The cycle of Marcelo Gallardo in River Plate has its final closure. Strictly speaking, these finishing duels do not count for the record, except for the points. However, they have the emotional charge of being the last minutes in which the Doll is sitting on the millionaire bench. The final point will be against Real Betis, a squad led by Manuel Pellegrini, who was the Argentine’s coach in the cast of the blood band, at the beginning of the century,
It is expected that the attendance at the Malvinas Argentina stadium, in Mendoza, will be 40 thousand people for this Sunday. I mean, full. That is the expectation in the trans-Andean nation to fire one of the most successful strategists at the club level. And it is not for less, the native of Merlo was eight years in charge of the team that officiates as a local in the Monumental de Núñez. In that period, River conquered 14 titles, highlighting the Copa Libertadores of 2015 and 2018. In the latter, defeating Boca Juniors, their usual rival, in the final. A special seasoning.
The contender on duty gives a special flavor to the meeting. Sevillians are one of the paintings sensation in Spain. Although they are in sixth place in LaLiga, their great campaign in the Europa League It has earned him praise from many latitudes. An attractive match is in sight, friendly on paper, but with good football spirits. Even more so with the background left by River last Wednesdayin Sausalito, when the intensity prevailed in the clash against Colo Colo.
Manuel Pellegrini directed River Plate between 2002 and 2003. He landed in the institution of the blood band after outstanding presentations in San Lorenzo de Almagro. At that time, it coincided with Marcelo Gallardowho returned to Argentina, after his first step in European football, when he defended Monaco.
The millionaire set went through a slow process of reconstruction at that time, under a huge climate of pressure and discontent from the fans, due to the success of Boca de Carlos Bianchi, that he dominated America without counterweight, and that he was capable of beating Real Madrid in the Intercontinental Cup. It was not an easy time for the River Plate fans.
Despite all the problems and difficulties, Pellegrini managed to make River competitive. Meanwhile, a more mature Gallardo listened and watched the Engineer attentively, trying to absorb and learn, knowing that his future was in the technical direction, when he hung up his boots. The Chilean coach was also not the world-renowned figure he is today, but he was close to making that leap.
In that meanwhile together, they were close to reaching the South American Cup, but succumbed to Cienciano from Peru in the decisive instance. The Engineer was on the bench and the Doll was a starter in the two finals. The second leg is remembered, among other things, for the hamstring injury suffered by Marcelo Salas, who had to leave the field before 20 minutes. With the former midfielder as DT, River would have his revenge in that contest, since he would achieve it in 2014.
The future of Marcelo Gallardo is unknown. However, many point out that he could have opportunities in the football of the old continent. Something that Pellegrini himself has asserted in the past. “He has a track record that few can match, all these years have done him great to prepare. He has the resume, the prestige, and the name; It would be very rare for him not to have a visit to Europe”, declared the Chilean strategist to TyC Sports, in mid-2021.
In that conversation with the Argentine channel, Pellegrini recalled the moment they met in Buenos Aires. In addition, he revealed that the Doll approached him to talk when he was taking his first steps as a technician. “When I had the fortune to direct it I saw it very footballized. We even had a very long dialogue in Manchester, when he was just starting his coaching career.” counted.
For the former Real Madrid manager, the fact that Gallardo played in France facilitates an eventual passage to the other side of the Atlantic. “I think that having done part of the race here is important, because the environment is known”, He said.
Gallardomania ends this Sunday. River Plate fans have come to Mendoza to pay tribute to the technical director. They have even packed the hotel where the team is staying. However, managers are already looking ahead. According to reports from the other side of the mountain range, the next coach would be another acquaintance of Pellegrini: Martín Demichelis.
The two-time World Cup player led Bayern Munich II until this Friday, when he had his farewell from the subsidiary of the largest cast in Germany, which plays in the fourth category of Teutonic football. He was in charge for 73 games, with 38 wins, 18 draws and 17 losses.
The former defender, who already has everything agreed with the leadership of the River Plate team, according to several trans-Andean media, is a true gift from the Engineer, since he was directed by the Chilean in River, Malaga and Manchester City. In fact, in an interview he gave to Clarín in 2020, the former defender maintained that Pellegrini is the best coach he had. Something that would also state, for example, Albert Acosta.
Everything indicates that Demichelis will be made official as River’s DT during the next week. It will take place after Gallardo’s last duel, which will be this Sunday at 5:00 p.m. (Chile) against Real Betis of Pellegrini and Claudio Bravo.