La Crisi Napolitana

As club struggles on the pitch, the chairman is embroiled in a dispute with players that has drawn the attention of the Italian and International Player Associations.

What is the limit of an owner’s authority over matters relating to players?

NAPOLI (December 10, 2019) —

Last week, Napoli chairman and owner Aurelio De Laurentiis told reporters he would sell his entire squad if given the chance, a sure sign the club’s civil war rumbles on. The chairman is reportedly considering cutting his losses and letting some of his best players leave in the winter transfer window.

De Laurentiis, 70, a prominent Italian film producer, has resurrected Napoli since buying them in 2004 after they had been declared bankrupt and relegated to Serie C (the Italian third division). The club basically had to start over again from scratch. The Partenopei have finished second in the race for the Scudetto, the Serie A title, three times in the last four seasons and have played entertaining football throughout that time.

However, he also has a tendency for making incendiary declarations, for falling out with his coaches, — for example Ancelotti’s predecessor Maurizio Sarri — and has a reputation for interfering with the coaching staff’s decisions and player selections. In short, a textbook lesson in what not to do when one owns a professional football club.

Aurelio De Laurentiis

Last month, De Laurentiis ordered a seven-day training camp for the players, during which they would not be allowed to go home to their families. Known as a “ritiro,” in Italian, they are used by clubs as a form of punishment for poor performance, and players view them as both demeaning and outdated. The ritiro was organised following Napoli’s defeat to Roma in Serie A on November 2. The players rebelled after the club’s 1-1 draw with Salzburg in the Champions League on the following Tuesday (November 5), going home rather than to the Castel Volturno training facility. De Laurentiis considered it an act of mutiny.

Napoli 1-1 Salzburg | Photo: Marca

This led to a furious stand-off between the playing staff and De Laurentiis. The club responded to the players’ absence from the retreat with a strongly-worded statement about protecting its rights which implied it would fine the players or even take legal action against them. Napoli’s vice-president, who just happens to be the owner’s son, Edo De Laurentiis, also took a swipe at the squad, claiming they lacked ‘balls’, and called for more ‘honour’ to be given to the ‘shirt and the city’. The fans are angry are both sides and protested in front of the Stadio San Paulo. Things are not harmonious in Napoli.

Napoli Vice-President, Edo De Laurentiis

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti came close to being fired by De Laurentiis (see update below). He denied his squad have turned against him after the club’s winless streak extended to eight matches with a 2-1 defeat to Bologna at home. “I have an excellent relationship with the squad,” Ancelotti told reporters. “No one has ever failed to respect me. I don’t see any friction between the players and us.” That winless streak now stands at nine as Napoli drew 1-1 over the weekend away at Udine.

Carlo Ancelotti, Manager, Napoli | photo: Goal.com

The pressure continues to mount on Ancelotti as the Partenopei languish seventh in Serie A, 17 points behind leaders Inter and eight adrift of the Champions League places.

“We are all united, we are all suffering in this delicate moment and we all want to resolve these issues together,” Ancelotti said.

Napoli’s results on the pitch reflect the continued internal problems. De Laurentiis went ahead with his threats and imposed fines on the players who refused to report to the training retreat he unilaterally imposed on the players. De Laurentiis fined them up to 50% of their October salaries, with captain Lorenzo Insigne reportedly ordered to pay the most at 350,000 Euros (nearly $400,000), followed by Brazilian defensive midfielder Allan at 150,000 Euros ($165,000). The fines could total 2.5 million Euros ($2.7 million).

The players have also been barred from speaking to the press, with Ancelotti only talking to the media prior to the Champions’ League game against Liverpool because not doing so would have broken UEFA rules. After the earlier Champions League draw with Salzburg, Ancelotti skipped his media duties.

Pressure is mounting on the club externally as well. The Italian Players Association ( l’associazione italiana calciatori, “AIC”) is looking into the situation. Carlo Ancelotti has stated publicly that he was not in agreement with the training camp, and as a result AIC president Damiano Tomassi said “it needs to be understood if and how the request for the training camp was formalized.” Tommasi says “the Napoli situation is a strange one and very unusual.” He added, “We talked about it with the team and put ourselves at the disposal of the Napoli players who will ask for our consultation.”

Napoli’s decision to fine its players for abandoning the in-season training camp ordered by the club owner is also being contested by FIFPro, the Amsterdam-based world players union.

