A leopard never changes its spots

So the saying goes, and so it’s proven this weekend. Germán Denis has moved clubs and continents, joining Ezequiel Lavezzi at Napoli, and is scoring as freely as ever in pre-season for his new side. He got a hat-trick in his first appearance (as did Lavezzi last year, funnily enough) and scored again on Sunday during his team’s pre-Intertoto-Cup tour of Austria. Back in Buenos Aires, meanwhile, Huracán chairman Carlos Babington’s in the news again. And, surprise surprise, it’s for not showing enough respect to his employees.

Last week, Napoli took an Austrian second division side and won 10-0 as Denis, playing for the first time in the sky blue shirt, scored three. On Sunday he got just the one, but that was after coming off the bench during a 5-0 win, and his manager Edoardo Reja, not to mention his fans, are being won over by the former Independiente goleador. All the while, news has apparently broken in Italy about more false passports for Argentine footballers, with El Tanque‘s documentation among those being checked.

Huracán president Carlos ‘El Inglés‘ Babington, though, has been creating his own problems with a footballer’s documentation. Midfielder Hugo Barrientos refused to travel with the rest of the squad to Mar del Plata for pre-season after failing to reach an agreement with the club’s directors on the terms of a new contract. ‘I think I deserve a little more respect,’ Barrientos said on Sunday. ‘I’m 31 years old and I’ve had a great offer from Newell’s. I told the [Huracán] directors that if they can make me an offer in the same ballpark as the numbers the Rosario club have put in front of me, I’ll stay with Huracán. But they haven’t replied, so it’s very difficult to see how I can continue.

‘I’ve been in football a few years and if Huracán really did have an interest in renewing my contract, they’d have done it already. I don’t want to be hung out to dry, I spoke to [team manager] Claudio Ubeda, but really it’s a subject the directors have to sort out.’ Barrientos’s complaints come on the same day that Gastón Esmerado joins the club from Xanthi of Greece, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Babington is once again accused of messing his players about. If Huracán were Racing, the AFA offices would be the focus of a march even as I type…

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