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Basile exit sparks change of direction for Argentina

Tim Vickery | 10:32 UK time, Saturday, 18 October 2008

Lionel Messi was hardly overcome with regret when he arrived back in Barcelona to be informed that Alfio Basile had resigned as coach of his national team..

"Argentina haven't played well for a while, and the results haven't been good," he said. "We needed a change."

But the change he is advocating would seem to be one of style of command rather than ideas or playing personnel. Messi was enthusiastic in his support of 1986 World Cup-winning midfielder Sergio Batista stepping up from the youth sides to replace Basile.

Batista recently took Argentina to the Olympic gold medal with a line up differing little from Basile's favourites - Riquelme as the hub of the midfield, Mascherano to hold, Gago to link, with the Messi-Aguero combination up front.

Perhaps Batista places more emphasis on attacking width, but as he said recently, he sees football in a similar way to Basile. But there is a key difference. Batista is 45. Alfio Basile is 65 on November 1st.Messi and Basile

Just over 30 years ago Basile was part of Argentina's coaching staff in the 1978 World Cup, providing scouting reports on future opponents. He had recently retired from a playing career in which he won international caps as a centre back. Messi was not born for another nine years.

Over the last few weeks rumours have been leaking out of the Argentina camp suggesting a lack of affinity between Basile and his back-up staff on one hand, and some of the players on the other, rumours which Messi's reaction to the resignation did nothing to dispel.

The likely cause of the problem is a mutual cultural incomprehension. The pace of technological change and the globalisation of football have left players and coach looking at things through very different perspectives.

Basile is a bohemian of the old school. He even looks like a tango singer from the 1950s. His naturally deep voice has been rendered pure gravel by cigarettes and whiskey.

Like Tony Soprano he found himself trying to steer the course in a world where values have changed. The mobile phone is to him a giant nuisance, a machine designed to destroy harmony in the dressing room by letting outside opinions in, and internal dissent out.

And this traditionalist was in charge of a squad where some of the key members are hooked on PlayStation.Today's stars have gone to Europe early. They have had little contact with the mystique and superstition of Argentine football that Basile is steeped in. They are used to a relationship with their club coaches which is less paternal, more professional, with greater attention to detail.

Perhaps Basile's big mistake was to surround himself with a back-up staff from a similar generation. Maybe relations would have been smoother with a younger assistant who was closer to the players. Areas of confusion and conflict could have been identified and dealt with earlier.

Certainly the Olympic squad's experience of playing under Sergio Batista seems to have led to a comparison which has done Basile no favours. "The idea of Batista taking over seems very good to me," said Messi at Barcelona airport. "I know him and his staff well and it would be good if he becomes coach of the national team."

And so the debate rages over the succession. Should it be Batista? How about Miguel Angel Russo, or Diego Simeone? Carlos Bianchi? Is there a role for Maradona?

But as Basile leaves the scene, he deserves to be remembered. He is one of the game's romantics, for whom the joy of expression speaks louder than the fear of defeat - a philosophy that might be old fashioned, but which should never be out of date.

He remains the last Argentina coach to win a title at senior level - the 1991 and 93 Copa America triumphs from his first spell in charge, which ended with one of the great World Cup matches of recent times, the 3-2 defeat to Romania in 1994.

It was a classic tie of attack versus counter-attack, made attractive by the fact that Argentina accepted the risks of taking the game to their opponents.

The highlight of his second spell, before the breakdown in relationships started corroding performance, came last year in the Copa America.

It ended in tears, stiffled and picked off by Brazil in the final. But the previous matches were an exhibition of passing football, patient and audacious, hypnotic and dazzling. Being there in Venezuela to watch Alfio Basile's side in action was an immense privilege.