FIFPro released a statement November 30, 2019, outlining its position:

FIFPro said the fines contradicted provisions in Italy’s collective bargaining agreement. “The players of Napoli cannot be subjected to arbitrary decisions of a disenchanted club when the result of a match is unsatisfactory,” FIFPro said.

“Technical matters are not the responsibility of club directors and we support (coach Carlo) Ancelotti and the players of Napoli for their united stand in clearly difficult times,” it said.


The AIC‘s mission is to protect, improve and negotiate the conditions, rights and status of all professional players by collective bargaining agreements. The Accordo Collettivo, or Collective Bargaining Agreement (the “AC”) at issue here is between the FIGC (Federazione Italiana Gioco Calcio, the Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie A and the AIC.

Clause 10 (Technical Instructions, Obligations and Rules of Behaviour) of the AC appears to place issues such as training within the sporting side of the club. The section states:

10.1. The Player must perform the sporting services within the organisation provided by the Club and in compliance with the technical instructions and other rules laid down for attainment of the competitive objectives.

The above clause, while likely open for interpretation, seems to uphold the argument if FIFPro that training falls under the authority of a club’s technical staff and not ownership or the commercial side of a club. Clause 10 goes on to state:

10.4. The rules pertaining to the Player’s private life are lawful and binding, following acceptance of same by the Player, acceptance which shall not be unreasonably withheld, only where justified by needs of the professional activities to be performed, without prejudice in any event to respect for human dignity.

The AC also has a clause dealing with a player’s contractual rights to a weekly rest day and vacation. (Clause 18). In addition to allowing players four weeks of continuous vacation each year, this section provides:

18.1. The Player is entitled to one rest day every week, normally in the first two days of the week.

At present, it is unclear if the AIC and/or FIFPro will be successful in having the fines overturned and the players paid in accordance with their contracts. The matter could be subject to arbitration if a formal complaint is made by the AIC. Beyond the issue of the authority of a club owner to order the players to a training retreat, it would be hard to argue that such a measure deprived the players of “human dignity.” A request by Russo Soccer for further comment from FIFPro is still pending as of the time of publishing. Further updates on this story will be provided as news becomes available.

EDITOR’S UPDATE: As this article was being finalised, Carlo Anceolotti was fired Tuesday evening, despite Napoli winning their final Champions League group stage match 4-0 over Genk and qualifying for the knockout stage of the competition. He is now a favourite to assume the managerial duties at Everton or Arsenal in the Premier League. Gennaro Gattuso, who was a candidate for the Inter Miami CF manager’s job, will take over at Napoli.


Thierry Henry Est Le Nouvel Entreineur De L’Impact De Montréal

Il s’est engagé pour deux saisons, plus une en option, avec le club canadien.

MONTRÉAL, Québec (le 14 novembre 2019) —

Thierry Henry (42 ans) est de retour en MLS. L’ancien joueur des New York Red Bulls a été officiellement nommé entraîneur de l’Impact de Montréal ce jeudi.

L’ancien coach de l’AS Monaco s’est engagé pour deux saisons, plus une en option.

« Thierry Henry partage notre vision de vouloir élever cette organisation en nous aidant à atteindre nos objectifs sur le terrain, mais aussi à l’extérieur, » a commenté Kevin Gilmore, le président de l’Impact, dans un communiqué. « Il est un compétiteur et un leader qui s’est illustré au plus haut niveau tout au long de sa carrière. Il amène ses aptitudes avec lui à Montréal, un endroit où il veut être. »

Henry retired from his stellar playing career in 2014 after playing his last three seasons with the Red Bulls. Henry began his managing career with the Arsenal Academy in 2015 before becoming an assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgian Men’s National Team, earning a third-place finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Last season, Henry took his first assignment as a head coach, taking over from Leonardo Jardim and assuming command of AS Monaco in October 2018. However, he struggled with the team, and in twenty games as manager, amassed 5 wins, 4 draws and 11 defeats, before his dismissal by the club’s directors.

There are currently four French players on the Montreal roster: Rudy Camacho, who played at Sedan, Zakaria Diallo, former player at Dijon and Brest, former Olympique de Marseille standout Rod Fanni and French international Bacary Sagna.

Henry retrouvera par ailleurs au club son ancien coéquipier au Barça, Bojan Krkic (29 ans), qui lui a souhaité la bienvenue sur les réseaux sociaux.

