Diego Simeone will manage his last game as River Plate boss this Sunday against Huracán, after admitting in the wake of another spectacular continental elimination, and the worst start to a season in the club’s history, that he can’t stay until December.
Simeone told the River directors of his decision after Thursday night’s match against Chivas of Mexico, and president José María Aguilar didn’t consider himself in a position to turn down Simeone’s resignation. It’s hardly a surprise, and the fans won’t be at all disappointed about the loss of a manager who managed to end a four year spell without a trophy whilst simultaneously failing to really convince River’s fans that he was right for the position.
The championship win in the Clausura of this year was accompanied by an amazing capitulation in the last sixteen of the Copa Libertadores when, two goals and two men to the good midway through the second half of the second leg, they managed to let San Lorenzo win through to the quarter-final. A falling-out with playmaker Ariel Ortega was compounded by Juan Pablo Carrizo’s return to Lazio when the goalkeeper’s loan spell ended – River have defended terribly regardless of who’s managed them for most of the last four seasons, and losing the country’s best goalkeeper has hardly helped matters – and the side have been pathetic in the Clausura.
After this weekend, five matches remain in the current Torneo. Whether the new boss will come in right away or whether a caretaker will be named first is not yet known (it’s early days), but Américo Gallego is favourite to take over, with Nery Pumpido another possibility.