From last week's postbag:

I watched some late night coverage of the recent game between Uruguay and Argentina and I was startled by some of the decisions made by the referee, and indeed some of the challenges being put in by the players. I have read columnists and heard commentators complain that "on the continent that would have been a straight red" for a challenge that was only deemed to have been a yellow. My question is whether or not you think that there could be a recognised standard of refereeing at club level that could be implemented globally and that could somehow be universalised. i.e. a red card worthy challenge would be given a red card in Rome just as much as it would be in Rio or London? Is this just idealistic? Or am I just being naive, and is this already the case? James Cox

Refereeing will always be controversial, for two reasons. Firstly, coaches have a vested interest in finding controversy to deflect attention from their failure to achieve objectives. Secondly because so many decisions are down to interpretation, and, as football is a universal language which we speak with different accents, interpretations vary.

I had the opportunity to discuss this very point some time ago with Leonardo Gaciba, one of Brazil's leading refs. He told me that the role of the ref is to be a chameleon - he should adjust his criteria in accordance with the local interpretation. He said that in Brazil the players are looking for the foul all the time, where elsewhere in South America this is not so true. So a moment of physical contact where he would award a free kick in a domestic Brazilian game may go unpunished if he was handling a Copa Libertadores match. The long term trend is for criteria to converge - look how it used to be considered fair to barge the keeper into the net in England - but this is a process that takes many, many years.

Speaking of Colombia's footballers [the subject of last week's piece] what happened to the highly rated young player called Sherman Cardenas? Mihir Bose

I think he's suffered a bit from an unfairly inflated reputation. He got in the first team at Bucaramanga, a relatively small provincial Colombian side, very early. He showed some talent and then I believe was awarded a high value by the Football Manager game (I'm a bit like Alfio Basile with this new fangled technology). He's still developing, and his progress would be seen as perfectly satisfactory if it wasn't for this unrealistic expectation which had been created. I watched him at length last year in the South American Under-20 Championships, and though he came up with flashes, he looked very lightweight and, understandably, well away from being the finished article. He's young enough to participate in the next version of the tournament in January - I'm hoping we might see something good from him then.

Got a question about South American football for Tim Vickery? Email him at


  • Comment number 1.

    I know you've used it before Tim, but I think "football is a universal language which we speak with different accents" is a wonderful phrase.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great read as always, one question though, there's always a lot of comments on your articles with people asking questions, why then take up one of the two question spaces with one from Mihir Bose the BBC Sports Editor? Couldn't you just have emailed him the answer?

  • Comment number 3.

    Great to have 2 of these in a week, Tim, I love south american football.

    Also I agree with post 2.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks for the comment on the Argentina v Romania match from USA 94.Probably because England did not qualify all i hear about USA94 is the stifling heat,Maradona's drug bust and John Aldrige swearing at a linesman completely ignoring great matches between Brazil v Holland,Sweden v Romania and ROI's upset of Italy.Pity about the final though!

  • Comment number 5.

    Great article again Tim, personally I'd love it if Maradona was given some kind of role for Argentina.

    One word of advice though... keep Mihir Bose off your page, give the readers what they want

  • Comment number 6.

    A nice quick, swift response to events in South America, well done.

    LOL @ football manager! Tim all the managers use it these days to sign players! Last season Steve Bruce at Birmingham City bought some well reknown stars of Football Manager which didnt really work out but its a clubs main scouting network!

    As for mihir bose....LOL isnt that an unfair advantage that he works for the beeb to :P

  • Comment number 7.

    Absolutely loving the blog, keep up the great work!

    Do you think Chile can become a legitimate football power?
    I mean with Arturo Vidal, Matias Fernandez, Mark Gonzalez, Alexis Sanchez, and maybe to a lesser extent Jorge Valdivia, you've got to say the future looks bright.

  • Comment number 8.

    hahaha did mihir bose really ask that question??? didn't know he knows that much about football or does he just play Football Manager?? :P

  • Comment number 9.

    The Mihir Bose question - tried to answer personally but it came back undeliverable.

    Chose that one because it's a question I get asked all the time.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Chile deserve a bit of a mention (kind of reminds me of when Scotland beat France and all the headlines were about England's problems). Paraguay too (but I am biased towards Chile).

