Argentines Abroad: 13th & 14th February 2010

This weekend has seen Juan Pablo Carrizo damage his cause in the battle for the national #1 shirt; Internazionale drew with Germán Denis’ Napoli, and Gabriel Heinze was involved in a war of words with Real Madrid’s sporting director Jorge Valdano. Roberto Abbondanzieri looks set to move from Boca Juniors to Internacional de Porto Alegre. Oh, and there was another goal in Germany – but for once, it wasn’t scored by Lucas Barrios…

France’s Ligue Un saw Gonzalo Bergessio miss a penalty in St. Etienne’s 3-1 loss away to Fernando Cavenaghi’s Bordeaux, though Cavenaghi himself didn’t play. Chelo Delgado got the only goal of the game in Lyon’s 1-0 win over Lens, but the biggest Argentine story of the weekend in France was Gabriel Heinze’s comment that Jorge Valdano, Real Madrid’s Argentine sporting director, ‘must have changed the colour of his passport.’ Heinze had been asked for his opinion on Diego Maradona’s words, after the national manager had declared Valdano ‘a major rival [of the national side]’ for keeping Fernando Gago – who isn’t getting any playing time at Madrid – at the club in spite of Manchester City’s influence. Maradona also criticised the merengue official for having got rid of Heinze himself last year. Both of these arguments, of course, overlook the fact that neither Heinze nor Gago deserve to get within a running jump of the Argentine national side. But this is Diego Maradona we’re dealing with.

In Spain there was disagreement too. Sergio Agüero’s participation in the final of the Copa del Rey has been thrown into doubt (as, less reported, have the other potential World Cup players’, who might include Sevilla’s Diego Perotti). The final has been postponed from its original 4th March date to the 26th May – two days after Argentina are due to play a friendly with Canada, and crucially after the date on which FIFA has stated clubs must release any players called up by their national teams for the World Cup. The RFEF did the same thing four years ago, if I remember rightly. Don’t they remember these things?

On the pitch in Spain, Juan Pablo Carrizo was to blame as Real Zaragoza drew 1-1 with Real Valladolid. The former River Plate goalkeeper came out for a cross which he got nowhere, leaving Diego Costa with an easy finish for Valladolid. In Germany, Lucas Barrios didn’t score for a change, as his Dortmund side lost away to Bayern München, but there was still an Argentine goalscorer – on Friday evening Roberto Colautti got one to send Borussia Monchengladbach on their way to a 2-1 home win over Nurnberg. Ignacio Scocco scored for AEK Athens as the club from the Greek capital got a 2-1 away win over Panthrakikos.

One transfer story: Roberto Abbondanzieri, having lost the Boca goalkeeping position, isn’t happy to play second fiddle and will almost certainly complete a transfer to Brazil’s Internacional in the next day or two. Inter want him to come at the earliest opportunity, and Pato has indicated that if the clubs can reach an agreement, he’ll be happy to discuss a contract.

And as usual, here’s Tom Clark to give us the Mexican lowdown.

Week 5 of the Mexican torneo saw the Argentines quiet on Saturday, but bringing the artillery on Sunday.

Estudiantes Tecos managed to pull out a point from their home tie with Pumas (UNAM) on the strength of a crisply dispatched 67th minute Rubens Sambueza penalty.

Monterrey, playing away to highland rivals Tigres in the clásico regiomontana, came out on top 2-1, the ultimate winner proving to have been a smart 39th minute tally by Neri Cardozo, the hard-working figura of the match. Lucas Lobos, meanwhile, kept Tigres in contention by providing a sharply-arrowed tiro libre into the box that was converted (by Jesús Molina) into his side’s only goal of the afternoon.

Not surprisingly though, the most notable action of the weekend by pamperas came in Pachuca’s lively come-from-behind 5-3 away conquest of Puebla. Damián Alvarez, menacing all day, scored the Tuzos‘ second in the 32nd minute on a sweet pase filtrado from the great Damián Manso. And former Argentine Darío Cvitanich killed off the tie by banging home a sweet one-time strike home five minutes into stoppage time.

You can follow the Clausura and the Argentine sides in the 2010 Copa Libertadores via HEGS on Twitter (including updates during and between matches and similar stories that might not go up on the site until later). I’m slowly gaining followers, but if you’ve not signed up yet you can do so here.

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