Hugo Sánchez

Last updated
Hugo Sánchez
Hugo Sanchez 1988.jpg
Sánchez in 1988
Personal information
Full nameHugo Sanchez Márquez [1]
Date of birth (1958-07-11) 11 July 1958 (age 61)
Place of birth Mexico City, Mexico
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Forward [1]
Youth career
1972–1975 UNAM
Senior career*
1976–1981 UNAM 188 (97)
1979–1980San Diego Sockers (loan) 32 (26)
1981–1985 Atlético Madrid 111 (54)
1985–1992 Real Madrid 207 (164)
1992–1993 América 29 (11)
1993–1994 Rayo Vallecano 29 (16)
1994–1995 Atlante 31 (13)
1995–1996 Linz 20 (6)
1996 Dallas Burn 25 (11)
1997 Celaya 12 (2)
National team
1977–1994 Mexico 58 [2] (29)
Teams managed
2000 UNAM
2000 Mexico (interim)
2001–2005 UNAM
2006 Necaxa
2006–2008 Mexico
2008 Mexico U-23
2008–2009 Almería
2012 Pachuca
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Hugo Sánchez Márquez (born 11 July 1958) is a Mexican retired professional footballer and manager, who played as a forward. A prolific goalscorer known for his spectacular strikes and volleys, Sánchez is widely regarded as the greatest Mexican footballer of all time, [3] and one of the greatest players of his generation. [4] In 1999, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics voted Sánchez the 26th best footballer of the 20th century, and the best footballer from the CONCACAF region. [5] In 2004 Sánchez was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. [6] He is the fourth highest scorer in the history of La Liga, the third highest scoring foreign player after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, [7] and is the seventh highest goalscorer in Real Madrid's history. [8] He scored over 541 senior career goals for both club and country.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Manager (association football) Head coach of an association football team

In association football, a manager is an occupation of head coach in the United Kingdom responsible for running a football club or a national team. Outside the British Isles and across most of Europe, a title of head coach or coach is predominant.

Forward (association football) Association Football position played near the opponents goal

Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore most responsible for scoring goals.


Sánchez began his career playing for Club Universidad Nacional in 1976, and briefly went on loan to the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League in 1979. In 1981, he moved to Spain to play for Atlético Madrid, playing for the Colchoneros for four years before moving to cross-town rivals Real Madrid, where he would spend the best years of his career, winning numerous titles and accolades.

Club Universidad Nacional Mexican association football club

Club de Fútbol Universidad Nacional A.C., commonly known as Pumas de la UNAM, Pumas UNAM, UNAM, or Pumas, is a Mexican league football club based in Ciudad Universitaria in Mexico City. Club Universidad Nacional represent the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and play their home matches at Estadio Olímpico Universitario, located on UNAM's main campus.

San Diego Sockers (1978–96) soccer team in the United States

The San Diego Sockers were a soccer and indoor soccer team based in San Diego, California. The team played in the indoor and outdoor editions of the North American Soccer League (NASL) until 1984 as well as the original Major Indoor Soccer League and CISL. The franchise folded in 1996 and was the last surviving NASL franchise.

North American Soccer League association football league, began in 2011

The North American Soccer League (NASL) was a professional men's soccer based in the United States. The league was named for, but had no connection to, the original North American Soccer League. The later NASL was founded in 2009, and began play in 2011 with eight teams, following a 2010 season that saw NASL and USL teams play in a combined temporary Division II league.

From 1977 to 1994, Sánchez was a member of the Mexico national team, gaining 58 caps and scoring 29 goals. He participated in three FIFA World Cup tournaments and was a part of the Mexico team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup. Famous for his acrobatic goal celebrations throughout his club and international career, Sánchez was the first notable exponent of the backflip. [9]

Mexico national football team mens national association football team representing Mexico

The Mexico national football team represents Mexico in international football and is governed by the Mexican Football Federation. It competes as a member of CONCACAF, which encompasses the countries of North and Central America, and the Caribbean. The team plays its home games at the Estadio Azteca.

FIFA World Cup Association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

1986 FIFA World Cup 1986 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June 1986. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. With European nations not allowed to host after the previous World Cup in Spain, Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially resigned in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983, thus becoming the first country to host the World Cup more than once. This was the third FIFA World Cup tournament in succession that was hosted by a Spanish-speaking country, after Argentina 1978, and Spain 1982.

