In the wake of Saturday night’s humiliation in Rosario at the hands of Brazil, Diego Maradona has been experimenting with personnel (if not formation) during Monday’s training sessions. Whilst the outfield positions are still up in the air, one position that does look guaranteed to change is in goal, where Maradona seems set to use the fifth goalkeeper of his time in charge. Meanwhile his opposite number Gerardo Martino looks to be forced into a change of custodian himself – and it’ll bring a familiar face into play.
After Juan Pablo Carrizo and Mariano Andújar have both already featured competitively for Maradona’s Argentina in the last twelve months, as well as Cristian Campestrini and Diego Pozo playing a half each in the ‘B’ friendly against Panama, Diego is now set to call upon Sergio Romero. Romero is a current champion of the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, and was the goalkeeper for Argentina’s Olympic side who took the gold medal in Beijing last year, as well as the World Youth Cup with the Under 20 side two years ago. It will be his debut for the seniors if he plays, having been included in ten previous squads under Maradona and Alfio Basile.
An average of one goalkeeper for every two matches played under Maradona’s stewardship is a significant drop for a position that’s been something a problem ever since former River great Ubaldo Fillol retired on the 30th June 1985. Since then, Argentina have played 286 matches, using 26 goalkeepers – one every eleven matches, more or less. It’s a far cry from when Maradona took over, and claimed that whether he played for Lazio or not, Juampi Carrizo would be the Number One.
At least the scales of uncertainty in defence might be balanced by the news that Justo Villar, the first-choice for the position in the hosts’ squad, has hurt his shoulder playing foot-tennis in training. This gives Gerardo Martino an unexpected selection problem, in addition to Boca Juniors’ Claudio Morel Rodríguez’s muscular fatigue which should see him replaced at left back by San Lorenzo’s Aureliano Torres. If Villar is unable to play, his replacement will be Aldo Bobadilla, currently of Independiente Medellín in Colombia but formerly a Copa Libertadores winner in 2007 with Boca.