Although not too much action was seen on the pitch vs. the "Red Devils", this has been a very (unnecessarily) active week for "los Millonarios":
- Defensive midfielder Oscar Ahumada tried to take some of the weight off his shoulders and suggested that the quietness by the River fans after San Lorenzo's first goal (second leg of the Copa Libertadores match up) may have been the reason why our rivals were able to find the second goal just minutes later. To make things worse, he then mentioned Boca Juniors' fans and how he witnessed them chanting strongly despite being down 2-0 to River a few years ago. First off, he couldn't have possibly said anything worse to a River fan (how can he compare us to a group of fans that places black flags and abandons the stadium when the team is doing bad?). Second, the momentary quietness was due to shock and disbelief of what was actually occuring. Throughout the rest of the game the fans made noise and were amazing - it's proven by the following video:
As a consequence of his incredibly surprising and thoughtless words, not only did Oscar receive an economic fine from the club, but he was also the main target of 7,000 River fans on Sunday who insulted and had flags put up against him. He's been playing great lately, but I don't know if I want to see him with River next season after his statement.
- As if the Copa Libertadores elimination and Ahumada's statements weren't enough, another conflict came to light just a few days later. Argentine newspaper Ole published an article mentioning that members of the current River squad were discontent with idol Ariel Ortega, and supposedly let Diego Simeone know that they weren't happy sharing the locker-room with "el Burrito". Rumors then started circulating that Ortega would no longer be with River next season, with Barcelona of Ecuador and a few Mexican clubs expressing interest in the #10. Upon hearing the rumours, River fans sang the following song at our last game:
In a quick summary, the songs pretty much say that Ortega will not leave River and that he must play (he's been a substitute for quite a while now). Ariel returned the praise to River fans, saying he loves them and that he wants to play the remainder of his career with "la banda". Still, a few words don't guarantee anything. One question arises: is this all a press invention to make River's situation worse and sell newspaper, or is Ortega's spot really at risk?
- Lazio of Italy are said to be preparing a 5 million euro offer for midfielder Matias Abelairas. It is amazing to believe that the same player we were getting ready to offload to a small Argentine club in January is now wanted by a historically strong team and for a very interesting sum of money. If he were to leave to the Rome-based side, he would be joining the Italians along with Juan Pablo Carrizo in June.
Our next Clausura game will be on Saturday vs. Huracan in the Monumental. A loss could nearly void River's chances of winning the tournament: if Estudiantes win, we would be 5 points away from Simeone's ex-team, with barely 3 games left in play. Therefore, our aim should be to take all 9 points - not just for the tournament, but also to assure ourselves a spot in the 2009 Copa Libertadores.