As a manager, he won two consecutive league championships with UNAM. After managing Necaxa, he was announced as coach of the Mexico national football team in 2006, but was fired in March 2008 due to poor results. [10] In 2009, Sánchez was named manager of UD Almería, and helped to save the club from relegation. [11]

Club Necaxa Mexican association football club

Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V. ; often simply known as Club Necaxa, is a Mexican football club in Liga MX based in the city of Aguascalientes. It plays in the Estadio Victoria.

UD Almería Spanish football club

Unión Deportiva Almería, S.A.D. is a Spanish football club based in Almería, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Founded in 26 July 1989 and known as Almería Club de Fútbol until 2001, the club plays in Segunda División, and plays their homes games at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos, with a 15,200-seat capacity.

Club career


As a teenager, Sánchez played for the Mexico national team at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Having already played in over 80 international matches, Sánchez signed as a youth player at the age of 18 for Pumas de la UNAM, a professional team representing Mexico's national university, where he completed a degree in Dentistry while playing for the first team. [12] Later that year, UNAM managed to win its first championship in the Primera División. Two years later, he became the league's top-scorer with 26 goals.

Football at the Summer Olympics football competition

Football at the Summer Olympics, commonly known as football or soccer, has been included in every Summer Olympic Games as a men's competition sport, except 1896 and 1932. Women's football was added to the official program at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Dentistry branch of medicine

Dentistry, also known as Dental and Oral Medicine, is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, commonly in the dentition but also the oral mucosa, and of adjacent and related structures and tissues, particularly in the maxillofacial area. Although primarily associated with teeth among the general public, the field of dentistry or dental medicine is not limited to teeth but includes other aspects of the craniofacial complex including the temporomandibular joint and other supporting, muscular, lymphatic, nervous, vascular, and anatomical structures.

In 1979, UNAM agreed to exchange players during the off-season with the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League. He played in the NASL during the summer and in the Mexican league during the fall, winter and spring. UNAM loaned Sánchez to the Sockers in 1979 and 1980 where he became a prolific striker for the Sockers, averaging nearly a goal a game. [13]

Sánchez's five seasons with UNAM were during the team's golden years. In 1980–81, his last season with the club, Sánchez and UNAM won its second league championship, a CONCACAF Champions Cup and a Copa Interamericana. During his five years with UNAM, Sánchez scored 104 goals in 200 appearances.

Atlético Madrid

After five successful seasons in Mexico, Sánchez drew the attention of several European sides, including that of English club Arsenal, [12] though eventually signing with Spanish side Atlético Madrid in 1981. It took him a while to find his feet in La Liga, only managing twenty league appearances and scoring eight goals in his first season, but by the 1984-1985 season he was scoring regularly with a team that won the Copa del Rey, finished second in the league and won the Spanish Super Copa. That year, Sánchez won his first Pichichi trophy for being the most prolific scorer in the league, scoring 26 goals.

Real Madrid

On 15 July 1985, Sánchez signed for Real Madrid. [14] It was reported that due to Atlético Madrid's reluctance to anger their fan base with a direct deal with Real, Sánchez was transferred to UNAM back in his home country on 4 July before being signed by Real Madrid, with the contract signing taking place in a bank in Mexico City. [14] He was flown back to Spain and presented to 50,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on 19 July. [15]

He played alongside the famed group of players known as the La Quinta del Buitre ("Vulture's Cohort"), which consisted of Emilio Butragueño, Manuel Sanchís, Martín Vázquez, Míchel, and Miguel Pardeza. [1] With Los Blancos, Sánchez won five consecutive league titles from 1985 to 1990, a Copa del Rey title in 1989 and the UEFA Cup in 1986. During those five years, Sánchez won four-consecutive Pichichi trophies, becoming the only player in Spanish football history to achieve this without sharing the trophy with any other player in any season, and one of three players to win five Pichichis (the others being Alfredo Di Stéfano and Quini), scoring 208 goals in 283 games in all competitions. He scored 27 or more goals in four consecutive seasons between 1986 and 1990, including 38 goals in the 1989–90 season, tying the single-season record set in 1951 by Telmo Zarra and earning the European Golden Boot award for the best scorer in Europe. Remarkably, all 38 of these goals were scored with only a single touch. [16] His 38-goal tally stood as a league record until Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed it after scoring 40 goals in the 2010–11 season. [17] In European Cup competitions, Sánchez scored 47 goals in 45 matches.

