Gabriel Humberto Calderón (born 7 February 1960) is a former Argentine football midfielder and coach who currently manages Al-Wasl. Calderón played in several teams including Argentine Racing Club de Avellaneda and Club Atlético Independiente, Spanish Real Betis and French Paris Saint-Germain. He was part of the Argentina Under-20 team that won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship, and also played in the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. After his retirement, he managed Caen, Lausanne Sports and several teams in the Middle East including the Saudi Arabian national team, Omani national team, Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal, Baniyas and Bahraini national team. He also managed La Liga side Real Betis.
He was born on 7 February 1960 in Rawson, Chubut Province. He began his football career in with Club El Porvenir B team in 1974 and was promoted to the original squad in 1976.
He was promoted to the El Porvenir original team in 1976 and was transferred to the Racing Club de Avellaneda in the next year after good showing and played three seasons and a half season at Club Atlético Lanús as loan.
Then, he played for Club Atlético Independiente for two seasons before moving to La Liga side, Real Betis. He played for Betis 131 times and scored 38 goals for them. In 1987, he moved to Ligue 1 Paris Saint-Germain and played for the club three seasons. He was one of the key players of PSG in his second season at the club. In 1990, he joined to FC Sion but returned to France to play for Stade Malherbe Caen in 1992. He moved back to Switzerland next year and finished his football career in FC Lausanne-Sport in 1994 at the age of 34.
He played for the Argentina Under-20 team and won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship. In 1981, he was invited to the national team by coach César Luis Menotti. He made his debut in a match against Brazil and scored his only international goal in a match against Denmark. He was part of the national team in 1982 FIFA World Cup held in Spain and in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and played along with Diego Maradona. He was key player of the national team in 1990 FIFA World Cup where Argentina reached the final match of the tournament. After the tournament, he retired from international career at the age of 30 after collecting 23 caps and scoring 1 goal for the Argentina national football team.
Calderón began his managerial career in 1997 as head coach of Stade Malherbe Caen where he had played between 1992 and 1993. He was appointed as head coach of Lausanne Sports, another former club in 2003 but resigned after just five weeks due to poor results.
Calderón then took over as the coach for the Saudi Arabia national football team at the end of 2004, and successfully guided the Saudi team to qualification for the Football World Cup 2006 in Germany by beating Uzbekistan 3–0 in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia was the only team in that qualification that lost no matches. Calderón said "Qualifying to the World Cup is the dream of every coach and I'm more than satisfied with our campaign in the qualifiers." "I'm very happy with the qualification since that was the goal I was aiming at when I first arrived in the Kingdom," he added.
However, in December 2005, Calderón was fired by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation as they were dissatisfied by the team's poor showing in the 2005 West Asian Games after a defeat to Iraq, and was replaced by Marcos Paqueta.
On 9 April 2007, Calderón signed as the coach of the Oman national football team and led the team at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. Oman began the tournament with a 1–1 draw with Australia but was defeated 0–2 against co-host Thailand, then made a 0–0 draw with the tournament's winner, Iraq and was eliminated in the Group Stage. On 30 June 2008, he resigned as head coach of Oman national football team in order to become the new head coach of Saudi Al-Ittihad.
On 30 June 2008, he returned to Saudi Arabia to become new Al-Ittihad head coach. In his first season at Al-Ittihad, he eventually won the Saudi Premier League by beating Al-Hilal 2–1 in the final match of the league played at King Fahad Stadium in Riyadh and finished the season in first place, five points behind of runner-up, Al-Hilal. However, there was no success in the league, as Al-Ittihad were eliminated from the 2008 ACL and lost the final game of King Cup of Champions to Al-Shabab. In the second and final season at Al-Ittihad, he won King Cup of Champions which beat Al-Hilal in the final match. He also led the club to the final match of 2009 AFC Champions League, win the Group A and defeated compatriot Al-Shabab 2–1 in the Round of 16. Then, beat Uzbek Pakhtakor 5–1 aggregate and Nagoya Grampus 8–3 to reach to the final. They faced Pohang Steelers in Tokyo, Japan but was beaten by Korean side 1–2 and finished the tournament as runner-up. Two months after that, Calderón resigned from his position as Al-Ittihad's head coach. He was linked to Argentina national football team to succeed Diego Maradona in 2010.
On 5 November 2010, Calderón was announced as the new head coach of Al-Hilal. Calderón would succeed Eric Gerets who departed to take charge of the Moroccan national team. He led the club to become 2010–11 league champions without any loss, and to the Crown Prince Cup title. He also led the club to the knockout stage of 2011 ACL but was defeated by his former club, Al-Ittihad in the Round of 16. Despite his achievements at the club, he was dismissed at the end of the season and on 19 July 2011 following the club's 3–0 defeat to league rivals Al Ittihad in the first leg of 2011 King Cup of Champions.
On 23 November 2011, he was appointed as UAE Pro-League side Baniyas SC's head. Baniyas was in 11th place before his arrival and was at the bottom of the league along with Sharjah but he saved the club from relegation and finished the league in 9th place. He also led the club to the final match of the UAE President's Cup but was defeated by Al-Jazira. Under his management, Baniyas reached the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League for the first time in the club's history but was defeated by Al-Hilal, Calderón's former side in the Round of 16. After this defeat, he announced that he would not renew his contract with Baniyas. He officially left the club on 30 May 2012. He was linked to Persepolis in June 2012 but that job went to Manuel José.
On 28 October 2012, Calderón was announced as head coach of Bahrain national football team to succeed Peter Taylor after the latter's dismissal. His first taste as manager came on 9 December 2012 in match with Yemen in 2012 West Asian Football Federation Championship. He was sacked on 13 August 2013.
He was appointed as head coach of La Liga side Real Betis on 19 January 2014, replacing Juan Carlos Garrido.As of 21 March 2015
Runner-up (1): 1988–89
Swiss Super League:
Winner (1): 1991–92
Winner (1): 1991
FIFA World Youth Championship:
Winner (1): 1979
FIFA World Cup:
Runner up (1): 1990
AFC Champions League:
Runner-up (1): 2009
Saudi Premier League:
Winner (1): 2008–09
King Cup of Champions:
Winner (1): 2010
Runner-up (1): 2008, 2009
Saudi Premier League:
Winner (1): 2010–11
Crown Prince Cup:
Winner (1): 2011
UAE President's Cup:
Runner-up (1): 2012