Gallardo to remain River Plate coach

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Madrid, Dec 10 (IANS) Marcelo Gallardo will remain the coach of River Plate next year after leading his team to the Copa Libertadores title here, the club’s sporting director Enzo Francescoli said.

Speculation has been rife in Argentina that the 42-year-old could leave the club after four-and-a-half years in charge, reports Xinhua news agency.

Talking to the media after River beat their Argentina rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final to complete a 5-3 aggregate victory, Francescoli on Sunday said: “We’re going for more,”

Gallardo was absent from River’s bench on Sunday, having been suspended for four matches for entering the team’s dressing room at halftime in their semi-final against Gremio while serving a ban.

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The fixture at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium followed a 2-2 draw in the first match at Boca’s La Bombonera last month.

Originally scheduled for River’s Monumental stadium on November 24, the fixture was postponed and shifted to Madrid after several Boca players were injured in an attack on their team bus.

“This group of players and this coaching staff is incredible,” Francescoli said. “The capacity and humility they have is tremendous.

“It was a very tough game because it was a superclasico. Everything that has happened over the last 40 days has been crazy for everyone.”

River’s fourth Copa Libertadores title earns them a berth in the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, which begins on Wednesday.

–IANS

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