Later career

In 1992, Sánchez returned to his native Mexico for a season and there he won the 1992 CONCACAF Champions' Cup with Club América before playing for a variety of clubs in Spain, Austria and the USA. He played for Dallas Burn in the inaugural year of Major League Soccer, becoming one of two footballers, along with Roy Wegerle, to play outdoor football in both the NASL and the MLS. He finished his career playing for Atlético Celaya, along with Butragueño and Míchel, his old colleagues from Real Madrid.


Sánchez retired from Spanish football on 29 May 1997, playing with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. His last official game was during the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, where he touched the ball as a symbol of his retirement.

International career

Sánchez made 58 appearances for Mexico between 1977 and 1994, scoring 29 goals. [2] Prior to representing the senior side, as a teenager he represented Mexico at the 1975 Pan American Games on home soil, where he won a gold medal, [18] and at the 1976 Summer Olympics. [3] [19] He participated in three FIFA World Cup tournaments, making 8 World Cup appearances in total, and scoring once. [3] He helped Mexico win the 1977 CONCACAF Championship to seal qualification for the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina; [20] at the age of 19, he took part in the final tournament, where Mexico lost all three of their group games and suffered a first round elimination. [3]

After Mexico failed to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, Sánchez was a part of the Mexico team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup on home soil, losing out to eventual runners-up West Germany in a penalty shootout. [21] He scored his only World Cup goal during his nation's opening match of the tournament on 3 June, the winning goal in a 2–1 victory over Belgium, [3] [22] although he also missed a penalty in Mexico's second group match against Paraguay, and was later booked, causing him to miss the final group match. [3] [23] Four years later, however, Mexico once again missed out on the final tournament as they were suspended from the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. [3]

Despite his advancing age, he later played a key role in helping Mexico to the final of the 1993 Copa América, at the age of 35; he scored once in a 2–0 victory over Ecuador in the semi-finals, although Mexico eventually finished as runners-up to Argentina. [3] [24] Sánchez later also appeared at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States, his final major tournament, where Mexico suffered a round of 16 elimination; he made his only appearance in the tournament on 19 June, in Mexico's opening match of the competition, a 1–0 defeat to Norway. [3]

Managerial career


In March 2000, Sánchez became manager of UNAM, who were struggling in the league, signing a two-year deal. Although the team went on to have a good campaign under his leadership, differences between the club president and Sánchez resulted in his sacking in August of that year.

After Jimenez Espriu resigned as the club president a year later, the new president, Luis Regueiro, appointed Sánchez as head coach in November 2001.

After building his team up for a number of years, by 2004 Sánchez' Pumas had won everything they played in: Clausura 2004, Apertura 2004, Champion of Champions 2004 and the Santiago Bernabéu Cup. He also became the only manager in history to lead a Mexican team to two consecutive championships in the Mexican Primera División in the "short tournament" format (South American format).

Unfortunately the success was short lived. Pumas became the worst team of the tournament the following season and in Winter 2005 were having the worst year in its history. Sánchez decided to resign in November 2005.

Club Necaxa, another Mexican team, signed him as a head coach in 2006, and he also became the coach of the Mexico national team that year.

He became coach of La Liga's Almería in early 2009, but after accomplishing the goal of avoiding relegation from La Liga, and despite on 2 June 2009 the Almeria chairman Alfonso García announcing the renewal of his contract, [25] he was released on 20 December 2009.


After briefly managing Club Necaxa, Sánchez was named head coach of the Mexico national team, with the aim of leading Mexico through the qualification process for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

During his coaching career especially, Sánchez became known for his volatile temperament and his willingness to speak candidly, often expressing strong emotions and opinions, a trait that engenders equally emotional and strong responses from those he criticizes. He had a long-standing feud with former Mexico national Coach, Ricardo La Volpe.

Sánchez's first match as Mexico coach was a 2–0 loss to the United States in Phoenix, Arizona in February, 2007. Sánchez recorded his first victory against Venezuela, a 3–1 win in front of 67,000 fans in San Diego. Hugo's first game in Mexico took place against Paraguay in Monterrey on 25 March 2007, which Mexico won 2–1. A few days later on 28 March 2007, Mexico defeated Ecuador 4–2 in Oakland, California.

