Sunday, June 24, 2007

Possible Reinforcements and Sales: June 25th

Joaquín Larrivey: River are planning on bringing in the "goleador" in case some of the current fowards are sold (see below). Larrivey is Huracan's current top-goal scorer with 19 goals in 39 games. He attracted several club's interests, due to his team's good campaign in the Second Division, and was eventually bought by Cagliari of Italy for $1,000,000 dollars. "How would he arrive at River if he was just barely sold?", you may be asking. Well, "los millonarios" are looking to request a 6 month/1 year loan, which would benefit both teams: River are looking for a foward, while Cagliari would benefit from a raise in his value. He could be a good option for now.

Marco Ruben: The dirigentes are looking to make a powerful transfer this semester, and the ex-Rosario Central player's price tag is the highest of our current fowards. Spartak Moscow would be willing to deposit $6,700,000 dollars in order to keep Ruben.

Oscar Ahumada: Atalanta of Italy have bought him for $2,000,000. This was a good sale, mainly because of our surplus of players in his position (Ponzio, Domingo, Lima, etc.). **Edit: It seems as if the transfer won't be going through: The Italian side were not able to present the necessary funds, so the defensive midfielder will stay at River for now. **Edit #2: Atalanta asked for a few more days to be able to come up with the cash, so his possibilities of departing have once again risin.

Diego Galvan: He is wanted everywhere: San Lorenzo, Independiente, Velez, Olimpo, and a Mexican club are interested in incorporating the midfielder. Estudiantes want to buy him along with Federico Higuain. River have requested $2,900,000 dollars (2 million for Higuain, 900,000 for Galvan).

Andres D'Alessandro: No, before you get excited, he isn't returning to River. It's just that River will receive $150,000 euros because of his transfer to Zaragoza of Spain. In a way, this makes me angry because he was bought for just $3,000,000 euros. If you think about it, that is basically the same amount that we payed for the useless Cristian Villagra and Juan Marcelo Ojeda!

German Lux: Mallorca still haven't bought the goalkeeper, and his future is uncertain. I would love to have him stay, but with Daniel Passarella as coach it is nearly impssible. If he doesn't reach an agreement with the Spanish club, "el Poroto" may opt to join Independiente or Colon de Santa Fe.

Leandro Gracian: River Plate, Boca Juniors, and San Lorenzo are all interested in the ex-Velez Sarsfield playmaker. Despite that, he is just an option for now.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Will JP Carrizo Stay?: New Fresh Sources of Cash

The club needs to make at least $10,000,000 in sales over this break to keep up with the economic needs. Selling Juan Pablo Carrizo could easily clear up the situation, but his importance to the team has made the club opt to sell other players. Surprisingly, the smaller, less-important players seem to be wanted more. Here's a list of sources that could provide us with some of the money needed:

Jose Sand: Lanús was able to win the race to keep the foward. The agreement was for $1,000,000 dollars, which will be payed on July 1st.

Cristian Tula: San Lorenzo will pay the $500,000 necessary to keep the defender, as well as the $100,000 fine for using him vs. River in the Clausura.

Federico Domínguez and Diego Galván: San Lorenzo's directives inquired about the price tag of these two players.

Danilo Gerlo: Salzburg of Austria would be willing to pay $1,500,000 dollars for his transfer. Despite that, he has other options: clubs from Switzerland, Austria, Greece, and Turkey are interested in him.

Oscar Ahumada: The defensive midfielder wants to switch teams, and his representative, Néstor Sívori, brought in an interesting offer from an Italian club. It would be worth approximately $2,000,000 dollars.

Diego Barrado: The right-wing will be loaned out to a Mexican club or Colon.