Henry Will Call Le Stade Saputo Home 📷: Flickr

« C’est un honneur de devenir entraîneur-chef de l’Impact de Montréal et de revenir en MLS, » a déclaré Thierry Henry dans le communiqué.

« C’est une ligue que je connais bien où j’ai passé de très bons moments. Être au Québec, à Montréal, qui a un énorme héritage multiculturel, c’est quelque chose d’extraordinaire. J’ai toujours eu un oeil sur ce club et maintenant j’y suis. »

Thierry Henry

La reprise de l’entraînement est programmée pour la mi-janvier.

MLS Offseason Calendar Starts Today

MIAMI, Fla. (November 11, 2019)—

Today marks the beginning of the MLS offseason player movement calendar. 

The action will start with a 55-hour window starting at 1 pm ET today in which teams may sign and trade players.

Other important dates include the MLS Expansion Draft on Nov. 19, which you will be able to watch on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS mobile app, 

Also, the deadline for clubs to exercise options that are contained in some players’ contracts is on November 21.

For players who qualify, the opening of free agency is on November 25. 

You can read more about the rules and procedures surrounding the various drafts, the criteria for qualification and the processes for player movement at the Russo Law and Soccer website. Links are below:

Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

Expansion Draft Rules And Procedures

End-Of-Year Waivers Rules And Procedures

Complete 2019 MLS Offseason Calendar

The complete offseason calendar is outlined below:

Nov. 11, 1:00 PM ET

Trade Window Opens
Following a 10-week roster freeze, MLS clubs may sign and trade players.

Nov. 13, 8:00 PM ET

Trade Window Closes and Blackout Period Begins
Blackout Period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade players until conclusion of 2019 Expansion Draft.

Nov. 14

Club Deadline to submit Bona Fide Offers
MLS clubs notify the League Office in writing of players who have been extended a bona fide offer.

Nov. 19, 5:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Expansion Draft
Watch live in the MLS app or on MLSsoccer.com. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC may select up to five players each from the eligible player list. The list of players eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Nov. 16 at 10:00 AM ET:

Expansion Draft Rules And Procedures

Nov. 21, 1:00 PM ET

Club Deadline to Exercise Options
MLS clubs notify the League Office in writing of players whose options they are exercising.

Nov. 25, 3:00 PM ET

End-of-Year Waivers
The End-of-Year Waivers process is conducted in reverse order of 2019 season finish, taking into account postseason performance. Per the Expansion Priority Draft, Nashville SC will have the 25th pick and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection in each round.

Eligible for selection are players who do not meet the minimum requirements for Re-Entry Process or Free Agency. The list of players eligible for the End-of-Year Waivers will be released on Nov. 22: End-Of-Year Waivers Rules And Procedures

Nov. 25, 3:00 PM ET

Free Agency Opens
Clubs may engage with players, other than their own, that are eligible for Free Agency. Free Agency eligible players are out-of-contract and option-declined players who are at least 28 years old and who have completed a minimum of eight service years. The complete list of Free Agents will be released on Nov. 22.

Nov. 26, 3:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Re-Entry Process – Stage 1
The Re-Entry Process, Stage 2 is conducted in the same format as Stage 1 and consists of MLS players who were not selected in the Stage 1. Not all unselected Stage 1 players will be available for selection as players may re-sign with their previous club between stages or may opt out of the process.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Process – Stage 1 will be released on Nov. 22: Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

Dec. 3, 3:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Re-Entry Process – Stage 2
The Re-Entry Process is conducted in reverse order of 2019 season finish, taking into account postseason performance. Per the Expansion Priority Draft, Nashville SC will have the 25th pick and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection in each round.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Process – Stage 2 will be released on Nov. 3 at 10:00 AM ET: Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

“They play like a team in crisis.”

Former Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger’s Discusses Barça After 0-0 Draw in Champions League.

MIAMI, Fla. (November 7, 2019) —

Arsène Wenger analysed Barcelona for BeIN Sports for the midweek UEFA Champions League match versus Slavia Prague. He maintains that Barça play like a “team in crisis.”

The reigning La Liga champions were stunned on Tuesday night after they were unable to break the deadlock against Slavia Prague and were held to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou.

“They’re top of the league, they’re top of their group and they play like a team in crisis,” the legendary former Arsenal boss said on beIN Sports.

“Their game is too slow. There is no dynamic in the last 30 meters, it’s too individual.

