Tug of war

Where’s he going?

Guillermo Barros Schelotto is a very popular man in Argentina right now. Eight months ago, he left Boca Juniors, where he’d become one of the most succesful players in the club’s history, to move to Columbus Crew of the MLS in the United States. On Tuesday it emerged that his boyhood club Gimnasia La Plata want him back – and Independiente are competing for his signature. Any further twists? Oh, Boca might want him in as manager…

‘Someone close to him has had a word and the consensus is very positive,’ Independiente manager Pedro Troglio told Radio Mitre. ‘Why wouldn’t we want to sign him?’ Incoming Gimnasia manager Guillermo Sanguinetti is also a friend of Barros Schelotto’s, and directors of both sides have already begun negotiations to ‘repatriate’ the star. Barros Schelotto, known in Argentina as El Mellizo, has a one-month old son who he recently returned to Argentina to see, as well as his other two children, and it could well be that he’s not fond of the idea of life away from such a young family. He has one year remaining on his MLS contract but told reporters, ‘I’m going to take until the end of the year to think it over.’

Which may give Boca a bit of time to shoehorn themselves into his thinking, because the Xeneize could be hoping the player won’t want to be a player at all for much longer – Juan Román Riquelme returned along with the rest of Boca’s squad from the Club World Cup in Japan today, and found himself having to answer media questions on the issue. Riquelme had supposedly hat a chat on the phone with his friend, and some of the press seemed to think that he – a player – was involved in trying to talk Barros Schelotto into taking the managership of the club, following Miguel Angel Russo’s failure to steer the team to victory against Milan in the final of the tournament.

‘It seems to me that it’s lack of respect and a great shame,’ was Riquelme’s response. ‘I never spoke with [club] president Pompilio about those things, I’m just one of the squad, I’m not a director. Whether to keep or change the technical body is their decision.’

One way or the other, it looks like Guille’s coming back to Argentina. But to which club, and in what capacity? Time will tell…

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