Juan Román Riquelme’s two magnificent free kicks on Saturday night, followed by Argentines bombarding Spanish football websites to let Chilean manager Mauricio Pellegrini know that he really should be considering Riquelme for inclusion in Villarreal’s side, will not apparently be enough to save the playmaker’s bacon at the Spanish side. ‘We’re hoping that in December [when the Spanish transfer window opens] we can find a solultion that’s dignified for everyone,’ said club director José Manuel Llaneza on Tuesday. This seems to rule out the possibility of Riquelme forcing his way back into the team before then – which presumably would be an undignified way for Pellegrini to admit he was wrong…
Another player with the selección is also being talked about here in Spain, with reports in the British gutter press claiming that Barcelona could buy Javier Mascherano, whose registration is still owned by Kia Joorabchian and MSI, and take him off Liverpool’s hands at the end of the season. With ‘only’ Touré Yaya in the midfield scrapper category, Mascherano’s arrival would certainly add to competition in Barça’s squad, where he’d join Lio Messi and Gaby Milito, but Barça sources have as yet refused to confirm the story.
Our lower division coverage hasn’t been so frequent (or indeed present at all) for the last few rounds of matches, owing to my trip getting in the way of having as much time as I’d like to update the site. This weekend’s round of matches in B Nacional started with a goalfest at home of the Zona Oeste’s oldest club, with Ferro thrashing Atlético Rafaela 4-2. Leaders Quilmes beat Instituto 2-0, whilst San Martín de Tucumán got an away win at struggling Ben Hur and Belgrano de Córdoba drew 1-1 away at Platense. Independiente Rivadavia de Mendoza’s match against Nueva Chicago was called off 36 minutes in after home fans threw a rock which hit Chicago team doctor Damián Pagano on the head, knocking him unconcious.
There had been talk before the match that some home fans already on the ‘right of admission’ blacklist for previous acts of violence in the stadium would try and enter the ground, and there were goings-on in the stands during the early part of the match to suggest that that’s exactly what happened. The third time was the rock which hit Pagano. It was the first such act since the start-of-season declaration that all matches in the Ascenso would be played in front of home fans only, and the cloud hangs over Argentine football, its authorities, and most of all the idiot minority of its ‘fans’, once again.
With most sides having now played ten matches (Almagro still have to take on Chacarita), Quilmes and San Martín de Tucumán are on 19 points each, with Belgrano de Córdoba on 18 and Godoy Cruz on 16. At the bottom, Almagro (9) CAI (8) and Ben Hur (7) all have yet to break into double figures, whilst Instituto, Tiro Federal and Chicago sit only just above them, all on ten. Platense’s Daniel Vega, with 9, leads the goalscoring chart.