    Sure Argentina got rid of their coach but how good were Chile?!

    Would i be wrong to suggest that the South American qualifiers are among the best balanced and trickiest to emerge from? So we have 4+1 going through - we know Brazil and Argentina will, but will Paraguay maintain their form? Is there a reason they are playing so well just now that may "let up" halfway through qualification?

  • Comment number 11.

    Cardenas-the fm legend.

    Another great article tim

  • Comment number 12.

    The most memorable thing about WC94 I recall was Leonardo evading arrest for assault against the USA - well, I think it was Leonardo!

    Keep it coming Mr V. Would be more than interested to see a report on what's been going on in Peru. Internationally, the place seems to be in free-fall.

  • Comment number 13.

    I play on FM and use Tim's columns to look for unknown gems. A few years a 7 year old applied for the Wolves job using his exprience on Champ Manager as the basis for his CV. I bet Sir Alex brought Bosnich after seeing his stats on Champ Manager.

  • Comment number 14.

    in response to post 10 - did a piece on Paraguay's progress last month. It hardly matters if they fall away a bit from now on - there are no prizes for coming first, the objective is to be in the top four and make it to the World Cup, and they are not far off already - two wins from the remaining 8 games should do it.

    I also think that the South American qualifiers are the hardest fought in the world - there is no game where the away side can feel that the 3 points are guaranteed before the game has even kicked off.

    Chile are such a fascinating side for 2 reasons - the crop of young attacking talent, and the attacking philosophy of coach Marcelo Bielsa, who plays 3-3-1-3 and wants the game to take place in the opponent's half of the field. They've lost heavily at home to both Paraguay and Brazil, but their bold approach means that they win games - only Paraguay have won more. The remaining fixtres are fairly kind - they have some home games they really should win - so they look well on course for South Africa.

  • Comment number 15.

    Another good article Tim, as a Scot now living in America I have seen alot more South American football on Fox and spanish speaking channels, your indepth articles have really helped me understand the football. With regards to Championship Manager a game I grew up on, I am sure playing that game was the first time we all heard of many players that went on to success, Saviola,Aimar, Ronaldinho. Great game.

  • Comment number 16.


    A very nice piece as always. You hit the nail on the head on Basile being from another planet, a musuem piece as his critics call him i guess.

    It is actually interesting to see the 2 teams that he managed, the one in 1994 and the current one. More players were based in Argentina in 93 than in this so the cross-continental gulf between the players and Basile probably widened a lot more. I guess you did mention it in the article as well. Times changed, unfortunately, as you rightly mentioned Basile didnt adapt.

    I feel a bit sad with the way Basile had to depart, looking at the kind of person he is and the way he wanted the game to be played.
    But on the bright side so to say, Basile would have gotten (and this is speculation from my side) out-thought in the World Cup in 2010. His substitutions were never on the money and neither was a consistency in his approach (esp calling up of players).
    And importantly there is time for the new coach to work out a system.

    Comparing the two, Pekerman and Basile, both did belong to that same school of thought but I guess Pekerman was more tuned to the modern world What is your take on this ?.

    On a side-note, I completely agree with Basile on the mobile phone part. Its more of a pest at important times.

  • Comment number 17.

    Excellent article as always, Tim. Your writing consistently makes me want to go on a Latin American football-watching tour!

    Regarding Basile/Batista, the general opinion seems to be that a younger coach who is more attuned with the personalities and attitudes of modern players is more likely to bring success, but I really don't think it's as simple as that. Look at coaches such as Luis Aragones, Marcello Lippi and (dare I say it) Fabio Capello - I would much rather have a traditional, strict, yet football purist attitude that they possess in charge of my national team than the new agey, matey style that Raymond Domenech and Schteve van McClaren possess.

    Having said that, if there was dissent in the camp and the players weren't happy with Basile, then it was probably right for him to go - I just feel that younger managers are placed in jobs simply because they're young a bit too often at the moment.

