Stuck in the middle

Whilst Argentina’s other big clubs got their pre-seasons underway on Thursday, Racing manager Miguel Micó was rather less pleased with his situation. River and Boca have been engaged in transfer dealings, Estudiantes have been bitching about their ex manager, Vélez have been welcoming a new boss and San Lorenzo take to the training pitch with an almost unchanged squad but for the return of goalie Sebastián Saja from Brazil after a year with Grêmio. Racing, meanwhile, have been at civil war.

The squad of La Academia are due to travel to the Andean northwest on Monday, where they’ll commence pre-season training in Salta ahead of the Torneo de Verano kickoff. Micó and his players may not end up travelling, though, because the footballers are involved in a long-running and increasingly public dispute with the business that owns and runs Racing, Blanquiceleste, over unpaid wages.

Micó was putting a brave face on things on Thursday, telling the media that, ‘we started well, with a good turnout of players… we hope the problems will be solved very soon. Today I’m satisfied, because there were doubts about whether the players would turn up, but they came.’ Micó went on to add that on Friday and Saturday, the squad for the pre-season matches would be finalised. ‘We’re going to go for pre-season with about 33 players, because we’ve got three matches ahead of us and we don’t want to be caught out.’

Regarding the dispute between his players and his employers, Micó simply affirmed his belief that between now and Monday, an agreement will be reached which all parties will be satisfied with. If not, Racing’s pre-season will be taking place in Buenos Aires and they’ll have some very long journies to play their matches. Micó, of course, is rather stuck as to what he can say about it all. With Racing in the relegation spots, he needs results during the Clausura. If he doesn’t get them, Blanquiceleste won’t look kindly on him – but then, with the way they’re running the club, he’s hardly being given the ideal conditions to work in…

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