In June, 2007 Sánchez coached Mexico in the 2007 edition of the Gold Cup, his first official competition. After struggling in the first stages of the tournament, México reached the final 24 June 2007 and lost 2–1 against the US.

On 27 June 2007, in the opening game of the 2007 Copa América held in Venezuela, Sánchez led the Mexico national team to a stunning 2–0 win Brazil, Hugo's first major victory as a coach. After easing through the group stage of the tournament, Hugo led the team to the semi-finals (beating Paraguay 6–0 in the quarter-finals) where they were beaten 3–0 by Argentina. Mexico ended the tournament in third place by defeating Uruguay 3–1.

In August 2007, Sánchez announced that Mexico would permanently, or at least in his time coaching the team, drop their famous green home kit, replacing it with their white away kit, meaning that their new away kit would be red. For this decision, Sánchez was subject of a lot of criticism. The two main arguments against him were that the decision was breaking a long-standing Mexican tradition, yet the strongest critics suggested that he should devote more time to the strategy and training of the Mexico team rather than entertaining himself with superfluous features of the sport.

In March 2008, Sánchez suffered poor results, including draws with Australia and Finland, [ citation needed ] and a loss at home in Querétaro against Ecuador's U-23 team. Disappointing results continued in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualification, a draw with Canada and a loss to Guatemala. His only victory was a 5–1 win against Haiti. Mexico were eliminated from the Pre-Olympic qualifying tournament on goal difference.

On 31 March 2008, Hugo Sánchez was fired from his post as Mexican head coach.

Style of play

"When a player scores a goal like that, play should be suspended and a glass of champagne offered to the 80,000 fans that witnessed it."

Leo Beenhakker referring to Sánchez’s overhead kick goal against Logroñés in 1988. [26]

Nicknamed Hugol and Pentapichichi, Sánchez was a prolific goalscorer, who usually played as a centre-forward; he is widely regarded as Mexico's greatest-ever footballer, and one of the greatest players of his generation. [1] [3] A quick and mobile striker, with good skills and an eye for goal, he was known for his intelligence, positional sense, movement, and anticipation in the area, and was an accurate and efficient finisher, who was capable of scoring with few touches. [1] [3] [16] [27] Due to his athleticism, Sánchez was good in the air, despite his diminutive stature, and was also known for his ability to score acrobatic and flamboyant goals from spectacular strikes and volleys from any position on the pitch, both inside or outside the area; his mastery of the "Chilena", or "Bicycle kick", was a result of his own early training in gymnastics, and his goals scored in this manner were later dubbed Huguinas. [1] [3] [28] His trademark was to perform a celebratory somersault followed by a fist pump after each goal he scored, in honour of his sister, who was a gymnast and participated in the Montreal Olympics. [3] [29] Sánchez is considered to be the first noted exponent of the backflip. [30]

According to his FIFA profile, Sánchez is credited as the creator of the scorpion kick, which was later popularised by Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita. Though he regularly practised the trick in training, the Mexican striker never scored a goal with it in an official match. [3]

An accurate penalty taker, Sánchez held the record for most penalties scored in La Liga with 56, until Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record in 2017 after scoring his 57th penalty-kick. [31]

Outside football

Personal life

Sanchez in 2008 Huguito.jpg
Sánchez in 2008

Hugo Sánchez is the son of Héctor Sánchez, who was also a footballer who played for Asturias F.C. and Atlante. Sánchez is currently married to Isabel (née Martín), and has two children, a son and an older daughter from his previous marriage. His son, Hugo Sánchez Portugal, was also a footballer and played for UNAM and Atlante. He also has two daughters from his current marriage. On 8 November 2014, Sánchez Portugal died from the effects of a gas leak in a Mexico City apartment as stated by the Mexican Red Cross. [32]

In 2006, Sánchez was appointed as the official FIFA/SOS Ambassador for Mexico, joining Wayne Rooney (Ambassador for England), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands), and fifty others in fund raising for the official 2006 FIFA World Cup Charity. [33]

On 1 September 2007, Sánchez inaugurated a street with his name in Puebla, central Mexico, before a thousand of the locals around there. [34]


