Who is Marcelino Garcia Toral? Five facts about Athletic Bilbao’s new Spanish Super Cup winning manager

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 18 January 2021, 15:03

In what was only his third match in charge of Athletic Bilbao, new boss Marcelino Garcia Toral lifted the Spanish Super Cup; only the club’s second trophy since 1985.

The Spaniard replaced Gaizka Garitano at the start of the year, began his tenure with a narrow 3-2 defeat to Barcelona in the league, before he orchestrated a stunning 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Super Cup.

Then on Sunday, for the second time in the space of a dozen days, he once again faced Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona. But this time he came out on top, as he masterminded a 3-2 extra-time victory in a match which saw Lionel Messi sent off at the end for the first time in his Barcelona career.

Many Sack Race readers may already be well versed in Marcelino and his career to date, but for those who want to know more about the Athletic boss, take a read below...

It’s not the first time he’s beaten Barcelona in a Final

The experience of beating Barcelona in a Final was not a first for Marcelino, who lifted the Copa del Rey at the Catalan club’s expense back in 2019 when he was in charge of Valencia.

Marcelino’s record against Barcelona isn’t great at all. He only has two wins from 23 clashes, 15 of which have ended in defeat. However, both of the two victories have now wielded trophies, so we’re sure he’s not too upset about that record!

He’s beaten Real Madrid with four different clubs

Beating Real Madrid is always special, no matter the club or occasion, but imagine beating the Spanish giants with four different teams.

Well, that’s exactly what Marcelino has done.

In 2006 his Recreativo Huelva stunned Real 3-0 at the Bernabeu, nine years later Villarreal claimed a 1-0 home win, then in his final full season at Valencia he oversaw a 2-1 success.

As mentioned, just a few days ago his new club Athletic beat Zinedine Zidane’s troops in the last-four of the Spanish Super Cup.


Spanish Super Cup victor, Marcelino

Brutal Valencia sacking

Most managers no doubt feel hard done by when they are sacked, however Marcelino had more right to fume than most when he lost his job at Valencia.

Back in September 2019 he was harshly sacked by the Spanish club - read more below - a club he had rejuvenated and only months earlier had won them the Copa del Rey and qualified for the Champions League. Brutal.

Interviewed by Arsenal, linked with Tottenham, Everton and AC Milan

Marcelino has yet to voyage outside of Spain, yet he was linked with a move to the Premier League last season when he was interviewed by Arsenal following the departure of fellow countryman Unai Emery - only for the club to opt for former Gunner Mikel Arteta.

Around the same time his name was also believed to be in the frame for the Everton job after Marco Silva was sacked. He reportedly rejected an offer, then in came Carlo Ancelotti. Prior to that he was rumoured to be under consideration by Tottenham, when the club feared Mauricio Pochettino would leave.

Last season there were also reports that the 55-year-old was going to become the next AC Milan manager, however this never came to fruition.

Manager at 33, promotion king, and two Miguel Muñoz Trophy triumphs

Marcelino has been managing for over 20 years now, during which he’s won a selection of honours and overseen nearly 800 matches.

He was just 33 when he stepped into management at CD Lealtad in 1997, he then took charge of Sporting Gijon after a spell with their reserves.

He achieved the first of three La Liga promotions with Recreativo de Huelva, with whom he then secured a superb 8th place finish which won him the famed Miguel Muñoz Trophy - awarded each season to the best coach in La Liga.

Next up was a spell at Racing Santander, who he guided into the UEFA Cup, which was followed by another promotion to La Liga with Real Zaragoza.

There was then a short-lived second stint at Santander, and a disappointing 27 game stint at Sevilla.

He added yet another La Liga promotion to his CV with Villarreal, where he re-built his career and later propelled the club to the Europa League semi-finals where they lost to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

At Valencia he did an absolutely superb job; he managed over 100 games, accrued a 50% win rate, won another Miguel Muñoz Trophy, took to the Europa League semi-finals, lifted the Copa del Rey, secured back-to-back 4th-place finishes, only to then be savagely sacking.

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