason, the reappointment of Real is a low-risk decision -- if not a particularly exciting one for fans. Real knows the club inside and out, can deal with the nuances of the owners and has proved himself before. A good deal of hard work will be required to get over it, as Real confessed, and avoiding a relegation dogfight is very much the name of the game at present. To talk of championships for Chivas at this time seems wildly out of place.

Real stressed that young players have been promoted too quickly to the first team and added that experience will be vital in moving the club forward. Whether that means players like Hector Reynoso, Luis Michel and Marco Fabian now stay or whether the new signings will bring the experience, Real wouldn't be drawn into that.

Of course, hiring Real as coach implies owner Jorge Vergara made a mistake in firing him in the first place, that Juan Carlos Ortega -- who is now director of sporting development at Chivas and Chivas USA -- was also an error and that the search to rejuvenate the club with Johan Cruyff was also misguided.

Apparently, the right man for the job was at the club all along, although it is worrying that Chivas have sailed along like a rudderless ship since Real left the first time, pointing to a serious lack of direction from the club's owners.

But while the return of Real should have a calming impact, the announcement will also get another part of this winter shake-up moving: transfers. With the coach in place, the transfer list is due to be announced shortly and the process of bringing players in should be sped up.

Bravo back

It is official. Omar Bravo -- the second highest goal-scorer in Chivas' history -- will be wearing the famous shirt again next season, after a year playing for the club's archrivals Atlas.

The 33-year-old looked nervous and sought to deflect questions about the mutual affection that seemed to grow between him and Atlas, instead stating that he will demonstrate his desire to play for the Rebano Sagrado again on the field and is looking to surpass Salvador "Chava" Reyes as the club's highest ever goal-scorer.


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