  • Comment number 18.

    Currently in Buenos Aires and the word today is that there may be a dream team of Batista and Maradona in charge for the Scotland game at least. I wonder how that would work out?
    Having watched both the Uruguay and the Chile games it was very obvious all was not well. Apart from a 15 minute spell at the start of the Uruguay game Argentina did just not perform at all. Defensively on the flanks they look slow and weak. Any opposition coach must see that Heinze is a major weak link, just witness Chile´s goal in midweek.
    Indeed having watched Brasil resort to 90 minutes of long ball football against Colombia (it was dire stuff and very un-Brasil like) Dunga may be the next managerial casualty if their form continues.
    At this moment in time, the top European sides, Spain, England on present form would have nothing to fear from any South American opposition in 2010. I really hope that changes.

  • Comment number 19.

    Basile's fall is a work of Maradona looking for a protagonist roll for himself and better player-trade-business of his "court" . You have just to see TV in BA since Wednesday to see half the press and half the TV stars making campaign to give Maradona the place let by Basile (with Batista at his side to do the real job). Obviously in that campaign great effort is made to ignore that Maradona, half illiterate, has no real credentials as manager and has ashamed argentine football doing drugs to play in USA's Worl Cup. Many interests lay behind Maradona and you can bet confidently odds evens he will be the new coach, unfortunately for the argentine national team and good football playing.

    By the way, football rules are and should be unique. The quality of physical contact allowed is not the poetry or pronunciation of this universal language. It is part of it essential grammar and meaning.

  • Comment number 20.

    I would like to have a blog on chile. Its a team who dont get much press over here and from what Ive seen they look like they have a good team.

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree with a previous poster - I have watched a lot of the South American qualifiers and have not seen much to write home about. Is there time for any of them to become world-beating by 2010?

  • Comment number 22.

    A European country has NEVER won a world cup outside of Europe, and that isn't going to change. Brazil and/or Argentina will make it to the final in 2010 and will win it all.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think that having Maradona as coach would be a disaster for Argentina. He failed miserably at Mandiyú and Racing Club, although both ventures into management happened when he was still a player, he has always been like a time bomb waiting to explode at anytime, his problems with drugs will always be there, and he doesn´t have the mental stability necessary for such position. He was the best player in the world but as a manager he would be a problem for anyone.

  • Comment number 24.

    To me is like thinking of Pelé as the next Brazil coach if Dunga gets the sack.

  • Comment number 25.

    Maradona's managerial career happened when he was still getting high on coke. Right now he's recovering, he's well on his way to become a grandfather and is trying to get his life back under controll.

    He'll manage Boca before managing the NT. But it won't happen now.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great article as usual Tim. You are a bout of fesh air here to be honest.

    I saw the Chile/Argentina game and I think Messi and Aguero should really be ashamed of themselves during the first half at least. They pointedly ignored Diego Milito all the time he was in a better position choosing instead to look for each other. I was appalled.

    That WC '94 game against Romania was just a sumptous feast; frankly, I will be ordering it this week for my library. Basile has nothing to be ashamed of. It is the players that played badly and leaking stories to the press.

  • Comment number 27.

    Great column yet again, Tim, always a good read on a dinnertime. Love the Bose bashing too, haha. Come on guys, give Tim a break, Mihir is the Editor after all.

    BTW, hope you don't mind me asking but I would love to know what your job entails exactly. I don't think you sit writing this one column all week and I am genuinely interested to know what else you get up to on your travels, what an average day consists of for you. Do you do interviews with players? Reviews of games? Any live commentary? Tell us a bit about you Tim. Nice one.

  • Comment number 28.

    Fantastic read - I really think the generation gap is getting tougher to navigate in general as technological advances increase. Think about it - how many grandmas send email? How many 8 year old send text messages?

