Nothing could stop the decision from occuring, not even Simeone's recent statements to the press that "Ortega was having a fantastic pre-season" and that he was "more fit than even the younger players". At first everyone speculated that "el Burrito" would be leaving to the United Arab Emirates, where he would received a $2,000,000 salary for playing for a local club for 10 months. Despite the juicy offer, the city's close-to-non-existant social life and the lack of interest to move there on behalf of his family made the #10 reject the proposal. Phone calls from several Argentine clubs then began to flood the offices in the Monumental regarding a possible loan, but all options were discarded since River did not want to benefit any direct rivals. One may call it fate, but this ultimately lead to the opening of one of the most surprising door: a move to Argentina's second division.
Both River and Ortega soon came to an agreement to let the "Jujeño" go to Independiente de Rivadavia for the rest of the year. Along with fighting to get the team from Mendoza to the first division, Ariel will also be looking to win the battle against alcohol. As part of his contract, he has agreed to cross the border to Chile every week to go seek professional help and try to get his addiction out of his life once and for all. River, meanwhile, will receive $500,000 for the 10-month deal.
It is truly sad that all this had to come to an end in this manner. Ortega is arguably the biggest club idol of the decade, and will always have a spot reserved in the heart of every true Riverplatense. He had been playing great lately, and was said to be having one of his best pre-seasons in years. I can assure that I was anxious to see him on the pitch, though we will have to see if that ever happens again: he'll be returning to the club in 2009 with over 35-years of age, and god knows if he'll still be in shape to earn himself a spot on the starting line-up. As far as the present goes, his empty spot has temporarily been taken over by recent incorporation Robert Flores, who will be looking to prove himself to the River crowd as Ariel's replacement.
Good luck "burrito"!