We nearly had Maradona…but we got Alex Sabella
After the article earlier concerning where United’s players had ended up over the summer, Vital member bladeforlife1889 brought up the challenge of whatever happened to Alex Sabella?
Sabella joined the Blades in 1978 from River Plate for the sum of £160,000 which was £20,000 less than the Blades had tried to pay for a certain Diego Maradona just a number of weeks earlier.
He made his debut on 18th August 1978 against Leyton Orient and would go on to play for the Blades 76 times, scoring 8 goals, before being sold to rivals Leeds United for £400,000 in 1980. It’s reported United turned down £600,000 from Sunderland when they were in the Second Division.
El Mago returned to Argentina from Yorkshire in 1980 to play for Estudiantes, a team now made famous by Juan Sebastian Veron, who almost single handedly led them to the league title a little over a year ago. Sabella went one better, and won back to back titles with the team. His coach Carlos Bilardo was appointed coach of Argentina and called up Sabella for games including the Copa America in 1983. Sabella didn’t make the 86 World Cup squad and only earned 4 caps for his country.
Sabella moved to Brazilian giants Gremio before returning to Estudiantes and finally retiring after a short spell with Ferro Carril Oeste.
Sabella went on to coach Parma, Monterrey, Corinthians and the Uruguay national team, all alongside his good friend Daniel Passarella. The duo were hired by River Plate in 2006, to work under head coach (and David Beckham’s favourite Argentine) Diego Simeone