Américo Gallego has taken his first training session as boss of Independiente, dressed all in red as he spoke to the press. Meanwhile, Christian ‘El Flaco‘ Fabbiani has rejoined his River Plate team-mates after his ‘mini-pre-season’ in Tandil weighing fully five kilos less than he did a few weeks ago, and River’s derby opponents on Saturday have a returnee of their own.
‘I carry El Rojo in my heart,’ Gallego told the press on Monday after training at the Hindu Club’s rugby facilities. Asked about his attitude to team discipline the former River and Newell’s boss announced, ‘I’m relaxed. The players have a right to go out, but they have to be careful about late nights… those who weren’t playing before now start again from zero [with me].’ Having won the 2002 Apertura title with Independiente (he’s one of only two bosses to have won league titles with three different Argentine clubs), El Toto has a different sort of challenge on his hands now.
River and Racing both welcomed back big players prior to what will be a crucial clásico for both teams at the weekend. Fabbiani has returned from chowing down in Tandil to train once more with Néstor Gorosito’s boys, but announced he was still hungy – to be part of the starting XI at the weekend. ‘I’ve left the old Fabbiani in Tandil,’ he told the press after training.
Racing, meanwhile, will give Franco Zuculini, the young midfielder who’s been linked with a move to Italy, his first game of the year on Saturday. He returned from the Sudamericano Sub 20 injured, and his recovery will be a boost to La Academia, but the flipside is they’ll be without another Franco – Sosa, who was Zuculini’s replacement according to Article 225, which allows an injured player to be replaced outside the transfer window. A blow or a blessing for Racing boss Ricardo Caruso Lombardi? We shall see…