    I think that Batista could be a good candidate - Simeone is another good fit.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes I believe a generation gap is at the centre of the problem with Argentinian National team. the young Messi Augero and co like to play their x-boxes,mp3 and playstations etc.Basile is perhaps out of touch just look what youth of Boco Juniors did in the Copa Sudamerica recently.Is it a case of S.American tactics v European tactics the 4-4-2 work.This is one grandma sending a comment. Yes I agree a younger assistant coach would be better.What a excellent derby match River Plate v Boca Juniors 10 man Boca wining 1-0.

  • Comment number 30.

    It was time for Basile to go, I think everybody could agree on that. Rumor has it that Russo will get the job. I like him and he does have the support of most of Argentina but I am sure if he will be the right fit. Cholo is another person I am not sure about, can he be Argentina's Dunga? I say next. I would like to see Batista as the coach. Has won a WC with Maradona, has won a U-20 World Cup and won the Olympics with the side and he might the man for the job. I would also like to see Carlos Bianchi as the coach but I do not think he gets along with Grondona, so I guess he is out of the running. I did read that Maradona would like to be the manager or be voice such as an assitant but I would pass on that. I am glad the move occured just under two years left for the World Cup. I knew Julio Grondona who is the head of the AFA or aka as Don Corleone was not going to make a move.

  • Comment number 31.

    not happy with this analisys.there is no replacement as was a shock to grondona.riquelme was a key player at the olimpics and he is still talking the same language,he spoke at barca,villareal,boca,and peking.batista speaks his language also.what is different is global coverage of football including europe.however europe and nike for example,is not the globe and mobile phones do not win other major change is,messi did not get back to spain and say as is reported,or if he did,its a major failure of playing some europeans who talk clearer in their homeland

  • Comment number 32.

    I recently 'spoke' to a facebook friend who happens to be Argentinan he mentioned two names.Claudio Borghi former 2006 S.American coach of the year coached Chile side Cola Cola former Argentinian player.Americo Gallego who coached Argentinian and Mexico sides to League wins. Who knows Peckerman or Passerlla could return for a 2nd stint at the job.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mr. T,
    After last week's tie against Brazil and (more importantly) a decent display of 'love for the jersey', do you think Colombia has any real chance of sneaking into the 5th or even 4th slot in the S. American qualifiers? Or will it all crumble once again, and be a couple goals short of South Africa...

  • Comment number 34.

    some really interesting comments and especially MarcaDaddy re Tim's day job (please Tim) and Emekus re Aguero and Milito ignoring Milito whose position play was totally ignored. People who love Crespo seem to ignore 'El Principes' talents- he was unlucky to play for smaller clubs but take a look at YouTube if u have doubts.

    deeply sorry for Basile, never forget what he did for ARG coaching and the ARG-ROM 94' game thankfully got a mention here because it remains a personal reference for me on the game of attacking spirit (teary eyed).

    On the coaching side, I truly believe Argentina would do amazing today with Bielsa back (won't happen, shame). With the fast, slick players available now to Argentina's coach (more than in 2002) the game he wants to play could really be configured. PLus, he would be able to instill more team focus to Argentina's talented, youthful, but tactically poor players (u know who I mean). The only problem with Bielsa was that he ignored Riquelme in 2002 when he was truly amazing for boca- great shame.

    Realistically, we (I have been in love with ARG football since a child) need a coach with identity, discipline and experience of ARG youth players. I see only 4 candidates, on this from

    1) Batista (as explained by others)

    2) Miguel Angel Russo (maybe after the end of the championship)

    Disregarding for a moment what he did at Boca and look back to the Velez team of 2005 to see the a beautiful brand of football - Zarate, Escudero, Grazian, Bravo, Castroman, Samoza, Valdemarin- the team always fought, played posession football and scored all over the pitch.

    he has overseas experience I remeber from Salamanca.

    3) America Gallego- what he did with Newells in 2004/05, River and Independiente was equally exciting and he has a track record of playing good football with tactical nouse. Mexico is a good provng ground for coaches IMHO.