Juan Pablo Angel: The club will receive $1,000,000 dollars for his transfer from Aston Villa to the New York Red Bulls of the MLS.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Transfer News: June 21st

Just like after every season River finishes, transfer news floods the halls of the Monumental. Today wasn't an exception, and many news/rumors have been said, especially regarding the defense. So to start off, we will begin with exactly that part of the team:

Federico Lussenhoff has reached an agreement with River's directives and will stay on loan for yet another year. He will stop by Núñez and sign his contract next week. Unfortunately, it seems as if others may leave: A few unknown Mexican clubs are interested in incorporating Danilo Gerlo and Cristian Nasuti. To replace the two, the club has been thinking of Ronald Raldes. The Bolivian central defender, currently preparing for the Copa America of Venezuela with his National Team, is planning on leaving Rosario Central, so he could be a possible reinforcement.

As for fowards, José Sand may not return from his loan. Lanus and Colon want him, but neither of the two have enough money. Despite that, he still has strong chances of migrating, since Veracruz of Mexico have offered $1,100,000 dollars for his transfer. Ernesto Farias is also wanted by a Mexican club (not Monterrey this time). Meanwhile, River have given a businessman the rights to negociate Federico Higuaín and Marco Ruben. If sold, the two fowards would have the same destiny: Greece.

Regarding midfielders, an annoymous Italian club is expected to make an offer for Oscar Ahumada. Last, and most definitely least, Victor Zapata, who owns 100% of his transfer rights, was requested by Ricardo LaVolpe. Velez's dirigentes contacted him immediately, and received a positive message: the player is willing to play at the club and even reached a verbal agreement. This doesn't affect River directly, since he already left the club, but I just thought I'd share the news.

If anyone is interested, the official list of 22 Argentine players that will play the 2007 Copa America has been confirmed. Click here to see it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Building For The Future: Incorporations & Youngsters

About a year ago, rumors were going around of a new star in River's divisions. The press hailed him the new Lionel Messi, the new Pablo Aimar, and like always.... the new Diego Maradona. As time passed, not much was heard from him. Despite the long time range, he only played eight minutes in Primera (vs. Instituto; Clausura 2006). In fact, he hardly ever concentrated with the first team and spent most of his time intending to build body mass, due to his small size.

Who is this kid? His name is Diego Buonanotte. He is a playmaker and is currently only 18 years old. Other than the few Adidas commercials he appeared in, as well as the constant praising from previous coaches and the press, "el enano" slowly started disappearing off the surface of stardom. Not much was heard of him until now, when several coaches from other clubs have requested him as a reinforcement for next semester. Colon, Newell's Old Boys, and Olimpo are all interested in him, and they all share one thing in common: faith in the youngster. All three have some sort of connection that indicates that he will be a great player. Colon and Olimpo have ex-River coaches (Leonardo Astrada and Guillermo Rivarola -reserves coach-), who both worked closely with the lower divisions. Newell's' coach, meanwhile, has several close friends/co-workers who have convinced the manager of Diego's capabilities. If a player is able to attract so much attention, yet with so little experience in Primera, it must be for a reason.

What may have really attracted the teams, though, is Buonanotte's depression of not gaining minutes with the first team. He is said to have been willing to switch clubs for minutes, something his talent could get him in many other places. With Passarella's 4-4-2 formation, it was almost impossible for him to find himself a spot in the starting eleven. Recently, "el Kaiser" declared that he is interested in returning to the classical formation that includes a playmaker. With River doing everything possible to retain him, and Passarella looking to use a #10, will Diego Buonanotte finally start regularly for the team?

The youngster isn't the only one mentioned in transfer news lately: Juan Pablo Carrizo is still wanted by Manchester United, Milan, Lazio, West Ham, Benfica, among other clubs. No team has offered the $10,000,000 euros his price tag requests, so for now he is still a River player. As for possible incorporations, Domingo Salcedo of Cerro Porteño (Paraguay) has been offered. The Paraguayan (picture) is also wanted by Racing, but may end up playing for "los millonarios" if he convinces, due to being a left-winger.

