Al Taawoun appoint Arruabarrena as manager

Al Taawoun have appointed Argentine Rodolfo Arruabarrena to lead the team in next season’s Roshn Saudi League.

The Buraidah club, who finished an impressive fourth in the 2023-24 campaign under Brazilian Pericles Chamusca, confirmed the news of a one-year contract on Saturday.

Arruabarrena, 48, is no stranger to Gulf football having spent the majority of 13-year managerial career in the region. Having begun coaching in his native Argentina, which included two years at South American heavyweights Boca Juniors, the former international full-back moved to the UAE, where he initially managed Al Wasl with distinction.

In two years there, Arruabarrena guided the Dubai club to second- and third-place finishes in the UAE top flight, while he also reached the finals of both the UAE President’s Cup and League Cup.

A brief spell at Qatar’s Al Rayyan followed before Arruabarrena returned to the Emirates with Shabab Al Ahli in late 2018. He went on to lead the Dubai club to League Cup and UAE President’s Cup success in his first season, while also finishing runner-up in the league. In his second season, Shabab Al Ahli again contested the League Cup final.

After seven months at Pyramids FC in Egypt, Arruabarrena spent 15 months as UAE national team manager from February 2022 to May 2023. Installed towards the end of qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar, he guided the team through to the play-offs for the finals, where they lost to Australia.

A former defender, Arruabarrena played for the likes of Boca Juniors and Spain’s Villarreal, winning the Copa Libertadores with the former in 2000. He has already joined up with Al Taawoun at their pre-season training camp in Slovenia. In finishing fourth in last season’s RSL, the club will compete also in the 2024-25 AFC Champions League Two.

Rodolfo Arruabarrena at Villarreal