River Plate legend Ariel Ortega on Monday confirmed his exit from the Núñez club, remarking that he’d felt ‘uncomfortable’ ever since J.J. López was given charge of the giants on the eve of the superclásico against Boca Juniors. A few days ago, López informed Ortega that he didn’t fit in with his plans for the team in the coming campaign, and in spite of protests from 300 fans near the training base in Mar Del Plata on Sunday, El Burrito met club president Daniel Passarella on Monday to thrash out an end to his contract. Ortega, clearly sad to be leaving River, insisted, ‘I’ll talk to any club in Argentina who want me,’ but he made one exclusion.
‘River have given me my freedom to talk to any other club that want me,’ Ortega told the press, ‘and I’m going to talk to all of them. Well, okay, not all. My limit would be Boca. I’ll never go there.’ He also insisted he’d talk to absolutely any club who showed a desire to sign him; ‘whether it’s in Nacional B [the country’s second flight], the torneo argentino [the regionalised sections of the third and fourth tiers], wherever it might be, wherever I feel most comfortable, that’s where I’ll go.’ He explained he’d received contact from clubs outside Argentina as well, but qualified his interest in listening to them. ‘It would be difficult to move abroad again, since my kids are at school now.’
All Boys are one of the clubs already known to have expressed a serious interest in Ortega, who could thus be reunited with his former River team-mate Cristian Fabbiani. Albo president Roberto Bugallo has already spoken to Passarella in an attempt that the Floresta outfit jump the gun on rival bids for the player’s services. Ortega has also had approaches from Atlético Tucumán, as well as their city rivals San Martín, and not far away, in his home province of Jujuy, Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy have also made an approach.
Ortega bids farewell to River for possibly the last time as a player, then, but remains resolutely a fan of the club. J.J. López is going to have to focus the remaining players though, because the fans will be even less forgiving during the Clausura now a true Millonario legend has left the scene.
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