In other news, Gonzalo "Pipita" Higuain won his first official championship yesterday with Real Madrid of Spain. Read more here. Also, the pre-season schedule has been confirmed: the players will be on vacation till July 2nd, and will then train and participate in the Peace Cup till July 21-23rd. The first match of the Torneo Apertura 2007 has high chances of being postponed, due to the late arrival of the club to Argentina.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

River Plate: 3 - Velez Sarsfield: 2 - Torneo Clausura 2007

River Plate's 3-2 win over Velez Sarsfield yesterday meant the end of a horrible season for "los millonarios". Despite not playing a great match, the team played well in certain moments of the game and had several players who played well. The best players were Diego Galvan, who was once again a starter after a controversial week, and Matias Abelairas (picture), who will get more minutes after the departures of Victor Zapata and Rubens Sambueza.

River started off winning 2-0 before the first half was done, thanks to Diego Galvan and Danilo Gerlo, who scored one goal each. In the second half, Velez were able to tie the match (Papa and Escudero scored), but River quickly found the goal and put themselves up again just three minutes later. Overall, it wasn't an important match for us, but it wasn't bad to see a win after such bad performances recently.

The Player Review -

Danilo Gerlo: Scored the second goal after a nice header. Played well, but I still wouldn't be too upset if he left to Switzerland.

Paulo Ferrari: The ex-Rosario Central player did good but was unfortunate to be expelled towards the end of the game (didn't deserve it, in my opinion). If he remains at the club, he will be forced to miss the first match of the Torneo Apertura 2007.

Cristian Villagra: Some good points, some bad ones. I still believe he was a very bad incorporation, due to failing to impress me in any of the matches he played this season.

Diego Galvan: Arguably the best man on the field. He ran plenty, played well, and scored our first goal. Augusto Fernandez remains as my first option, but Galvan proved to be a worthy candidate as well.

Rene Lima: Another midfielder who played a good match. The youngster has been playing with a lot of heart lately, and has been starting to earn himself a spot. Preferred over Oscar Ahumada.

Matias Abelairas: As mentioned earlier, the left-winger played a very good match and was at the top of the list, next to Galvan. He assisted the second goal (perfect free-kick center to Gerlo) and scored the third one. He has done well in every match he's played in this semester, and may be a very interesting proposal for the left side next semester.

Radamel Falcao Garcia and Marco Ruben: Neither of the two fowards did much (..if anything).

After a very disappointing semster, the team will soon begin to prepare for the future. We must now hope for a more successful second-half of the year. The first glimpse of the new team will be in about a month, when the team begins the 2007 Peace Cup in South Korea (schedule posted on the right).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

River - Velez: The Preview

Tomorrow (yes.. Friday) we will be facing Velez Sarsfield, in what will thankfully be the official ending of a horrible and painful season. The match itself will be played in El Nuevo Gasometro, San Lorenzo's stadium, due to River's field being suspended. When we play as the home side elsewhere, we tend to host the games at Velez's stadium. This time, though, we cannot do that since they will be our rivals.

"Los Millonarios" are very likely to field the following squad:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Danilo Gerlo-Emmanuel Martínez-Cristian Villagra;
Diego Galván-Fernando Belluschi-René Lima-Matias Abelairas;
Radamel Falcao Garcia-Marco Ruben;

Many players will be missing tomorrow: Federico Lussenhoff, Victor Zapata, and Ernesto Farias are all suspended. Augusto Fernandez, meanwhile, isn't 100% fit and the team prefers to save him for the next semester. A big surprise could be the exclusion of Carrizo: Bernardo Leyenda has been playing as the starting keeper in the last few training sessions, due to Juan Pablo training with the National Team. Since the game has no importance and Carrizo might be exported to Europe soon, Passarella may opt to give the ex-Velez goalkeeper a chance.

Last week's game vs. Nueva Chicago was Victor Zapata's last game with River's jersey (thank god!). His contract will expire soon, and a suspension will not allow him to play an additional 90 minutes for us. Ernesto Farias may also be in a similar situation: the only difference is that if he leaves it would be because of a transfer, and not because of his contact. Despite several transfer rumours, Monterrey have backed down and there are now no official bids for the foward. His future in River remains unknown for now.

The match vs. "el Fortin" will be shown live on TyC Sports USA at 3:00 PM Pacific / 6:00 PM Eastern Time.

