It's official, Ariel Ortega is a nut job. Granted, I don't now if he's certifiable, but when I say nut job I mean someone who just can't be trusted by his teammates. How do you count on someone whose head just isn't in the game? He came out of hiding on Wednesday, showing up for training at River Plate's Ezeiza facility. No reasons were given for his absence the day before, just bizarre statements concerning his form and how it isn't were he'd like it to be.
Let us not forget that his is the same guy who, in his fifteenth year as a pro, has never stayed at one club for more than two years after he left River in 1997. This is someone who'd rather not play for 19 months than see out his contract in Turkey. Not very professional now, is it?
I've never particularly thought he was all that good, or better than others of his generation. He has collected 85 caps for Argentina, scoring 17 goals. But in the end, his career will be mostly remembered for walking out on his employers and getting sent off for headbutting Edwin van der Sar in a World Cup quarterfinal. [ESPN Soccernet]
In other Superclasico news:
That's right, the same guy who whipped out three straight-red cards at the World Cup in Germany has been assigned to the game at the Estadio Monumental. Here's a little trivia for you: I'm sure you all know that Horacio Elizondo sent off Wayne Rooney and Zinedine Zidane at FIFA's shindig last summer. But who was the third player he sent off without showing them a yellow card first? Go here for the answer. [FIFA official site]
River coach Daniel Passarella is experimenting with a new formation in training. He's considering adding a defender and lining up 4-3-1-2 on Sunday. It would give River a little more cover against a Boca Juniors side that is very quick on the break. [TyC Sports]
Reports out of Buenos Aires claim that Ricardo La Volpe has settled on his starting XI. They are as follows: Aldo Bobadilla(GK), Matias Silvestre(D), Daniel Diaz(D), Cludio Morel Rodriguez(D), Pablo Ledesma(M), Fernando Gago(M), Jose Maria Calvo(M); Andres Franzoia(M), Neri Cardozo(M), Rodrigo Palacio(F) and Martin Palermo(F). If this is the line-up, it would be Franzoia's first start for Boca. Silvestre is dealing with an uncomfortable arch in his right foot but should be ready to go. [TyC Sports]
Boca's most famous supporter hosted the a BBQ for the club's players and staff Wednesday. Here's what he's quoted as saying to get the troops ready for Sunday:
"In these games, the shirt counts for something, and ours is the best."
"River need to come out and look for goals and a positive result because they are in a much dire situation than we are."
In reference to the game against Velez Sarsfield last Sunday where they came back to win 3-2 after being down 0-2: "It still remains to be seen how many goals one must score to kill off Boca."
"I hope to God that Boca win." [TyC Sports]