Argentines Abroad: 30th May – 1st June

The European league seasons are now all over, as is the Mexican championship, but Argentines have once again had a say, with European places still up for grabs, another title claimed in France and one of Maradona’s new boys very nearly turning the tide of the Mexican playoff final. With the trophies wrapped up in most cases, and it being quite late at night as I type, this will only be a quick round-up, but here goes.

In Spain, Gonzalo Higuaín completed a brilliant season personally by scoring his 22nd goal of the season to put Real Madrid 1-0 up away to Osasuna, but unfortunately for him they went on to lose 2-1. For Atlético de Madrid Sergio Agüero put an underwhelming second half of the season behind him by scoring the first in his side’s 3-0 win over Pablo Piatti’s and Hernán Pellerano’s Almería, which ensures Atléti’s qualification for next season’s European Cup. Maxi Rodríguez and Leo Franco also played. European champion Lio Messi was already on the way to Buenos Aires to start training with Argentina, and didn’t feature as Barcelona closed their spectacular season out with a 1-1 draw away to Deportivo de La Coruña.

Serie A saw a goal from Esteban Cambiasso in Internazionale’s 4-3 victory over Atalanta, whilst Ezequiel Lavezzi (for the full 90 minutes) and Germán Denis (as a late sub) both took part in Napoli’s 3-0 win over Chievo Verona, which leaves the southern club in 12th. Diego Milito struck twice as Genoa thrashed Lecce 4-1. They were edged out on the head-to-head record by Fiorentina in the race for fourth, so will have to play in the UEFA Cup (sorry, I mean the ‘Europa League’) next season, and will do so without Milito, who’s signed for Inter.

Le Championnat was claimed by Fernando Cavenaghi’s Bordeaux, somewhat frustratingly for him personally no doubt, as he had a storming season in 2007-2008 but couldn’t quite hit the same goalscoring heights this time round. He was an unused substitue as they beat Caen 1-0 away from home, but all the same he finishes as the club’s joint top league scorer with 13 goals to his name.

Which leaves us with the Mexican championship final second leg between Martín Bravo’s Pumas and the Pachuca of Damián Alvarez, Javier Muñoz Mustafá and HEGS MA Award nominee Christian ‘Chaco‘ Giménez. Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Pumas held on to draw 2-2 and claim the title, but not before Giménez had added two to his personal tally with a penalty in the first half and a brilliant free kick with 15 minutes left which, at the time, levelled the aggregate score 2-2. Diego Maradona will surely be thinking about Chaco’s abilities with a dead ball. Also in Mexico, Daniel Ludueña could be on his way to Club América in a US$7 million deal from Santos Laguna. Thanks to Tom Clark as ever for having kept me up to speed with the Mexican championship this week and throughout the season.

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