In other news, River legend Pipo Rossi passed away. Read more here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

San Lorenzo de Almagro: Champions of the Torneo Clausura 2007

Thanks to today's win, San Lorenzo de Almagro have declared themselves champions of the Argentine league for the first time since 2001. Wait, wait, wait.. scratch that. Ex-River players have declared themselves champions of the Argentine league for the first time since 2001.

San Lorenzo's squad consisted of several ex-River Plate players and even a River idol as coach. Even though it may sound like it, this post was not necessarily written to congratulate or praise them. Of course I am a bit proud of their success (and the fact that they took away any possibilites Boca had of winning the championship), but most of all I am angry at our institution for the errors they committed. If it wasn't for us, who knows if San Lorenzo would have even won this tournament! Take a look at the following ex-River members that integrated part of the winning team:

- Ramon Diaz: A huge River idol, both as a player and a coach. As our manager, he won 7 titles -including 2 international tournaments- and was always loved and adored by our fans. Unfortunately, he was fired by our President Jose Maria Aguilar after winning the 2002 Clausura. The team played great football and was a step above every other Argentine club, but that didn't seem to matter to our corrupt President. Ramon had been waiting to return to River, but his bad relationship with Aguilar stopped any possible return. After 5 years of being inactive, he could not stand it anymore and became San Lorenzo's new coach. This was his first semester there, and barely had any reinforcements. Still, he managed to somehow make a squad that lost 7-1 to Boca and 5-0 to River last semester win the tournament this time around. He had nothing to prove before, but this championship has just contributed more to his positive reputation.

- Gaston "la Gata" Fernandez: An ex-River player. In the past, he had won a tournament with River and had had great campaigns with Monterrey of Mexico and Racing of Argentina. In early January, he returned to the club from his loan with the Mexican side, but Aguilar seemed to be thinking more about the cash than the quality. He sold him for a very low price of $1,200,000 to San Lorenzo, while Ramon Diaz's side laughed of enjoyment at his mistake: the foward ended up being the key player of the team, as well as the top scorer, with 9 goals. Not only has he been a star, but he played many of the games as a playmaker, something we need tremendously at the moment.

- Cristian Tula: Another ex-River player. The defender is the captain of the team and has been a very valuable member of the squad. Not only has he been solid throughout the tournament, but he has been multifunctional and has played in every position in the defence atleast once. Seems like something we need in River. Cristian could still return to the club, since he is on loan and is still owned by "los Millonarios", but everything seems to indicate that he won't: his importance has made San Lorenzo's directives willing to pay the transfer option listed on the loan agreement.

- Osmar "Malevo" Ferreyra: A left midfielder who played only one season in River. He was a very promising player, not only because of his performances with River's jersey, but also with the Argentine National youth teams. He was quickly sold to CSKA Moscow of Russia, and had joined San Lorenzo on loan a year ago. Interestingly enough, what River needs right now is a reliable left-defender and left-midfielder, and that is exactly what Ferreyra is. Why let him go so easily?

So what do these four have in common? Our horrible President (Jose Maria Aguilar) let them all go, usually without a good reason or for a cheap price, and they all ended up being icons in the champions of the Torneo Clausura 2007 of Argentina. While we are underperforming, our ex-players (and coach) are triumphing elsewhere, all thanks to Aguilar. How great!

Nueva Chicago: 2 - River Plate: 2 - Torneo Clausura 2007

Yet another disappointing weekend. I apologize to all the blog readers who want to hear about the match, but I just cannot talk about our games nowadays. They are pointless and have no meaning, and the team plays with no heart. I am just waiting for next semester to begin. Luckily for me (..and most River fans), there is only one more game left till the tournament ends.

The only interesting thing that has been happening at the club lately are the transfer rumours. Just like in previous weeks, there couldn't be any missing this time. Maxi Lopez seems to be very close to re-joining River Plate. His loan with Mallorca is about to end, and he will return to Barcelona. The problem is, there isn't a shot in hell of him playing even a minute with Barca's jersey next semester. Therefore, the Spanish club is interested in loaning him out and giving him a better economic value in the future. So where does River come into this? Well, the club is looking for a foward (especially with the possible departure of Ernesto Farias), and Maxi is supposedly willing to return for a year.

