As was suspected yesterday, Ramón Díaz and Miguel Angel Russo both have new jobs, in charge of Club América de México and San Lorenzo respectively, but it’s players who’ve got the best stories today. Former Tigre striker Leandro Lázzaro has upset a few of his Estudiantes team-mates after refusing to play against his old club, and now seems set to leave the La Plata side, whilst Diego Armando Maradona has made yet another guest appearance in a match, this time for Lanús, at the end of which he spouted some guff about it always having been a dream of his to play for the Granate.
Lázzaro hasn’t been included for the last few of Estudiantes’ matches, after refusing to play against Tigre out of ‘respect’ for the club he left in January. That irked his current team-mates, who perhaps rightly feel they deserved a bit of respect from him as well, as has the low level of his performances for El Pincha in the current campaign, just six months after finishing second top scorer in the Apertura. The main sticking point has been the former factor, though, and not least because of the presence of certain vocal elements within the Estudiantes squad.
Of course, by ‘certain vocal elements’, I mean Juan Sebastián Verón. Seba wasn’t shy to put forward his belief that Lázzaro should have played against Tigre, and the rift looks like forcing Lázzaro out of the club. For his own part, Lázzaro had this to say; ‘Of course I’m not going to “feel” the shirt as much as [Verón and co. and the fans], I’ve only been at this club for four months… with [Verón] I don’t have any problems. As a reference point for the squad, as captain and as a player he’s extraordinary, everyone can see that. But the day-to-day business is different. For me, he’s a fraud… I don’t know whether Verón knows I feel this way, because he doesn’t talk to me. And if we don’t talk about the subject it’s because it doesn’t interest him.’ Since he was talking on national radio yesterday lunchtime, it’s almost certain Verón knows without having spoken to Lázzaro now. And it seems equally certain that he won’t be at Estudiantes come the start of the Apertura.
There was a guest appearance for Maradona in El Sur as he played one half for each team in a friendly between Lanús and Talleres de Remedios de Escalada as a fundraiser to prevent the latter club sliding into bankruptcy. El Diez scored from the penalty spot for Lanús in front of a packed stadium filled by a crowd who’d perhaps been drawn out from their homes by one of their local rivals declaring ‘70% of the Sur [southern part of Gran Buenos Aires) is Banfield.’
Maradona gave a masterclass in one-touch and wonderful passing, as one might expect from arguably the greatest player in the game’s history (doesn’t stop Olé reporting it as a news story, though). After scoring a penalty he played ten more minutes for Lanús, took a break and came back on for Talleres, for whom he punched the ball into the net with his left hand. Where have we seen that before? The referee – spoilsport – didn’t allow the goal.
‘I give thanks every day for being able to live through this happiness,’ Maradona told reporters afterwards, following up with a typically modest, ‘and for how much all the people love me.’