The publication of this editorial got pushed back by a few days because I was ill earlier in the week not not up to spending too much time typing, but it’s coincided nicely with the Arab new year. We’ve got a few readers in that part of the world, so happy new year to all of you, and although of course 2008 isn’t what it is there, everyone can read on for some suggested new year’s resolutions for Argentine football…
A new year begins, so here are some suggested new year’s resolutions for the major movers and shakers in Argentine football, from the clubs to the administrators to a few of the players. Of course, we all know what normally happens with new year’s resolutions, but here’s hoping at least some of these are heeded…
Arsenal de Sarandí
Another continental challenge would be welcome, but this time they can’t let it affect their league form as drastically as did their Copa Sudamericana campaign during the Apertura.
One resolution and one only: challenge for the title, defend the Copa Libertadores. With Riquelme now back permanently, anything less would be a major disappointment. Off the pitch, Pedro Pomilio needs to win back faith in his presidency – he’d better hope his manager Carlos Ischia delivers in style.
Stop talking about the old manager all the time, and start concentrating on working for the new one. With campaigns in the league and the Libertadores ahead, they’ll need to focus.
Idiot chairman Carlos Babington should shut up, pay the money he owes his players, and sort out the club’s training facilities at last. Oh, and pray to high Heaven that ex-centre back Claudio Ubeda takes to management spectacularly quickly. On the pitch, at least, a continuation of the form shown in the Apertura has to be the aim – the question is whether Ubeda’s the man to make that happen.
Keep feeding Germán Denis, give Freddy Grisales his chances as well, and try and stop conceding at silly times. Another title challenge shouldn’t be out of the question with the signings they’ve made. Oh, and stay away from stray canines…
Hang on to Diego Valeri until the season’s end if you can, and enjoy the Clausura.
Newell’s Old Boys
Another campaign to match the Apertura is needed if they’re going to stand a chance of pulling clear of the relegation zone in the Promedio table. Off the pitch, getting rid of some of those hoolies would be nice.
No longer looking like they might be heading for the drop, but the main resolution here is one for the directors. Blanquiceleste should be forced to listen to what the fans are saying, and whether or not it’s practicable to hand the club back over, should at the very least meet the demands for greater financial transparency and, if possible, presidential elections.
Where to begin? Actually, River’s new year resolution should be a simple one to come up with: win a trophy. As long as it’s more meaningful than the Torneo de Verano, any trophy will do. Off the pitch, Aguilar is another club president with questions to answer, in his case about his closeness to certain members of Los Borrachos del Tablón, the club’s barra brava. But with a presidential election coming up for River this year, he may not have to sweat about that too much longer.
Just try and win a game before you get halfway through the campaign this time, boys. Both Rosario clubs fighting against the drop simply isn’t how it’s meant to be.
On the face of it from the outside, he’s done well so far: leading Argentina to finish 2007 at the top of the world rankings and, despite the loss to Colombia, in an excellent position in the South American World Cup Qualifying group. But the fans aren’t yet won over and Basile needs to get the selección playing something more like a team. Less reliance on Riquelme might not be a bad start; brilliant though he is when he’s on the pitch, if he gets injured there’ll be trouble…
In an ideal footballing world, he’d resign as head of the AFA and FIFA vice-president, and drop off the face of the earth. But if I could impose just one resolution on him, which had to be kept, it would be this: change your attitude, man. Soundbites like, ‘I’m responsible for the football, not the security’ (in the wake of trouble following a second division clásico during last season’s Clausura) simply don’t wash. Andrew Jennings can fill you in on why Grondona’s a bad influence for world football generally, but that quote on its own tells you all you need to know about why Argentina in particular would be better off without him.
Ever Banega, Fernando Belluschi and anyone else on their way to Europe: be prepared to adapt but have confidence in your ability. Although señorito Banega might like to stay away from webcam chatrooms for a little while. Given the press reaction to his shenanigans last week (not reported on this site because frankly it has nothing to do with football), he should thank God he’s not moved to an English club.
Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano
If 2007 has taught you two anything at all, it should be to never accept offers from strangers, ever again. Stick where you both are right now and you won’t go too far wrong (although Javier, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’d be welcome at Old Trafford as well…).
Internazionale (a.k.a. Argentina A)
OK, you’ve done it without them: now win Serie A with Juve also competing. And Señor Cruz, keep up the good goalscoring form.
And finally, HEGS unofficial Man – sorry, Boy – Of 2007, Lionel Messi
Keep playing, keep thrilling us, keep doing the highly predictable but totally unstoppable, and keep popping up with those magic moments which are neither forseeable nor preventable. If it’s possible, keep improving at something like the same rate you have in the last twelve months. And this year, hope like hell that the voters in the end-of-year individual awards go for the player who deserves it, rather than the best player of the European Cup semi-final. Because if you have as good a year as you did in 2007, you should be cleaning up in eleven months’ time.
To read the last editorial, click here.