Jul 24, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT
Cinderella has lost her fairy godmother. After guiding Costa Rica to the World Cup quarterfinals, Colombian manager Jorge Luis Pinto will not return to the Ticos, a surprising turn considering the popularity he gained during his team’s run in Brazil. Unable to reach a new contract agreement with the Costa Rican federation, the 61-year-old’s now in search of a new starlet to guide to the ball.
“I want to heartily thank Mr. Pinto,” Eduardo Li, president of the Costa Rican federation, said at a press conference in San Jose. “The entire Costa Rican public, coaches and managers are pleased with what was achieved in Brazil.”
“Unfortunately, we we’re able to come to an agreement on a few aspects [of a new contract].”
According to Pinto, speaking at the same press conference, disagreements within the federation’s technical staff contributed to the decision. Li, however, remains open to the idea of having the Colombian boss back.
“The doors are still open. We won’t rule out the opportunity of having Mr. Pinto back in the future.”
Pinto joined Costa Rica for the second time in 2011, guiding the Ticos to second in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. In Brazil, drawn with England, Italy, and Uruguay, Costa Rica faced long odds of advancing out of its group, but after being eliminated on penalty kicks by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, Pinto’s team left the competition undefeated.
“The success was everyone’s,” Pinto explained, “not just mine, everyone’s.”
With that success, Pinto should have no problem finding a job in Colombia, where the former national team boss has served as head coach with Millionarios, Santa Fe, Deportivo Cali, Atlético Junior, and Atlético Nacional, among others.
The bigger question, given how much influence Pinto had on their success: Where does Costa Rica turn now?
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