Martín Demichelis, lover of the ball and solidity

On April 28, 2002, River played a key game against Racing. Everything indicated that the result was going to end tied at zero, until at minute 44 a foul near the Millionaire area ended in a free kick for La Academia. The adrenaline and the need of both teams produced some jostling between the players and Daniel Giménez, the referee of that match, at 44 minutes into the second half he sent off Ángel David Comizzo, goalkeeper of the team led by Ramón Díaz. With no further changes available, the person who took charge of the goal was the man who was once again on the radar of the entire River Plate community and of local football: Martín Demichelis.

The young defender, with his father’s background as a goalkeeper in the pastures of Justiniano Posse -a town in Córdoba with less than 10,000 inhabitants-, did not hesitate to wear the black sweatshirt with Comizzo’s number 12, adjust his gloves and set up the barrier . Standing near his left post, he observed how Racing’s set play did not prosper: the ball ended up hitting that wall that had Esteban “Cuchu” Cambiasso wide-eyed to stop Claudio Úbeda’s shot and the rebound It led to a cinematographic run by Nelson “Pipino” Cuevas – a prologue to what Pity Martínez would later do at the Santiago Bernabéu against Boca – who got rid of Gustavo Campagnuolo and scored the winning goal.

Demichelis, twenty years after that historic moment, sets foot in River again. But this time not as a player, now the opportunity is nothing more and nothing less than to replace Marcelo Gallardo. To put himself in charge of a story that he left written the seven and a half most glorious years of the Nuñez institution. “It’s not a small thing to arrive after Marcelo. That they have decided that it’s me… Because I had more of a coach’s stomach, I was able to control my emotions and have a balance that allowed me to enjoy reality with my wife and children. I am fully I am grateful to the people who placed their trust in me and I am enjoying it, with joy and a smile”, were his words in a chat with the club’s official website entitled “At home again”.

With the idea of ​​keeping someone linked to the institution on the substitute bench, Enzo Francescoli understood that the right person was focused on Demichelis. The ex-soccer player, who was trained in the River and later put on the shirts of Bayern Munich, Málaga, Atlético de Madrid, Manchester City, believed that it was time to return to where he had started everything. “I haven’t been in the country for 19 and a half years and more than one will doubt these modern, young coaches that we are trained there, that we come to speak difficult. My family obviously from having lived in different countries speaking different languages. But at home only one is spoken, which is the River Plate language, ”he said in the Más Monumental auditorium

With a curriculum that details his three and a half years, almost four, as coach in charge of the second team of Bayern Munich, one of the most important teams in world football, he does not hesitate to leave behind his good time on German soil and get on the ship of this journey to which he arrived with his entire family, to be accompanied in this new challenge. “I thank Mundo River and all the leadership for the three-year contract, both for me and for the entire working group,” he was moved in his official presentation, accompanied by Jorge Brito (River’s president) and Francescoli, among others.

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Under the imprint of forming a competitive squad on all fronts in which it has to play, the predominant thing on its blackboard seems to be in the transitions marked by the thermometer of each game. “I will try to give him defensive solidity, but without negotiating going forward. I come from a culture where transitions make a difference globally. Of course I am a lover of the ball, but not of that boring possession. We will try to be as vertical as possible, as long as the moment considers it, ”he clarified in his welcome speech.

Demichelis has more than five years of training to make this decision and intends to be in line with the demanding job of maintaining a language similar to Gallardo’s. In his coaching staff, he has among his ranks Javier Pinola and Germán Lux (field assistants); Flavio Pérez and Diego Riberi (physical preparations) and Alejandro Saccone (goal coach). “River prepares you, educates you, trains you, instills principles and culture in you. It’s not just a way to play, it’s a lifestyle. Those principles were embedded in my DNA, which is why I am 100% sure that I started to be a coach when I came here at that time, not now when they called me. River demands from history and it is wonderful to see the progress within a tough stage of the country and Argentine football, “he said in the privacy of the talk” Again at home “.

In this motto that requires an extra commitment, Demichelis’s objectives remain in the squad of a European school with which he seeks to take the reins of a comparative line that always tempts him to say that the Núñez institution has many coincidences with the team German where he established himself as an idol. “Bayern and River have very similar principles and have very similar histories: both require you to win games, championships and the forms are fundamental. There will be details, nuances, where the team will mutate, but the essence will be the same. My team will go in search of prominence, always”, he says when reflecting on these two clubs where his name climbed to the top of the fans’ memory.

His marked presence encourages the future of a club that wrote the best of its history in the last decade. Demichelis smiles at the questions, responds with the ABC of the River Plate manual, like those artists who know how to put people in their pockets, and what resounds in the auditorium in the River Plate halls is a quote that doesn’t fail. “A glorious coach from this glorious institution said a phrase some time ago that has remained forever: ‘That people believe because there is a team to believe with’; well, let’s keep believing”

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