The latest round of games in the Clausura saw Estudiantes take the sole leadership of the table in the sweetest of ways possible – by beating their city rivals Gimnasia in the La Plata derby. But as one half of the city celebrated, the other lamented the loss of their side’s manager. And then relaxed because he was staying. Meanwhile, the European seasons are barely over but already one Argentine has made a high-profile move.
Guillermo Sanguinetti clearly felt the defeat in the clásico was too much, and was prepared to take responsibility, handing in his notice on Monday and announcing that he was standing down from his charge. The Uruguayan manager gave as his reasons the bad results the side have had of late, and the shouts of the fans, directed in no small part at him. But Sanguinetti, a former favourite at El Lobo as a player, was talked into reversing his decision by club president Walter Gisande, who promised him a recruitment drive would be put into place come the winter break to attract better players to bolster the team in time for the Apertura.
Gisande also met with the playing squad and, it’s been reported, three players – Diego Villar, Ignacio Piatti and Renato Civelli – have all been told their involvement in the club may end with the Clausura. The emergency planning is thanks to the Promedio – at the end of this season, the 2005-2006 season, when the club finished runners-up to Boca in the Apertura, will no longer count towards their points average, and they’ll be in real danger of getting caught up in a relegation dogfight should they fail to win a good few points before the season ends.
Ezequiel Garay, meanwhile, has been much more decisive in his actions than Sanguinetti. The former Newell’s centre back has been mentioned as a transfer target for Manchester United and Barcelona as well as some of Italy’s top sides in recent months, but on Monday Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón confirmed what the club’s fanzines Madrid-based sports dailies AS and Marca had already anticipated. Madrid have paid Racing de Santander €10 million for the defender, who’s signed a six-year contract. The 21-year-old played for Newell’s before joining Racing de Santander in 2005. In the season just finished he scored ten goals, and will now join his compatriots Gabriel Heinze, Fernando Gago, Javier Saviola and Gonzalo Higuaín at the Santiago Bernabéu.