    4) Go back to Pekerman- minus the mistake in Germany, he got the best out of many players and the style was vintage. He should get another shot and I believe he is free. If you read about thios guy's career it really is amazing what he has done as a coach from very humble beginnings.

    longer term, I like what Diego Cagna is doing at Tigre- one day he wil be Boca coach and maybe ARG.

    Sorry for the long post but this subject is fascinating.

  • Comment number 35.

    i always read your blog and every time i'm blown away by how much better it is than all the other articles here on the bbc!

    good to see a blogger responding to the comments, too.

    bbc, please take note of the great feedback this blog always gets!

  • Comment number 36.

    U13299637- Some really good choices out there. Basile did lead Argentina to it's last major titles that I will give him but it seems that a generation gap has happened since the early 90's and now. If had won Copa America maybe we would hear another tune. But losing Copa America was just the start. Losing Copa America cost Argentina to play in the Confederations Cup which they might of played Espana and a few other teams that won their region's titles. Far too many no no's by Basile. Not calling up Pipita Higuain, playing a very predictable stlye of football. Sure some players can get blamed such as Tevez who you can say cost Argentina points in Colombia and in Peru. He seems to be a loose cannon time to time, but in the end the coach does he get the blame, and well it was time for a change.
    As for the coaches, yeah I liked Pekerman and he did everything correct until taking out Riquelme who can hold the ball when the team is up and bringing him Julio Cruz instead of Messi, just for the size. Giving him another chance, I would not mind it but he quit right after the World Cup and this might of left a bad taste in some of the players mouth who are still part of the squad. But from what I have Russo will get the job, do I like it well I think he will do a better job then Basile but I am not sure how much better. My problem is the team playing far too much with Riquelme. I like Riquelme but I think he will fit the team better if he came in as a sub and only if the team is up and then he can hold the ball and he wil be fresh. He tanks by the 75th 90th min and I do not see him doing much running to be honest. There is a reason why people call him "The Lazy magician" As a Argentine I know it is a no no to get a foreign coach, and my ideal coach would be Guus Hiddink but I am just dreaming. I just whoever the new coach will be I hope they have that as a fresh start. And remember this, Messi will be in no friendlies this season as a deal he made with Barca so he can play in the Olympics, so the next time we will see Messi in a Argentina jersey will be in the next WCQ.

  • Comment number 37.

    What do I do all day? (posts 27 and 34). You sound like my girlfriend - who has to get up at 7 6 days a week and is envious of the fact that I don't.
    Busy times of late, though - no time for lounging around in the sun - just as well that Rio has been doing a Manchester impression for ages now, cold and wet.
    Last week was World Cup qualifiers week - live reports on them during the night for BBC World Service - plus other pieces on the president of Rosario Central threatening to shoot his players and one on Basile resigning.
    Regular Friday night Radio 5 Up all Night World Football Phone in to do - also spoken about the qualifiers to radios in the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada.
    One piece written last week for Sports Illustrated in the USA (Adriano), another for SBS in Australia (round up of qualifiers). Two done for World Soccer magazine - one on the tactical plans of some of the South American teams, another on an up and coming talent (Luis Bolanos of Ecuador).
    Plus was at the Vasco-Flamengo derby on Sunday.
    So all of that kept me out of mischief last week.
    This week is calmer. Another piece to write for SBS towards the end of the week, first leg quarter finals of the South American Cup to watch Tues and Weds, games to attend in Rio Thursday and Saturday - World Football phone in on Radio 5 this Friday - please join us.
    Oh yeah, and a special treat Saturday night. Paul Weller playing Rio. Used to go regularly, but I've been here for 14 years, so haven't seen him since 1993. Time passes!

  • Comment number 38.

    Sorry for going off topic but this regarding the Carlos Tevez contract issue...

    Forget about the asking price but I do believe that Fergie should give Tevez more playing time rather than keeping him warm on the bench. When he first came last season he did look a bit rusty but look what happen later?