“And every time they lose the ball, it looks like they will concede a goal on [the] counterattack because they cannot deal with pace against the opponent… the team lacks dynamic, lacks energy, lacks confidence.”

It was the first time since 2012 that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi failed to score in a home Champions League group game. He came close, striking the bar in a superb solo effort.

Wenger agrees with my own opinion that Barcelona are far too reliant on the Argentine superstar. He echoed that in discussing the Culés’ failure to make the breakthrough against Slavia Prague.

“Barcelona is an interesting case because they have a history of fantastic collective play, and on top of that, came Messi to make differences,” the 70-year-old explained.

“Today, it looks like they play and they wait for Messi to do something, but the basic strengths of the team play is a bit gone. And you think, when will Messi get the ball to do something?”

“And before, the music, the basic music, was the fantastic team play, making it difficult to catch the ball, and then on top of that came Messi.

“Today, it looks to me that they lost charisma.”

Wenger continued his brutal assessment of Barca’s performance with a stat comparison for ‘distance covered’ in the match.

Barcelona managed to cover 97 km in comparison to Slavia Prague’s 109 km, with the Frenchman saying it was the equivalent of 84 box-to-box runs.

He added: “Barcelona was beaten tonight really, physically, and then, not enough pace.”

While critical of Barça manager Ernesto Valverde, he was careful not to blame him entirely. “At the end, it’s always the coach who is guilty, he’s not always responsible,” he said. “There’s a difference between being guilty and responsible, you know?”

“As we said, Valverde does not make the decision on who comes in. He has to do the best with what he has.”

“So, what we speak about raises many questions: who has the final word when you buy a player? Secondly, is this really the player that the team needs?”


Source Credit: Sport Bible

Manager “De Moda” – Does His Mobile Boarding Pass Say BCN or MIA?

MIAMI, Fla. (November 5, 2019) —

Marcelo Daniel Gallardo ticks most of the boxes on two teams’ managerial checklists.

Marcelo Gallardo has put together an impressive CV in his six years in South America. Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

He’s one of the front runners to be the first manager of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, he is reportedly a front runner to take the helm of a much larger, more famous club. A club whose tag line is “More Than A Club.” For 43-year-old Club Atlético River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo, whose baby-faced appearance has earned him the nicknamed “El Muñeco – the Doll,” it’s an enviable position to be in no doubt.

Manchester City coach Pep Gallardo thinks very highly of Gallardo.

“Lo que ha hecho Gallardo en River es increíble. A nivel resultados, de darle consistencia, y otro año y otro año. Y se van jugadores pero sigue estando a nivel”.

“What Gallardo has done with River is incredible,” Guardiola told an Argentine TV station. “Some things are inexplicable. Every year three coaches are named as the best in the world, and he’s never among them. I can’t understand it. It’s as if there’s nothing else in the world apart from Europe.”

Recently he has been linked as the successor to Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona. Valverde’s contract is expiring on June 30, 2020 and it’s all but certain he will not be back. It is also certain that Lionel Messi approves of Gallardo as a replacement, having already referred to him as “one of the best.” Leo voted El Muñeco the third best coach in the world at FIFA’s The Best Awards, and that vote surely was heard by the Catalan club’s board. Having Messi’s ‘approval’ would be an important factor in deciding whether to hire a new coach. Another Blaugrana great, Andres Iniesta, who is currently playing for Vissel Kobe in the J-League, said “El trabajo que está haciendo Gallardo es sensacional.” (“The work Gallardo is doing is sensational.”)

What are Gallardo’s credentials that have him to linked to one of the most storied clubs in the world? In short, it’s his combination of youth, experience, a commitment to attacking football and an impressive CV as a player.

Now in his sixth year in charge, he has experienced great success at River; he has won the Copa Libertadores twice, and will have a chance to make that three in this year’s final later this month against Flamengo. Managing a club for six years is extremely rare in South America. Demands and needs change quickly due to the fact that the best players are continuously being sold off, mostly to Europe. As Guardiola pointed out, at River Plate “every year the players leave, but the work continues.”

Compensating for this has given Gallardo a depth of experience beyond his years and certainly beyond the baby-faced appearance that has left him dubbed “El Muñeco – the Doll.”

