It’s a little bit late this week, on account of my having spent Monday night working on a piece for Soccernet, but there’s one player who deserves mention on his own, so here’s a very brief Argentines Abroad roundup from the week in which Guillermo Barros Schelotto was named the Most Valuable Player in the 2008 Major League Soccer season, and subsequently led his team to championship glory.
The main Argentine Abroad of the last seven days has been Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who last week was named most Most Valuable Player in Major League Soccer, and a few days later helped his side Columbus Crew to the MLS Cup with a 2-1 victory over New York Red Bulls, setting up both his team’s goals and hitting the crossbar himself. The award should really have gone to Mexican Cuahuatemoc Blanco, but he would have been a controversial choice from the off-pitch point of view (all of which leads one to wonder why David Beckham wasn’t in with a shot…).
Elsewhere, Diego Milito scored for Genoa to atone for an earlier missed penalty as his side drew 1-1 with Juampi Carrizo and Mauro Zárate’s Lazio in Rome. Ezequiel Lavezzi, meanwhile, thought he’d got the winner in putting Napoli 2-1 up with four minutes left at home to Cagliari, but Daniele Conti grabbed a point for the visitors in the final minute. ‘The Inter Of The Argentines’, as Olé like to refer to Internazionale, beat Juventus 1-0 with señores Samuel, Cambiasso and Zanetti in the starting XI.
Barcelona stuttered without Lionel Messi, only drawing 1-1 with Getafe, and their manager Pep Guardiola has had to counter accusations of ‘Messi-dependence’ in the Catalan press since the game. In the Spanish capital meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuaín put his recent good form behind him with a shambolic missed chance at home to Recreativo de Huelva, and was stretchered off with 15 minutes left to add to a long injury list for Real Madrid.
And completing our whistlestop tour of Europe, Lisandro López scored twice in the opening half-hour on Tuesday night for Porto as they beat Fenerbahce 2-1 in Istanbul to confirm the Portuguese champions’ place in the Champions League knockout stages.
In Mexico, local boy Blanco’s returned home after annoying the MLS head honchos and, in his first match for new club Santos Laguna, set up a fine goal for Daniel Ludueña. Matías Vuoso scored the third in Santos’ 3-1 win over San Luis, Chacho Coudet setting up the visitors’ consolation for Uruguayan Víctor Píriz. For Tigres, HEGS crowd favourite Lucas Lobos set up another goal with a free kick which was glanced in by Hugo Sánchez (no, not that one). Closing remark: the equaliser for Atlante – the match finished 1-1 – scored by Luis Rey, was set up by Gabriel Pereyra – who scored for River Plate against Nueva Chicago in the first Argentine football match I ever attended.
Thanks as ever to Tom Clark for the North America research.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s best bits for Columbus Crew in 2008: