Sadness has engulfed the international footballing community following the death of the Uruguayan Anibal Ruiz, popularly known as el Mano (the Hand), on the evening of 10 March in Mexico.
Ruiz, 74, suffered a heart attack on the pitch prior to a Liga MX game that Puebla, a team in which he was assistant to Jose Saturnino Cardozo, were due to play against Veracruz at the Estadio Luis "Pirata" Fuente.
"We lament the death of our dear and respected assistant coach Prof. Anibal Ruiz," a Puebla statement read. "We send our most sincere condolences to his whole family. Thank you, Mano, for your commitment to the Mexican football family. Rest in peace."
— LIGA Bancomer MX (@LIGABancomerMX) March 11, 2017
Ruiz's playing days spanned more than a decade, but it was his outstanding coaching career for which he will be best remembered. He served as coach, manager and assistant in different club sides across South and central America, including in Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico and his native Uruguay. Ruiz made the step up to international level too, taking the reins at El Salvador in 1992 and Paraguay between 2002 and 2006.
With the Albirroja, after replacing Cesare Maldini, Ruiz was named South American Coach of the Year in 2005 by the prestigious publication El Pais and led the country's national side a year later at the FIFA World Cup™ in Germany.
Reaction to the tragic news quickly spread across social media, where many clubs, players and federations expressed their respect towards the Uruguayan, and their sadness at his passing.
Que en paz descanses Aníbal "Maño" Ruiz. ¡Hasta siempre Profe! pic.twitter.com/bwlm8qkJKa
— Selección Paraguaya (@Albirroja) March 11, 2017