Gallardo is credited with being proficient at reading the opposition, accurately assessing his own resources and making adjustments to the tactical plan, all without confusing his players. When he first took over at River, he used a 4-4-2 formation, featuring the old-fashioned Argentine diamond — a holder in front of the centre-backs, two mixed midfielders either side and the traditional No. 10, the position Gallardo had played.

On occasions he has even shifted to a back three — the first leg of last year’s Libertadores final against Boca the most notable.

Marcelo Gallardo guided River Plate to the 2018 Copa Libertadores title over Boca Juniors. Denis Doyle/Getty Images

He was a top-class attacking midfielder in his playing days, subtle and skillful, with over 40 caps and two World Cups for Argentina to his credit. His playing career is mostly associated with River Plate, but he also played in Ligue Un (France) with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco. He also played in MLS and at Nacional de Montivideo. where he ended his playing days and promptly started coaching the side, taking them to the Uruguayan league title.

Gallardo played in two World Cups: France1998 and Korea-Japan 2002

The next test will be the Copa Libertadores final, now a one game final. It should be a tough challenge, as Flamengo is an attacking team under Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus.

If River prevail they will once again head to the FIFA Club World Cup — the one tournament where Gallardo has always come up short. In 2015, his side scraped by with a 1-0 semifinal win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima of Japan, before being overwhelmed in the final against Barcelona, 3-0. Last year, River did not even make the final, falling on penalties to Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.

Regardless of the Club World Cup, a tournament that is not widely followed, Gallardo is the “in-demand” coach of the moment. Spanish press call him “El director técnico de moda.”

Both Barcelona and Miami have maintained contact with people connected to Gallardo, according to Argentinean publications. It was also reported that Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough had been to Argentina during the past few months. Gallardo has been very smart, with indications that he will not sit down and talk about a possible exit until after River’s last game this year. That would be in December when the Argentina Superliga season ends.

For Miami, hiring an Argentine coach makes sense, seeing that the first two players the club signed are both from Argentina, making for an instant cultural connection for two promising players. It is also a strategy that worked well for Inter Miami McDonough when he was with Atlanta United. It was clear from early on indicated that the Five Stripes were going be very ambitious by building top-of-the-line training grounds, spending significant sums in MLS terms to acquire players and hiring an internationally well-known coach in Tata Martino, who had once led FC Barcelona and the Argentinian national team.

Inter Miami CF is overdue for announcing its head coach. Managing owner Jorge Mas previously said he was expecting to have a coach named by the end of summer, then changed it to the end of September, and later changed to the end of October. That date has now come and gone. As each day passes without a coach being named, the most plausible explanation I can think of is that the head coach is someone who is still busy. Marcelo Gallardo clearly fits that description. What else would explain the hold up?

I’ve written before about the shortlist of top coaching candidates for the new club. While only those inside the negotiations can say for sure (which obviously they won’t), if the first head coach was going to be Santiago Solari or Gennaro Gattuso, or any other manager not currently employed, it’s hard to understand why that person is not already in Miami helping to plan for the inaugural season.

Photo: DobleAmarilla.com

The Copa Libertadores Final is November 23. If that mobile boarding pass says ‘MIA’ we can expect a coaching announcement at the end of this month.

Read more | Relacionado

A Coach In Demand: Gallardo Could End Up At Barcelona … Or Will He Be In Miami?

MIAMI, Fla. (November 1, 2019) —

Marcelo Daniel Gallardo ticks most of the boxes on two teams’ managerial checklists.

Marcelo Gallardo has put together an impressive CV in his six years in South America. Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

He’s one of the front runners to be the first manager of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, he is reportedly a front runner to take the helm of a much larger, more famous club. A club whose tag line is “More Than A Club.” For 43-year-old Club Atlético River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo, whose baby-faced appearance has earned him the nicknamed “El Muñeco – the Doll,” it’s an enviable position to be in no doubt.

Manchester City coach Pep Gallardo thinks very highly of Gallardo.

“Lo que ha hecho Gallardo en River es increíble. A nivel resultados, de darle consistencia, y otro año y otro año. Y se van jugadores pero sigue estando a nivel”.

“What Gallardo has done with River is incredible,” Guardiola told an Argentine TV station. “Some things are inexplicable. Every year three coaches are named as the best in the world, and he’s never among them. I can’t understand it. It’s as if there’s nothing else in the world apart from Europe.”

