Just days from winning the Copa Campeonato and the Torneo Final, River Plate have confirmed that Ramón Diaz has resigned as Manager. The reason for this is not yet clear but despite previously having reservations about Diaz, River President Rodolfo D’onofrio said that he was surprised after a positive meeting. The official line at present is that Diaz felt he had “served his purpose and so decided to leave the club,” but it will be interesting to see what happens. River are then tasked with replacing their title winning coach and the early favourite is former player, Marcelo Gallardo, currently free since leaving his post with Nacional in Uruguay.
The statement on the River website explained the meeting earlier today.
“The club reports that the President, Rodolfo D’Onofrio, Vice-President, Matias Patanian, and the technical secretary, Enzo Francescoli, met with Ramon Diaz, who was accompanied by his son Emiliano and his representative.
At the meeting, the coach said he had served his purpose, which is why he made the decision to leave the club.
Moreover, it is reported that Gustavo Zapata and his coaching staff will assume interim basis driving the professional staff.”
So for now Gustavo Zapata will take charge, presumably for this weekend’s Superclásico in México City.
Going forward it would appear that Marcelo Gallardo is the favourite for the job given that he was on D’Onofrio’s list when he was elected President. The other names at the time were Marcelo Bielsa, who has just taken over at Marseille and Hernán Crespo who obviously lacks any experience.
Gallardo is available after ‘doing a Diaz’ himself in Uruguay. Having led Nacional to the title, Gallardo resigned for personal reasons but with the experience and the status within River he now seems the obvious choice to replace Diaz.
Just last week, Gallardo turned down the Racing job after they had parted ways with Mostaza Merlo but obviously having been part of the Copa Libertadores winning side in 1996, River would be a completely different proposition.
Perhaps Gallardo’s appointment will be made sooner rather than later and will come as no surprise but it will be interesting to see what Diaz does next. Walking away after winning a title to do nothing would be odd but then again the last time he resigned from River, Diaz took over at Oxford United so who knows.
* Oh, and in other slightly less interesting news, Ricardo Caruso Lombardi left Quilmes.