Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: The Year in Review

In just a few hours, the year 2007 will come to end, giving rise to a brand new and fresh 2008. Unfortunately, this review will not be the one I imagined or even hoped for in January of this same year. Throughout the 12-month period that took course, we saw more frowns (such as in the top left picture) than positive moments (such as in the top right picture), going down as a year to not be remembered in the history books for River Plate fans.

The season began in January with River giving some fantastic performances in the annual Torneo de Verano. Being crowned champions, with some two great defeats over arch-rivals Boca Juniors, River's winning year finally seemed to have arrived. Any fan that admits to not having his/her hopes high at the beginning of the year is lieing, for Fernando Belluschi's magic was giving us all hope, and even back-up players such as Diego Galvan were performing well. Add that to the arrival of big-name players from Europe (Ponzio and Rosales) and interesting prospects (Ruben and Villagra), and the final mix resulted in sugar and spice and everything nice... or so it seemed.

The start of official competitions finally began in January, and "los millonarios" started off by delivering everything they had previously promised. In our debut in the Copa Libertadores, we defeated Colo Colo (the current sub-champions of the Copa Sudamericana) in their own stadium, impressing both the press and the fans. The good results continued, with five wins in the first six matches played in the Argentine Torneo Clausura 2007. Unfortunately, things began dropping from there on out: River only found four more victories in the remaining 13 games, finishing 12 points away from the champions (San Lorenzo de Almagro). But perhaps the biggest upset came in the Copa Libertadores, in which River did not even advance from the Group Stage and lost twice to Caracas FC! The season eventually came to an end, but it didn't bring a good second-half of the year to us either.

By the time June arrived, the fans were already asking for Daniel Passarella's head. The "Kaiser" requested another six months to get his act together, and that if he did not win a single tournament by December he would depart. Contrary to his expectations, the Torneo Apertura 2007 was disastrous for River. The final result? 14th place in the league rankings, which included goleadas in favor of San Martin (SJ), Olimpo, Tigre, and Argentinos Juniors against us. There were few delightful times, including a fantastic performance in the Superclasico, some fantastic goals, a miraculous win over Botafogo, and a few other bits here and there. The closest we got to winning a tournament was the Copa Sudamericana, in which we were eliminated in a penalty shoot out in the semi-finals of the tournament, though it wasn't enough. The negative results ultimately led to Daniel Passarella resigning from his position.

December finally arrived, and to the joy of fans the year came to an end. The first positive of the post-Passarella era came with the arrival of Diego Simeone to the club, taking over Daniel's empty spot on the bench. Big names, such as Andres D'Alessandro, Diego Placente, Fernando Cavenaghi, etc. were mentioned , yet nobody has arrived, and only less-known players are now being linked to the team.

With 2008 just a few steps away, let's all hope for a positive year this time around, full of successful tournaments, victorious Superclasicos, and good performances throughout the 365 days of the year. Aguante River!

1 comment:

loes said...

Happy New Year Gonzalo!!!

I wish that it will be a good year for River!