Al Hilal coach Ramon Diaz said goodbye to his players on Sunday before travelling to Argentina for personal reasons ahead of this week’s derby against Al-Ittihad, amid speculation he had already overseen his last match at the Saudi Pro League club.
With local media reporting that former Brazil coach Tite was being lined up to take over, Al-Hilal said on Sunday that Diaz’s son Emiliano would guide the team until the end of the season, starting with Tuesday’s clash against the league leaders.
Diaz’s contract is to expire at the end of the season and Al-Hilal said in a statement they had approved his request to leave the country after a “car accident resulted in one death and two injuries among his family members”.
The Arriyadiyah daily sports newspaper said that Al Hilal would not renew Diaz’s contract and was talking to Tite, who led Brazil at the last two World Cups, about replacing him.
The wealthy Riyadh club most recently made international headlines when a source close to Lionel Messi confirmed to Reuters that they had lodged a formal offer to sign the Argentina captain.
Diaz’s second stint at Al-Hilal started well with an 18th league title last season but he faced criticism after losing the Asian Champions League final to Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds and falling off the pace in this year’s championship race.
The Argentine redeemed himself to some extent when Al Hilal beat Al-Wehda on penalties last week to win a 10th King’s Cup but, even in celebrating the feat, the club’s social media team indicated that Diaz’s reign was coming to an end.
“Diaz bids farewell to the champions of the 10th”, read a message posted on the club’s Twitter account on Friday.
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