What happens to Marcelo Gallardo? A trip to the head of River’s coach, furious about a present that no one saw coming
Marcelo Gallardo He is the most successful coach in the history of River and, in turn, the best representative in that area in Argentine soccer. Nobody looks like him, nobody comes close to him. In recent months -it is not about today, right now, sealed the squalid elimination in the Libertadores Cup and after two series defeats in the local tournament – showed a side wrapped in anger. Intolerant, off axis from him. The expulsion at the end of the 0-2 with Godoy Cruz (“I have the balls to throw myself, asshole”he yelled at Nicolás Lamolina) exhibits his dark side.
The arrival of Miguel Borgia and the hypothesis of Paul Solari show that the millionaire coach wants to try again. That his roadmap is continuous reinvention. However, the eight years in continued with the sharp fang in “be competitive” as a header phrase, they leave their mark. Anger arises spontaneously, annoyance accompanies it more often. The wear and tear of having given (almost, almost) everything.
The wheel never stops: this Wednesday, against Barracas Central, there will be a new challenge for the Argentine Cup, for the 32nd final. The tournament that was more than once the springboard for the next Copa Libertadores, although imagining the Doll in 2023 seems like a science fiction movie. Neither that contest, nor the local tournament motivate the ego of a driver who has already won everything.
And in a devastating context: the quantity and quality of the squad, on the one hand, and what it offers collectively on the field of play, on the other, are at the lowest level in their entire career. There were other downturned processes, in the run-up to the final with Atletico Tucumán of the Argentine Cup 2017 and in the previous one (it included four games without winning) of the very final with Mouth in Mendoza 2018. The wear was less and, above all, there were several caciques. Today there are Armani, Maidana, Pinola (on another plane) and Enzo Pérez. He raises his head and…
What happened to Gallardo? There are 10 reasons to understand, by far, that mysticism is on pause. His negative atmosphere stands out, which may not let him think as creatively as ever.
1) Four changes together at halftime. Three changes, two changes, at halftime, but… Four? With a 2-0 deficit against Godoy Cruz, two defenders and not even Juanfer Quintero as the first alternative, a divan case. He gave the impression that he wanted to change the whole team, but “only” Mammana (costs him the side), González Pírez (costs him the stage), De la Cruz (in another tune) and Romero (in reverse) came out.
2) The reinforcements (almost) never provided solutions. Before, it was one or two, who were expected with all the time in the world (Pity Martínez, Casco, De la Cruz…) and now they are all. A couple of bursts from Barco did not transform the scene. None raised his head, nor was he indispensable when the team required him. The quality of the majority is proven: and much more, for the discreet Argentine soccer.
3) The weak overall task in the series with Vélez. Without game or rebellion, he could be thrashed in Liniers and only exposed some pepper in the revenge. He was harmed by technology: Matías Suárez’s hand was barely a touch, but he cannot hide the insignificance of his failure. In recent history, it’s hard to find such a tame removal.
4) The discomfort with the VAR. From the hand of Suárez to the little addition in the match with Godoy Cruz, going through the controversial penalty against Huracán, River feels persecuted. Gallardo takes note of something global: technology slows down his team, which he wants most.
5) The wear and tear of eight years in office. The Doll does not deceive with its look: it is as it is. It is obvious, logically in an indecipherable scenario, with reinventions every semester, that his image transmits the passage of time. He happens to him in games: he gets up and sits down to the rhythm of a team that doesn’t represent him.
6) Weak individual responses, tactical confusion. Errors of almost everyone (who is having a good season, Armani, Enzo Pérez?), public anger with De la Cruz, anger with Herrera (he even hit him) in desperation to point out an indication in the match with Atlético Tucumán. Scheme changes from one game to another: who would have thought that Gallardo would have two nines with the same characteristics, like Beltrán and Romero?
7) Lost personal control. How many times did you get angry with the referees? tens. Like the outburst with Lamolina, a free insult? Rarely. What discovers physical and mental exhaustion. In the same vein: he suspended two press conferences in a row at the local level.
8) Little motivation until the end of the year. Only once was he eliminated in the second round of the Libertadores: against Independiente del Valle, in 2016, it was the other. He has two local titles left and the need to qualify for the 2023 cup. In addition, before he shone in the cup and failed in the local tournament. Now, play poorly and lose on both platforms.
9) Julián Álvarez and Enzo Fernández left, the best interpreters. Young people of the house. The replacements are not inside… and they don’t seem to come from outside. The frustration over Luis Suárez’s decision (without Libertadores, he was not going to come) must continue to be chewed on.
10) Your ideas, in check. Without fireworks upstairs, shouldn’t I go back to that rocky version of the 2015 Libertadores? Start over, back to front. Although that would mean capitulating. And Gallardo’s greatness is tinged with another symphony.