Friday morning saw confirmation that Mariano Pavone will move to River Plate for the upcoming season, the Núñez club having beaten San Lorenzo to his signature after Ramón Díaz’s club almost managed to hijack the offer at the last minute. In New Zealand, Marcelo Cañete, who’s worn the number 11 shirt until now during Boca Junior’s pre-season, was given the number 10 against Wellington Phoenix in a 2-1 loss for Boca, and it’s been announced that the friendly between Argentina and world champions Spain on the 7th August will take place not in New York as expected, but in Buenos Aires’ Estadio Monumental.
Ramón Díaz looked so close to getting Pavone’s signature on a San Lorenzo contract that, earlier today, the Olé website reported it as a done deal. The former Estudiantes target man has signed on a one-year loan for River Plate though, as confirmed by his Spanish club Real Betis this morning. River will pay Betis a €500,000 fee which includes an option to buy at the end of the loan. He’s flying to Buenos Aires as I type, and will have his medical on Monday before joining up with Ángel Cappa’s team on Tuesday for his first training session.
River’s great rivals Boca Juniors bowed out of their Australasian tour with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Wellington Phoenix, of which you can see a decent highlights video below including the Haka. The main news as far as the Argentine papers are concerned though doesn’t seem to be the score or Boca’s performance (captain Christian Cellay was red-carded) but the fact that the number 10 shirt – until now kept aside for Juan Román Riquelme – was given to rising star Marcelo Cañete for the game. If you’d like to read a quick match report I recommend this one by Fernando Battaglia, an Argentine living in New Zealand.
There was also a continuation of yesterday’s public feuding, with Boca manager Claudio Borghi insisting that from what he’s been told by the club’s directors, ‘the problem isn’t a footballing one, it’s about money [for some reason using the English word].’ It seems Riquelme’s main gripe is about the fine print in the US$5 million over four years contract on the table. Boca want the fee to include ownership on their part of Riquelme’s transfer registration, ostensibly to lower their tax obligations. Riquelme appears to want an additional signing-on fee for that. He also wants to do away with a clause Boca inserted in the deal to fix a maximum per annum in Argentine pesos, in the event that the dollar significantly strengthens during the duration of the deal.
Pre-season friendly, Friday 23rd July 2010: Wellington Phoenix 2 – 1 Boca Juniors
And in other news, canchallena.com (La Nación’s online sports portal) have had it confirmed to them by Guillermo Tofoni – the head of World Eleven, who organise Argentina’s friendlies – that Argentina will play Spain in the Estadio Monumental rather than in New York in September. ‘I’m going to announce it in the next few days with the president of the Spanish federation,’ Tofoni told the site. ‘There are other possible friendlies [later in the year], but we’ll be able to confirm them once we know who’s managing the selección,’ Tofoni continued, banishing once and for all the idea that advertising and related revenue has anything to do with Diego Maradona being offered the job.
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Photo taken from canchallena.com