The day came and The Professional League Championship begins this Friday: the second of the six official tournaments that AFA contemplates for this year. Rosario Central-Argentinos Juniors from 7:15 p.m. at the Gigante de Arroyito and Defense and Justice-Hurricane Starting at 9:30 p.m. in Florencio Varela they will open the game of a first date that will last until Monday.
The last official date was played on October 25 of last year and it was that tense definition hand in hand between Boca and Independiente and Racing and River that ended up consecrating Boca after the remembered penalty that Franco Armani stopped Jonathan Galván and that, had he converted, would have made Racing champion. In other words, there is a hunger for soccer because The fans have not seen their teams play for three long months. In between, the Argentine National Team won the World Cup in Qatar and spread soccer joy that it is possible that this weekend will have resonance in various stadiums.
The technical directors had more than three months to assemble their squads and form their teams. Eighteen of them were able to keep their positions and will continue directing. Another ten will start from scratch. Gabriel Milito (Argentinos), Lucas Pusineri (Atlético Tucumán), Javier Sanguinetti (Banfield), the pairing Rodolfo de Paoli and Alejandro Milano (Barracas Central), Guillermo Farré (Belgrano), Hugo Ibarra (Boca), Marcelo Saralegui (Colón), Julio Vaccari (Defense and Justice), Diego Dabove (Huracán), Lucas Bovaglio (Instituto), Frank Darío Kudelka (Lanús), Fernando Gago (Racing), Rubén Insúa (San Lorenzo), Israel Damonte (Sarmiento), Javier Gandolfi (Workshops ), Diego Martínez (Tigre), Gustavo Munúa (Unión) and Alexander Medina (Vélez) make up the list of those who continue to command.
Instead, Carlos Ruiz (Arsenal), Leonardo Madelón (Central Córdoba), Abel Balbo (Students), Sebastián Romero (Gymnastics), Diego Flores (Godoy Cruz), Leandro Stillitano (Independiente), Gabriel Heinze (Newell’s), Martín Palermo ( Platense), Martín Demichelis (River) and Miguel Angel Russo (Rosario Central) are the ones who will debut in command of their teams. In this last payroll they coincide Russo, the coach who has directed the most games in the First Division (he has been in office since 1990) and who will be in charge of Central for the fifth time, Demichelis and Stillitano, who this weekend will debut in the highest category leading River and Independiente and Farré and Bovaglio who, after being promoted, will continue to command Belgrano and Instituto.
Precisely the presence of Demichelis on the River bank it will be one of the great attractions of the first days. Why For the first time in the last eight years, Marcelo Gallardo, the most successful and beloved coach in River Plate history, will not be sitting there. Demichelis returned from Germany, where he led Bayern Munich’s second unit, to turn the page. He will have to do it the way River demands, with good football and good results and without forgetting that the Copa Libertadores continues to be the measure of all things.
Also in Boca, the Copa Libertadores matters more than anything. And once again, as has been happening since 2007, Hugo Ibarra will be judged based on what happens to him in the maximum continental tournament at club level.. The credit that the coach from Formosa had achieved by winning the championship against Racing began to fade after the elimination of the Argentine Cup at the hands of the Patronato and the cup defeats with Racing at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 and There are those who believe that Ibarra is insufficient to make the leap in quality and put together a team that wins the Libertadores. We will have to refer to the facts.
On the contrary, and after having been left out in 2022 of three cups (the South American, Argentina, the League) and the championship, the victories against Boca consolidated Gago as Racing coach. Leading a new squad (12 signings), Leandro Stillitano must show his profile as an Independiente coach after having been Ariel Holan’s field assistant when he won the Copa Sudamericana in 2017 and impelled by the critical economic situation of the club. ruben insua again you will have to do a lot with little in San Lorenzo.
2022 was a shredder for techies. There were ninety changes in total and clubs like Central and Independiente had five coaches between starters and interim. Resultadism has these things and nothing indicates that bad habits will be changed in the season that is starting. We will have to see at the end of the year how many end up standing in the same place after having put their fingers in the plug for twelve months.