It’s a new era at Boca Juniors, where on Tuesday Pedro Pompilio, the man who played a major part in Juan Román Riquelme’s return last week to his boyhood club, was named the club’s new president after Mauricio Macri passed on the mandate to him. Elsewhere, River Plate are in trouble again and Diego Simeone’s having a crunch meeting with Estudiantes’ directors…
‘This marvellous club that I have presided over, I leave in Pedro’s hands,’ smarmed the outgoing Macri. ‘I leave the club with sixteen championships [won during Macri’s time in office] and I have an uncommon faith in the plans for this institution.’ Pompilio was rather humbler, accepting the post as, ‘an honour as a member and a fan.’ The new president claims he’ll focus his work on developing the club’s young players. Which is nice.
What isn’t so pleasant is the situation River Plate may soon find themselves in. Readers with long memories will remember that back before the Apertura began, Ernesto Farías was all set to move from River to Toluca of Mexico, before personal circumstances encouraged him to renege on his part of the agreement, and join Portugese champions Porto instead. Heaven knows why, but Toluca blamed the whole thing on River. Mexico’s clubs are owned by a few large corporations – one company often owns more than one club – and on Tuesday a meeting of club owners ended with the announcement, from the head of the FMF (Federación Méxicana del Fútbol) that ‘no [Mexican] clubs will enter into transfer dealings with River Plate.’
Better news for the Núñez club could be just round the corner, though. Diego Simeone, one of the men who heads the list of River’s targets to replace Daniel Passarella as team manager, spent an hour in a meeting with Estudiantes officials on Tuesday, as well as talking at length with midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón. Simeone has already requested that Verón’s contract be renewed as one of the prerequisites for his own continued presence at the club. After last year’s Apertura win, he’s highly valued by the board, but Verón is attracting interest, reportedly, from MLS in the United States, and the financial offer might be too good for Estudiantes to turn down.
Rumours flying around La Plata included Verón having everything already agreed for his transfer, to Simeone being on the verge of signing for River – to the rather less well-forecasted idea that El Cholo might instead take over as manager of Boca. This last one has come in spite of Diego Maradona, who’s set to take on a technical assessor’s role at La Bombonera, insisting Simeone isn’t in his plans.