As the clock ticks towards 2015, I present here not one but two best XIs of Argentina-based players during 2014. The reason it’s two is simple: the sides who won the main trophies (the two domestic leagues and the two continental cups) dominate the actual best XI, and I felt sorry for the others. At first I thought I was leaning too heavily towards River Plate players, until El País announced their official annual awards this morning and it turned out all three of the players on the South American Player Of The Year podium were River players (Teo Gutiérrez, Carlos Sánchez and Leonardo Pisculichi), and two more (Marcelo Barovero and Leonel Vangioni) made it into the continent’s Best XI.
Argentine club football Best XI 2015 as picked by me
M. Barovero (River Plate)
G. Mercado (RP) — R. Funes Mori (RP) — M. Cetto (San Lorenzo) — L. Vangioni (RP)
C. Sánchez (RP) —- M. Kranevitter (RP) —- I. Piatti (SL)*
T. Gutiérrez (RP) — D. Milito (Racing) — G. Bou (Racing)
On the bench: S. Torrico (GK, San Lorenzo); J. Buffarini (San Lorenzo); L. Lollo (Racing); L. Ponzio (River); L. Pisculichi (Argentinos Juniors/River); R. Mora (River); M. Matos (San Lorenzo)
* Piatti moved to Montreal Impact of MLS between the first and second legs of the Copa Libertadores final, but was key to San Lorenzo getting there, so he edges Pisculichi out of my starting XI.
And the best XI from the other sides, because they deserve some representation too (this bit, I admit, is rather biased towards the second half of the year, because the Torneo de Transición’s easier to remember than the Torneo Final)
F. Monetti (Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata)
F. Oreja (GELP) – J. Schunke (Estudiantes) – V. López (Newell’s) – M. Casco (Newell’s)
M. Rodríguez (Newell’s) — D. González (Lanús) — V. Ayala (Lanús)
F. Mancuello (Independiente)
J. Ayoví (Godoy Cruz) —- S. Romero (Lanús)
On the bench: A. Orión (GK, Boca Juniors); E. Goñi (Estudiantes); O. Barsottini (Gimnasia); L. Somoza (Lanús); D. Montenegro (Independiente); J. Furch (Belgrano); L. Pratto (Vélez Sarsfield)
The second XI is limited to players who reached at least double figures appearance-wise during the Torneo Final, and to a certain extent by how well players did in comparison with expectations, which is part of the reason Boca Juniors only have one representative (I’m not entirely happy with having three Newell’s players in it, but all three significantly outperformed their team-mates).
Go on then, tell me who I’ve forgotten.
Agree with most choices (glad sombody else recognises Monetti’s great performances also) though to my mind Lucas Licht has been consistently good over the last 12 months and deserves a shout.
As far as the Torneo De Transicion is concerned Brahian Aleman & Ezequiel Videla should at least make the squad based on their performances (I can see why Cazares probably wouldn’t qualify based on your appearances criteria)
The problem I had with Videla was… well, he was very, VERY good, but over the course of 2014 there’s no way you’d drop Kranevitter for him, is there? He’s excluded from the second XI on account of having played for one of the clubs represented in the first one, remember.
Whilst I agree that Kranevitter was top draw when he played/has phenomenal potential in the Torneo De Transicion (in part due Kranevitter’s injury) Videla’s contribution was more significant.
However even factoring in the subjectivity of that debate, Videla should have definitely made the First XI bench ahead of Ponzio for example.
Maybe. Ponzio didn’t do too badly himself, mind. I think the fact we’re not even talking about Mercier and Ortigoza speaks volumes for the three of them (the two River boys and Videla, I mean).
True, I think thats because Ortigoza has typically always been an undervalued player because of the “weight aspect” of things.
You could probably say the same of Mercier, but more down to the fact that pre-San Lorenzo at least he’s always been scrapping at smaller, less glamourous clubs
Maybe, but remember us lot on Hand Of Pod are all big fans of the duo. They’re certainly not undervalued by the Anglophone Argieball-writing community here in BA…
(Also, yes – Licht was a hard one to leave out!)
Here’s one for you, your Top 3 Players for 2014 & Top 3 Managers?
Players is a tough one for me but would probably go: 1. Teo, 2. Pratto & 3. Milito/Mancuello
Managers a bit more straight forward in my eyes: 1. Gallardo (only just) 2. Cocca (because of his work with DYJ also) & 3. Almiron (excellent all year)
Teo, Sánchez, Milito for players. As for managers, I agree with your top two, but would think about Bauza ahead of Almirón, though again it’s a tricky one.
Intriguing, for me Sánchez needs another 6 months playing this well to confirm he’s more influential than Carbonero was example.
On the Bauza side of it whilst winning the Libertadores is no mean feat, I was disappointed in their domestic form (of course the WCC was a huge distraction, and loosing Piatti & Correa was never going to be easy)
Almiron on the other hand worked wonders at Godoy Cruz, & then to come in so late & do the job he did with Independiente was highly commendable to say the least, doesn’t get nowhere near the praise he deserves in my eyes.
See, Carbonero’s been a victim of the ‘I can’t really remember the Torneo Final now’ bit. Sánchez was as key to River as Teo was during the last six months though, for me.
what happens with the new format of the championship?
Hi, P. We’ve talked about it a fair bit recently over on Hand Of Pod – most notably in this episode, which was recorded just after the details were finally confirmed. I’ll also probably be writing a piece on it for ESPNFC at some point between now and the start of the season, which will guide you through the changes, so keep an eye out!