A day after the 2010 Torneo Apertura came to an end (for everyone bar Independiente and Tigre), the consequences of the campaign are being felt at clubs across the league. Whilst some have pleasingly exceeded their targets (All Boys) and some have managed league positions which bely the scorn poured on them for almost the entire campaign (River Plate), others have made a little bit of history (Godoy Cruz). The managerial merry-go-round, though, starts here. River’s caretaker J.J. López might be staying after all, Banfield’s Julio César Falcioni is packing his bags and heading to Boca Juniors, and he won’t be the only one moving…
Last night Falcioni celebrated the first anniversary of his 2009 Apertura win in charge of Banfield, even as he was bidding his players what amounted to a post-match farewell following Banfield’s 2-1 away defeat to San Lorenzo. Although he’s not the universal choice of Boca’s board of directors to replace caretaker boss Roberto Pompei, Falcioni is, crucially, club president Jorge Amor Ameal’s preference for the job, and with negotiations between Boca and Falcioni’s agent now having gone on for much of the last week, he’s expected to be unveiled at the Casa Amarilla (Boca’s HQ) by the weekend.
The country’s two most impressive sides are less concerned about losing their managers, although they can’t afford to sit back, relax and forget all about it just yet. Alejandro Sabella was one of the favourites to take over the River Plate job in the summer, and after his Estudiantes side thrashed River in the Monumental in the penultimate round of the Apertura, Daniel Passarella was said to be preparing to approach him. It struck me at the time as something of a knee-jerk reaction to tell J.J. López his time was done after one heavy defeat (to a very good team), and after handing out a thrashing of their own on the last day – the 4-1 away win over Lanús – it seems J.J. (who won 13 points from 18 available after taking charge prior to the superclásico) is now much more likely to stay on after all, although nothing’s certain. The signs, therefore, are pointing towards Sabella having another crack at the Libertadores with Argentina’s new league champions.
Apertura runners-up Vélez Sarsfield, meanwhile, have a different kind of problem. Whilst Sabella has assured Estudiantes he wants to honour his contract, Vélez boss Ricardo Gareca has… well, he’s said he wants to honour his contract as well. He just doesn’t want to do any more than that – and his current deal with the Liniers outfit runs out on the 31st December. The board are still publicly hoping, for now, that Gareca can be talked round after some bizarre talk of ‘not believing in long-term projects’. Godoy Cruz manager Omar Asad – another name possibly linked with River if Passarella does indeed decide to replace J.J. – is in El Fortín’s sights in case Gareca does walk.
With Ramón Díaz uncertain in his charge of San Lorenzo – and yet another possibility for the River job, perhaps – and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi having managed his last game in charge of Tigre following the accusations of requesting payments from players a couple of weeks ago, there are going to be managerial changes aplenty, especially if Gimnasia’s boss Pablo Morant gets his desire to return to managing the club’s youth teams. Indeed, should Gareca leave Vélez, only four managers will go into 2011 in charge of the same club they started the Apertura with: Sabella at Estudiantes; Roberto Sensini at Newell’s; Omar De Felippe at promoted Olimpo, and José Romero at their fellow promotees All Boys.
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