Luciano Figueroa steps down as manager of Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim

Luciano Figueroa is stepping down as Johor Darul Ta’zim manager. Power Sport Images

Former Argentina international Luciano Figueroa has quit as manager of Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim FC and is returning home for family reasons, the club said on Wednesday.

Figueroa, who played 15 times for Argentina, had been instrumental in JDT's run of success as both a player and manager since joining the club in late 2013.

The pinnacle of his time in Malaysia came in 2015 when he was a key member of the squad that won the AFC Cup, the first time a club from the country had claimed a continental title.

He had two stints with JDT as a player before taking over as manager in 2018 and leading them to the Malaysia Super League title in 2019 and 2020.

Such is Figueroa's status at the club that a stand at the new Sultan Ibrahim Stadium, which was opened earlier this year, was named after him.

"I leave with very fond memories and I was deeply touched by the gesture of naming a stand at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium after me," Figueroa said. "It has been a wonderful journey, winning multiple trophies and making countless new friends that I now call family.

The club also announced Brazilian forward Diogo Luis Santo will leave after their 2020 Malaysia Cup campaign following two seasons in Johor. The 33-year-old Diogo is set to return to Thailand where he is expected to sign for Thai League 1 leaders BG Pathum United. The Brazilian had signed for JDT from Thai giants Buriram United in 2019.

JDT announced that Fernando Rodriguez will replace Diogo in their 2020 AFC Champions League squad while former Vancouver Whitecaps and Gyeongnam FC striker Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo will replace the Brazilian in the longer run.

Reuters contributed to this report.