    Ronaldo may have scored 30 plus goals but Tevez scored some critical goal (last minute ones against Spurs and Blackburn) that allowed United to capture the Premiership and Champions League.

    I have just posted an article related to this story by stating my point of view on this whole matter. I would appreciate if you check it out and perhaps leave your thoughts/opinions on the comment box.

  • Comment number 39.


    Do you think South America deserves more than 4.5 qualifying places at a World Cup? That is the same as Asia, where the quality is nowhere near as good. And will they still get 4.5 on top of Brazil when they qualify automatically as hosts in 2014?

    For what it's worth, my division of berths would be…

    Host 1
    Europe 15
    S America 5.5
    N America 2.5
    Africa 5
    Asia 2.5
    Oceania 0.5

  • Comment number 40.

    Good Read again Tim as always, what we've come to expect from you?!

    My, My Tim what a busy boy you actually are, nice to see that, as it seesms that everyone believed that you had a bit of a doss really?! haha

    on the Footie Manager comment i also believe that Mr Bose has been spending far too much time believing that FM is actually real?! hahaha he'll be asking what ever happened to "To Maderia" next?! LOL
    tel Mihir to stop hogging our questions?!

    oh yes also the memory of WC94, some good times & to agree with post12 yes Leonardo quite blatently assulting the USA hahaha lol

  • Comment number 41.

    Talking of Football Manager Tim,

    A few that I have come across that seem to develop well from South America are:

    Diego Buanonotte,

    Jose San Roman,

    Mateo Musacchio,

    Nicolas Millan,

    Miguel Angel Fraga.

    Some of the spellings may be slightly incorrect, as they are straight off the top of my head.

    How much do you know of these players, Millan is a particularly interesting one, and are they as good in real life as Football Manger seems to predict.

    A response would be much appreciated.


  • Comment number 42.


    I almost forgot, Andres Guardado too. He looks pretty sweet!

  • Comment number 43.

    Sir Bobby,
    Andres Guardado plays for Deportivo La Coruna 4 the second year, he had a great first year, is a Mexican international and u can see him on UEFA Cup duty this week.

    Of the rest, due to FIVE dropping Argentine football coverage from this season, I can only comment on Buanonnote, who is certainly MVP for River last year and had a decent Olympics with a gorgous free kick. He is tiny and does not really rely on pace, so Europe would be a hard move.

    Tim, with such a fan club here, maybe u should post a link to ur other columns on this blog to keep the fanmail down to manageable levels- lol.

  • Comment number 44.

    Post 43,

    Thanks for the input. I have heard that Buanonotte is slightly on the small side.

    I was wondering, that although he has excellent technical attributes, whether his lack of physical presence will prevent him from really creating an impact in a 'bigger' & 'better' league?

  • Comment number 45.

    It looks like Bianchi has become the main candidate at taking the helm of the Argentine NT. It would be FAN-TAS-TIC if he does.

  • Comment number 46.

    coco wasn't doing a bad job...he was just doing it like it was 1980-90 something. but el checho batista can add something extra. something coco has missed out on. but i will stand and applaud basile. there was little wrong under his rule, but when its time to change, well...its time to change! how about bianchi and batista co-managing argentina like swden has lagerback and the other one? or too big egos for that?

  • Comment number 47.

    Bianchi? He reminds of the days when Boca were a defensive, compact and sometimes violent team doing whatever was needed to secue the result.

    Are we sure he can play with style like Argentina fans are accutomed to. I have my reservations...

  • Comment number 48.

    I don't, Bianchi would not do away with the tiki taka but he would ensure new blood in the defense (Pareja, Gonzalo, Garay, Fazio, Monzon, etc) and make sure that everyone gets their chances at playing for the NT.

    He'd still play Riquelme but he'd also have a backup plan. His track record speaks for itself (be it with Velez or Boca) and if he's not fit to manage Argentina then NOBODY is.


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