What do I think? Well, to tell you the truth, I really don't know. I never really thought he was that great of a player, but I loved the "baile" he gave Boca upon entering the field for an injured Marcelo Salas in 2004. Unfortunately, the other image I have of him was when he missed the penalty vs. Boca that left us out of the Copa Libertadores that same year. Other than those two matches, he was never someone I liked that much.

Either way, I guess it wouldn't be that bad: he isn't a bad player and the club would be getting him for a very cheap price. My only problem with his arrival would be that the youngsters wouldn't get too many chances. Aside from that, we need a goleador, and that doesn't match Maxi Lopez's description (or pretty much any of our starting fowards').

I guess only time will tell if he returns or not.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Transfer News: June 6th

Victor Zapata: It has been confirmed: the left wing will not stay in River. Ramon Diaz still wants him, so his possibilities of joining San Lorenzo in July are very likely.

Pitu Barrientos and Walter Erviti: They have been discarded for economic reasons.

Pablo Guiñazú: The player is willing to leave Libertad, but his transfer costs $1,500,000 dollars. The dirigentes offered the Paraguayans a list of players that could join them as part of the payment: Abelairas, Oyola, Fede Higuain, Toranzo, and San Martin. Still, other clubs, such as Gremio, Internacional of Brazil, and Velez, want him.

Patricio Toranzo: Sporting Lisboa are interested in the right wing and will intend to negociate a loan with River. This seems very likely, since the player is not in Passarella's plans.

Lucas Castroman: His name is once again going around in the halls of the Monumental. There are rumours of a possible trade for Diego Galvan.

Federico Lussenhoff: The defender's loan with River ends on June 30th, but his continuity at the club seems easy: he has his transfer in his hands (he used to be owned by Cruz Azul), so he will meet with River's dirigentes next week.

Ernesto Farias: Monterrey had put his transfer on standby upon hearing of River's request of $4,500,000 dollars for his sale. They decided to go after Humberto Suazo of Colo Colo, but have returned to el Tecla's waiting list after hearing that the Chileans want $7,000,000.

Oscar Ahumada: An anonymous Italian club is after the defensive midfielder. There are currently three other firm players in the team who play in his position (Ponzio, Lima, and Domingo), so his departure is not impossible.

Cristian Nasuti: The defender is in Colon de Santa Fe's list of possible incorporations for next semester. Leonardo Astrada, their current coach, has requested him.

Monday, June 4, 2007

River Plate: 0 - Godoy Cruz: 1 - Torneo Clausura 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates on this today's match: it's been quite a busy week for me, and the game vs. Godoy Cruz had little or no value.

The match itself had little or no significance for River, who are already out of the race for the Torneo Clausura 2007 title and have already qualified to the Copa Libertadores 2008. Godoy Cruz players, on the other hand, were playing one of the most important games of their lives. The team is fighting to stay in the Argentine first division, and a loss could have been vital to the team's campaign. Luckily for them, they were able to find the net at the 48th minute of the SECOND half.

Anyway, enough about that pointless match in which the players didn't seem one bit interested in. It's transfer talk time:

River Plate have agreed to loan out Rubens Sambueza to Pumas UNAM in exchange for $100,000 dollars. The Mexican side will have the option to buy "canito" for $1,000,000 once the 1 year deal is finalized. I have a feeling he will do great and will end up staying there.

But Sambueza isn't the only one that is being talked about in the Mexican transfer market. Ariel Ortega was wanted dearly by Necaxa, but "el burrito" decided to follow his heart more than the dollar bills. Ernesto Farias, meanwhile, is still wanted by Monterrey. The club is very interested in him, and River have already put up a price tag: 4-5 million dollars.

As for other players, Salzburg of Austria still want Danilo Gerlo and Lazio have been added to the clubs interested in Juan Pablo Carrizo. In fact, the Italians have already made a 5 million euro offer for the goalkeeper, but it was quickly rejected.