Racing to change and Boca’s double-ten

Julio Falcioni is reported to be very close to taking over as Racing’s new manager, before stand-in Claudio Cristofanelli has even had a chance to manage a first-team game. Elsewhere, Boca Juniors manager Carlos Ischia has an interesting plan to bring back Juan Román Riquelme from injury without upsetting the in-form Leandro Gracián – play them both.

Falcioni has steered teams away from relegation in the past, most notably Olimpo, and told Radio Mitre that, ‘it’s not so difficult to avoid relegation… you just have to get points.’ Well, when he puts it like that… The fans would prefer Juan Manuel Llop or Leonardo Astrada, who’ve recently parted company with, respectively, Banfield and Colón. But this is Racing Club, where the fans matter less than perhaps anywhere else in Argentina. So they’re seemingly getting Falcioni. If he manages them away from trouble, great. If not, expect yet another march on Blanquiceleste HQ…

Riquelme’s imminent return from injury for Boca, meanwhile, is the kind of selection headache a lot of coaches would love to have. Carlos Ischia would normally just stick him straight back in between the midfield and attack and let him get on with it – but he’s reckoned without Leandro Gracián’s brilliant form during Riquelme’s absence. Gracián has enjoyed a good run of goalscoring form lately, but he’s also been creating for his team-mates and has been key in several of their recent victories, not least the epic 4-3 win over Colo Colo in the Copa Libertadores last week. It’s somewhat ironic that a player brought in midway through 2007 to replace Riquelme after the latter returned to Villarreal, and so singularly failed to live up to the role, should now be competing with him for a starting spot.

Exactly how the formation would look isn’t entirely clear, but Ischia has insisted that ‘it wouldn’t be impossible for Riquelme and Gracián to play together… they have different characteristics, and they both have a lot of talent.’ We shall see how the grand plan unfolds.


6 thoughts on “Racing to change and Boca’s double-ten

  1. Great news in my opinion about the possibility of JRR and Gracian playing together. All too often Riquelme is left to set up Palermo or Palacio with his through balls, but is very underutilized nearer the goal. With Gracian taking the reins at times, Riquelme can work his way into the area and be on the receiving end himself. And, he’s a much better finisher than either Palermo or Palacio. To use a basketball analogy, Boca can post JRR down low and let him go one on one with his man or draw a double team and pass out to someone who has a more clear opportunity to score. And if it doesn’t pan out, no big deal. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  2. Not bad idea, but putting Gracian in means taking Vargas or Ledesma or Cardozo, if not Battaglia out.
    Neither of the four have been playing so bad (perhaps Ledesma, but still have the hunch that in any moment he could recover last year’s level).

  3. My good friend Bostero has an ongoing love affair with Cardozo and Ledesma that persists despite my efforts to dissuade him of this irrational stance ! Of course he has been following Boca since the days of Presidente Ramon Castillo and will not listen !!

  4. Ja, ja!
    You’re right, Johnny.
    I admit the two of them (Neri and Ledesma) are not in their highlight moment, but remeber also that both have played last year in Basile’s Seleccion. Also, I’ll show you one day the tape when Ledesma made, if not his debut, sure one of his first matches in the High League: it was a easy rival, in an easy circunstance: 2004, semifinal of the Libertadores Cup, against River (!!). He played at tone with all the rest, and shoot and score one of the definition penalties.
    Sure no bostero will forgot him ever!!

  5. I would add JRR and remove Neri.

    I cannot appreciate Neri. He loses too many balls. He must have had great games on days/nights when I cannot watch Boca, because I have not seen Neri do consistently better than Ledesma, Gracian or Vargas.

  6. Right, Neri loses possession alot and he pouts when he doesn’t get playing time. However, as he showed the other night against Colo Colo, he has a very accurate shot. And another basketball analogy-he reminds me of a pure shooting 2 guard who can’t play much defense. A role player.

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: