Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Over to you Carlos

The old adage that 'you should never go back' may have been popping into the mind of Carlos Bianchi of Boca Juniors over the preceding weeks. The legendary manager returned to the club last month for the 3rd time, but this time as technical director (think a more successful version of David Pleat with better suits). All is well on the field after securing the 2008 Apertura which seemed unlikely for long periods and also Saturday's win over River in the Torneo de Verano; although at Casa Amarilla things are less settled, Ischia's handling of certain players has resulted in some major headaches for the management team ahead of the Clasura. Despite claims that he wouldn't be involved in general team affairs the current conflicts have seen him dragged into the melee.

'Boca have ruined my career' moaned attacking midfielder Lucas Castroman to sports daily Ole. It has to be said that the player was hardly in the form of his life prior to joining Boca but he lays the blame for this firmly at the door of coach Carlos Ischia. He cites lack of first team chances coupled with an equal lack of explanation as to why he's being left out. So what next? If his wishes are granted a return to his first club Velez Sarsfield could be on the cards, particularly if the Fabbiani transfer to River goes through. 'I'm thirsty for revenge' I doubt whether Los Xeneizes are quaking in their boots.

Velez could also benefit from an even more poisonous spat between Boca and one time first choice goalkeeper Mauricio Caranta. Details are sketchy on the personal problems that Caranta refers to in interviews, alluding to issues with his daughter. One thing is for sure the boss and the keeper have had a major falling out. Either Caranta finds another club or he rots in the reserves. In view of the lack of details I'll call the whole affair a 'clash of personalities'. The player has today threatened to take legal action as this is the only option he feels is open to him now. 'My mother has been on the verge of a heart attack, my wife aswell' perhaps medical advice should be his more immediate concern. With one 'keeper ostracised the club this week welcomed back Roberto Abbondanzieri from Getafe.

One in, one out, keep moving.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Deepest Darkest Peru

The Estate Agents are 'suffering', the Bankers are 'suffering'. If today's reports from Peru are to be believed the advisors, agents and removal firms acting for Ariel Ortega could be in for a windfall. I covered Burrito's loan move to Mendoza last August and given the turbulent times at his beloved River in the Apertura and the departure of his nemesis Simeone I expected to see him back in Buenos Aires. But his next move could well be a little further away - to Peru's second most sucessful club Alianza Lima.

A large part of the reasoning for the approach seems to be a case of Alianza trying to get one over on their eternal city rivals Universitario, who've recently recruited homegrown hero Nolberto Solano. Signing Ortega would also divert some of the negative publicity surrounding Alianza's poor Apertura campaign. Add to that the inevitable rise in revenue and the move for a 'crack' with personal issues makes sense.

The player is apparently keen on the move. Negotiations however could be complex with not only River Plate but also his current loan club Independiente Rivadavia involved, where he's due to be until June.

Granted, Ortega is not the player he was but surely his talents deserve to grace the top division albeit the Peruvian one.

Hasta luego!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Racing's Loss is Velez's Gain

In a previous post relating to Racing Club I felt that that the new regime had to demonstrate to it's legions of fans that they were serious about dragging La Academia out of the doldrums. What better way was there to show this than retain the services (albeit on loan) of wonderkid Maxi Moralez? Today's news that Maxi has been snapped up by Velez Sarsfield will lead to sighs of resignation amongst the faithful in one half of Avellaneda. Misery piled upon misery following Racing's 4-0 reverse against Independiente at the weekend in the Torneo de Verano and claims of dressing room unrest.

Amid much mud slinging today each side had their say on who was to blame for the departure, with Maxi bleating that he didn't feel his staying at Racing was the boss' number one priority and he could have signed for Estudiantes or Velez last week but he held out for Racing. Llop countered by saying that they were never even close to retaining him contrary to press reports last week. It appears that money talked. It would have been disappointing enough for the fans if the player had returned to the frozen wastes of Moscow but to move down the road will be hard to swallow. Molina will need to act quickly to pacify the fans before the start of the Clasura campaign.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Not Pretty Enough!

The face of Carlos Tevez seemed to be everywhere when I made a visit to Argentina in July 2003. After playing a major role in Boca's 5th Copa Libertadores triumph I felt sure it'd only be a short while before the 19 year old would be in La Liga or Serie A. It took longer than I expected but Carlito made it to Europe in 2006 after winning over the hearts of Corinthians supporters (not easy for an Argentine) by surprisingly joining West Ham United in England. After securing the Hammers survival in the Premier League he finally made it to a club whose stature matched his own talents and ambitions: Manchester Utd.

I'm a massive fan of Tevez, I love the way he plays the game - his energy and fighting spirit and his honesty on the pitch. Combine this with his not inconsiderable skill and he's a perfect fit with Man United. Compared to some of team mates at Old Trafford he's almost tolerated by other fans in England too which is no mean feat. His current loan deal is due to end this summer and as yet the he hasn't been offered a permanent contract at Old Trafford. Throughout his spell at Old Trafford Tevez has been a model pro and very dignified given his contractual situation, compare this to Ronaldo's antics last summer. Newspaper reports in England over the weekend suggested that Sir Alex Ferguson has made an offer to Tevez which the player refutes and as such he has been openly critical of Sir in the Argentine media.

I fail to understand why Man United are stalling on this - is Tevez not pretty enough for them? Last minute goals at Blackburn and Spurs last season helped secure them the Championship - if he moves on will Berbatov run until his lungs bleed? If as has been suggested the lack of offer is due to the current economic situation but the club still managed to find £17m to sign 2 relatively untested Serbian players this week.

Not many players have publicly questioned or disagreed with Sir and stayed at Manchester United, the notable exception being the spoilt child Ronaldo. Real Madrid could secure the services of the 3 times South American Footballer of the Year which would be a sad loss for English football.
Hasta luego!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Another New Era?

January in the Northern Hemisphere is grim but the Prophets of Doom are piling on the agony by predicting further economic woes and global meltdown. For fans of Racing Club - one of Argentina's famed 'Big Five' the black clouds have been hanging around for many years now. From being Champions of the World in 1967 after the infamous battles against Celtic to scrapping for their lives to remain in the top flight the decline has been long and steady (except for one Apertura in 2001 and a second rate Supercopa in 1988). I have been trying to think of English clubs whose demise and turmoil compares to La Academia; a combination of Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United is the best I could come up with. This triangle of misery covers all things suffered by Racing in recent years: bankruptcy, fan protests, humiliation, boardroom bust-ups, a revolving managerial door and the sale of their brightest talents. Just before Christmas two significant events in Racing's recent history took place the club held it's first elections for President in 11 years and also the authorities finally ruled that the bankruptcy order could be lifted. The new President - Rodolfo Molina trotted out the usual platitudes about 'sleeping giants' and 'returning to greatness' on accepting his new post.

One of Molina's first major obstacles will be to try and extend star player Maxi Moralez's loan spell at Racing from FC Moscow for the forthcoming Clasura campaign. Negotiations will be complex with the small matter of outstanding debts to settle owed by Blanquiceleste - the private company brought in to run and administer the club. If Molina is successful in this the fans may start to believe he is the one to rescue the club; however it's an indication of how low La Academia has sunk when securing the services of a homegrown star for 6 months is perceived as progress. One step at a time.

One of the many reasons they want to keep Maxi in Avellaneda:

Hasta luego!