What's in store for Juan Carlos Osorio after overseeing Mexico at the World Cup?
Mexico's 1-0 victory over Scotland on Saturday was likely Juan Carlos Osorio's last game in charge of El Tri in Mexico.
The official line from the Colombian has been that the prospect of leading a generational change within the Mexican national team and bringing through younger players is appealing. And while he hasn't ruled that out if Mexico has a good World Cup, it's become almost an open secret that the 56-year-old Osorio will be looking for fresh pastures after Russia 2018.
There have already even been rumors about a potential meeting between Andre Villa-Boas and the Mexican federation in Europe in coming days, as El Tri anticipates a future without Osorio.
Boos rang out and calls of "Osorio out" erupted from the Estadio Azteca stands toward the end of the victory against Scotland. But despite not being the most popular figure in Mexico, Osorio's stock has risen outside the country during his time with El Tri. Winning two-thirds of the games and qualifying Mexico to the World Cup with ease naturally helps, but so has the way he has maintained his dignity and stuck to his principles in the face of some fierce criticism. Others might have buckled in what Osorio has described as "one of the most difficult jobs in football."
It's a great irony that while Mexico fans haven't taken to Osorio, the 56-year-old was offered a new contract by the federation over the winter and won't be short of job opportunities if he does move on. In April, Osorio told ESPN FC that he would be interested in "two or three" jobs and that European clubs had been in contact.
"People contacting me? Yes. I would say there has been enough interest," Osorio said. "But I keep saying to everybody the reasons why I would be interested in what you are offering are A, B and C."
Osorio is likely to want to take his time to weigh up his next move, despite sporadic reports stating he already has a job lined up. And there is little chance Osorio will be distracted by his own future during Russia 2018, which is the biggest opportunity of his career.
"Anything would have to be done after the World Cup, not before, because my main objective now is to have a good World Cup and earn my right to be asked to continue with Mexico, and then I will decide," he said in the same interview with ESPN.
A good World Cup and top of Osorio's list would likely be England, the country in which he spent two years studying in Liverpool and worked as a conditioning coach and then assistant manager at Manchester City.
The bilingual former Atletico Nacional manager respects the physicality and the challenges of countering direct football in the Premier League, and becoming the first Colombian -- and only seventh South American -- to manage there would be a major achievement.
Osorio's trips to Europe over the past year have seen him visit Arsene Wenger, Louis van Gaal, Sir Alex Ferguson, Gareth Southgate, Julen Lopetegui and Guus Hiddink, amongst others. The mission is to squeeze knowledge and bits of information out to improve himself as a coach, but networking in Europe also puts his name into managerial circles.
Managing in La Liga and the Bundesliga would also likely appeal to Osorio, although the problem -- like with England -- is that when Mexico's participation comes to a close in Russia there likely won't be too many positions still open.
That opens the door to national teams, even if Osorio has said he misses working and developing players on a day-to-day basis.
As far as the U.S. is concerned, Osorio has admitted that the job would appeal to him, and it isn't difficult to see why. He's spent a large portion of his adult life in the United States, knows the game well there, and the opportunity exists to create something special with a young group of players hungry to make up for the disastrous 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Then there is the Colombia job, which might become vacant at the end of the World Cup as well, with Argentine Jose Pekerman expected to leave. Osorio is held in high esteem in his homeland and would be a natural front-runner for the role given his success at Atletico Nacional and his experience at the international level with Mexico.
Making history with Mexico is the priority right now for Osorio, but seeing which direction his career heads after Russia 2018 also promises to be interesting.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.