Monday, November 19, 2007

Passarella Out: Possible Replacements

With Daniel Passarella resigning just recently, River Plate have begun to search for a replacement for the "Kaiser". Many names are going around, but the top two firm candidates are Ramon Diaz and Diego Simeone. There is no doubt that the two are excellent managers, but will either one of them be able to make it to Nuñez?

Just a few days ago, the main man was ex-Argentine National Team captain Simeone. Diego joined Estudiantes not to long ago and was an instant success: he managed to win the Argentine Apertura 2006 (defeating none other than Boca Juniors in a tournament final) and also humiliated and demolished arch-rivals Gimnasia (LP) by beating them 7-0 in the derby. Ever since then he has been considered one of the best coaches in Argentina, and many see him as the ideal person to be in charge of "los millonarios". With a strong personality and good leadership, Simeone could get the best out of his players and could make a tournament return to the Monumental after 4 years. The biggest problem, though, is that he still is at the helm of Estudiantes, who don't want to even think of releasing their adored coach before the 2008 Copa Libertadores. The team President has mentioned that he would be very upset to see him depart, which would also bring a $500,000 fee along with him (recision fee; his contract is set to expire in June 2008). "El Cholo" would be a fantastic coach to bring in, but will he be willing to break Estudiantes fans' hearts by leaving to a club he never even played for?

As mentioned previously, the other "big" candidate is Ramon Diaz. His arrival seemed ever so far, due to having a well-known dispute with Jose Maria Aguilar. The fight began in 2002, when Ramon's contact with River was never renewed, despite having won the tournament that same season. Ever since then, things got even worse between the two, including a public appearance by Diaz supporting a rival candidate for President in the elections of 2005. His name is often mentioned when River is looking for a coach, and this time was no exception. Even though his past with our President is more than rusty, his return no longer seems as distant: Aguilar has been praising Ramon lately and has mentioned that they will make an attempt to bring him back. This official decision has sparked some fury in San Lorenzo's surroundings, with many mentioning that he would be a traitor if he left them now. Either way, Savino (San Lorenzo's President) has assured that he will sign a new contact and will stay with the "Cuervos" to fight for next season's continental competition. What has R. Diaz said regarding the subject? He didn't close any doors, but he didn't open them either. His decision will be presented to the press and public on Thursday.

If both fail to arrive, River is expected to go after Americo Gallego or Claudio Borghi. Others such as Leonardo Astrada, Enzo Francescoli, and Omar Labruna have been rumored to join too, but seem to be more of a distant reality. Nobody knows for sure who Passarella's succesor will be, but hopefully Aguilar does not make a foolish decision.

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