Recently he has been linked as the successor to Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona. Valverde’s contract is expiring on June 30, 2020 and it’s all but certain he will not be back. It is also certain that Lionel Messi approves of Gallardo as a replacement, having already referred to him as “one of the best.” Leo voted El Muñeco the third best coach in the world at FIFA’s The Best Awards, and that vote surely was heard by the Catalan club’s board. Having Messi’s ‘approval’ would be an important factor in deciding whether to hire a new coach. Another Blaugrana great, Andres Iniesta, who is currently playing for Vissel Kobe in the J-League, said “El trabajo que está haciendo Gallardo es sensacional.” (“The work Gallardo is doing is sensational.”)

What are Gallardo’s credentials that have him to linked to one of the most storied clubs in the world? In short, it’s his combination of youth, experience, a commitment to attacking football and an impressive CV as a player.

Now in his sixth year in charge, he has experienced great success at River; he has won the Copa Libertadores twice, and will have a chance to make that three in this year’s final later this month against Flamengo. Managing a club for six years is extremely rare in South America. Demands and needs change quickly due to the fact that the best players are continuously being sold off, mostly to Europe. As Guardiola pointed out, at River Plate “every year the players leave, but the work continues.”

Compensating for this has given Gallardo a depth of experience beyond most coaches of his experience.

Gallardo is credited with being proficient at reading the opposition, accurately assessing his own resources and making adjustments to the tactical plan, all without confusing his players. When he first took over at River, he used a 4-4-2 formation, featuring the old-fashioned Argentine diamond — a holder in front of the centre-backs, two mixed midfielders either side and the traditional No. 10, the position Gallardo had played.

On occasions he has even shifted to a back three — the first leg of last year’s Libertadores final against Boca being a prime example.

Marcelo Gallardo guided River Plate to the 2018 Copa Libertadores title over Boca Juniors. Denis Doyle/Getty Images

He was a top-class attacking midfielder in his playing days, subtle and skillful, with over 40 caps and two World Cups for Argentina to his credit. His playing career is mostly associated with River Plate, but he also played in Ligue Un (France) with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco. He also played in MLS and at Nacional de Montivideo. where he ended his playing days and promptly started coaching the side, taking them to the Uruguayan league title.

Gallardo played in two World Cups: France1998 and Korea-Japan 2002

The next test will be the Copa Libertadores final, now a one game final. It should be a tough challenge, as Flamengo is an attacking team under Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus.

If River prevail they will once again head to the FIFA Club World Cup — the one tournament where Gallardo has always come up short. In 2015, his side scraped by with a 1-0 semifinal win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima of Japan, before being overwhelmed in the final against Barcelona, 3-0. Last year, River did not even make the final, falling on penalties to Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.

Regardless of the Club World Cup, a tournament that is not widely followed, Gallardo is the “in-demand” coach of the moment. Spanish press call him “El director técnico de moda.”

Both Barcelona and Miami have maintained contact with people connected to Gallardo, according to Argentinean publications. It was also reported that Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough had been to Argentina during the past few months. Whether this was to talk to people connected with the coach or to talk to potential players is not known. For his part, Gallardo has been very smart, with indications that he will not sit down and talk about a possible exit until after River’s last game this year. Strictly speaking that would be in December when the Argentina Superliga season ends.

For Miami, hiring an Argentine coach makes sense, seeing that the first two players the club signed are both from Argentina, making for an instant cultural connection for two promising players. It is also a strategy that worked well for Inter Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough when he was with Atlanta United. It was clear from early on indicated that the Five Stripes were going be very ambitious by building top-of-the-line training grounds, spending significant sums in MLS terms to acquire players and hiring an internationally well-known coach in Tata Martino, who had once led FC Barcelona and the Argentinean national team.

Inter Miami CF is overdue for announcing its head coach. Managing owner Jorge Mas previously said he was expecting to have a coach named by the end of September, later changed to October. That date has now come and gone. As each day passes without a coach being named, the most plausible explanation I can think of is that the head coach is someone who is still busy. Marcelo Gallardo clearly fits that description. What else would explain the hold up?

I’ve written before about the shortlist of top coaching candidates for the new club. While only those inside the negotiations can say for sure (which obviously they won’t), if the first head coach was going to be Santiago Solari or Gennaro Gattuso, or any other manager not currently employed, it’s hard to understand why that person is not already in Miami helping to plan for the inaugural season.

The Copa Libertadores Final is November 23. If you ask me, there will be a coaching announcement at the end of this month.

Read more | Relacionado