As of January 2015, Sánchez is a commentator for ESPN in Mexico and the United States. He had previously served as a guest analyst during their coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup before featuring as a regular analyst. [35]

Career statistics


UNAM 1976–77277----277
San Diego Sockers (loan)19791712----1712
Atlético Madrid 1981–8220854202712
Real Madrid 1985–863322521154929
América 1992–932911--673518

Rayo Vallecano

Atlante 1994–953113----3113
Linz 1995–96206----206
Dallas Burn 19962511----2511
Celaya 1996–97122----122
Career total68440078496338823487

Sources: [36] [37]


Mexico national team

International goals



Last updated 17 June 2019

UNAM 1 Flag of Mexico.svg 200020001474350%2520+5
Mexico 2 Flag of Mexico.svg 20002000311133.3%67-1
UNAM 3 Flag of Mexico.svg 2001200519282605041.67%290275+15
Club Necaxa Flag of Mexico.svg 20062006724128.57%811-3
Mexico Flag of Mexico.svg 2006200825148356%4329+14
Mexico U-23 4 Flag of Mexico.svg 20082008824225%106+4
Almería 5 Flag of Spain.svg 20082009421321830.95%4969-20
Pachuca 6 Flag of Mexico.svg 201220122497837.5%23230

1Includes results from Liga MX
2Includes only results from 2000 U.S. Cup
3Includes results from Liga MX, Campeón de Campeones, 2003 Copa Libertadores, CONCACAF Champions' Cup 2005 and Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu
4Includes results from 2008 CONCACAF Men's Pre-Olympic Tournament and under-23 international friendly matches
5Includes results from La Liga, Copa del Rey and Trofeo Lagarto de Jaén
6Includes results from Liga MX and Copa MX




Atlético Madrid

Real Madrid










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  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2009-04-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  14. 1 2 "Hugo Sánchez, a 30 años de firmar con el Real Madrid". ESPN Deportes (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  15. McTear, Euan. "The seven years that saw Emilio Butragueño and Hugo Sánchez score 43% of Real Madrid's goals". These Football Times. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  16. 1 2 "The Hugo Sánchez record that'll never be broken". Marca. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  17. "Hugo Sanchez's incredible Real Madrid record remains unbeaten". Marca. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  18. Neil Morrison (12 December 2008). "Panamerican Games 1975 (Mexico) - Match Details". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  19. Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Hugo Sánchez". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC . Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  20. Karel Stokkermans; Sergio Henrique Jarreta (3 January 2000). "World Cup 1978 Qualifying". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  21. "Germany Fr (0-0) Mexico". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  22. "Belgium (1-2) Mexico". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  23. GEORGE VECSEY (8 June 1986). "PARAGUAY TIES MEXICO, 1-1". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  24. Martín Tabeira (31 October 2013). "Copa América 1993". Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  25. "Hugo Sanchez To Stay On As Almeria Coach - Reports -". 2 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  26. Flint, Andrew. "Hugo Sánchez: the goalscoring sensation who broke down barriers at Real Madrid". These Football Times. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  27. "Cristiano Ronaldo equals Liga penalty record". 15 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  28. Simpson, Paul. "Who the hell is Hugo Sanchez?". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  29. Andaló, Paula. "Hugo Sánchez, con alas en los pies" (in Spanish). Univision. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  30. "Bravo Bernardo, from duffer to dubber". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  31. ESPN Staff (2017-02-28). "Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo passes Hugo Sanchez's La Liga penalty record". ESPN FC. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  32. "error404". 20 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  33. "Hugo Sánchez to attend 6 villages for 2006 opening in Morelia". SOS Children's Villages. Archived from the original on 2008-06-28. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  34. "Inaugurada en México la calle Hugo Sánchez". El País . Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  35. "Mexican Soccer Legend Hugo Sanchez Gets A New Gig". Latin Times . Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  36. Utilisateur, Super. "El Aguanis - Ficha HUGO SANCHEZ Márquez". Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  37. "Hugo Sánchez (Hugo Sánchez) - Infoatleti" . Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  38. Hugo Sánchez Márquez - Goals in International Matches
  39. "Legends". Golden Foot. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  40. "Matches of FIFA XI". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  41. "IFFHS announce the 48 football legend players". IFFHS. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.

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