A 30-team Primera provides plenty of options, in theory, when attempting to compile a team of the Torneo 2015. The reality of Julio Grondona’s monstrosity was several below-par sides and naturally the top five clubs dominate the selection. League and cup champions, Boca Juniors lead the way with four inclusions but Central, San Lorenzo, Racing, Independiente and even Godoy Cruz contribute. So after much deliberation here is this is the Torneo 2015 team of the season….
GK: Sebastián Saja – Racing Club
Racing were not able to defend their Primera crown but crucially edged out Independiente for a place in the 2016 Copa Libertadores. Sebastián Saja was a vital cog in the Transición winning side and maintained his level of performance in 2015. La Academia had the third best defence in the league and Saja kept 13 clean sheets, the highest number and this fails to account for his significant role as a leading on and off the pitch for Diego Cocca’s side. Sebastián Torrico gets a mention as San Lorenzo had the best defence but Saja gets the nod.
RB: Gino Peruzzi – Boca Juniors
2015 was a big year for Gino Peruzzi, once heralded as the heir to Javier Zanetti and long-term solution to the Argentina right-back issue, his premature switch to Catania had stunted his progression. Back at Boca for the 2015 season, the 23-year-old began to show his promise once more. A consistent performer at right-back under Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Peruzzi fulfilled the double function of the modern full-back with aplomb. Steady in defence and a willing outlet on the overlap, a recall to the national team was no real surprise when it came in November.
CB: Daniel Díaz – Boca Juniors
Cata may no longer be the player that he was for Getafe six or seven years ago but the 36-year-old continues to prove that he can cut the mustard in the Argentine Primera. Uncompromising and unfashionable, Díaz is unafraid to get hurt in the cause of victory and has been a crucial part of both the defence and the leadership of the team.
CB: Javier Pinola – Rosario Central
Eduardo Coudet convinced Pinola to leave Europe and return to Argentina midway through the season but it proved to be a superb signing for El Canalla. Comfortable on the ball and flexible enough to play either in the centre or at left-back, Pinola played every minute of every match in the second half of the season and will be vital to Central next season.
LB: Emmanuel Más – San Lorenzo
Emmanuel Más’ stint as Argentina left-back under Gerardo Martino perhaps suggested the 26-year-old isn’t quite ready for that step up just yet but at club level he remains at the very top of the game. Strong in the tackle and in the air but equally happy to get forward, Más has excelled under Edgardo Bauza. Eyes from European clubs have reportedly been watching so it will not be a shock if the San Juan native makes the switch in the near future.
CM: Jesús Méndez – Independiente
A controversial figure perhaps given his propensity for needless bookings and red cards but the value of Jesús Méndez to Independiente cannot be understated. At the centre of El Rojo’s revival under Mauricio Pellegrino in the second half of the season, no player completed more passes in the league and with 7 assists only two players boasted more. After missing the start of the season due to his brother’s suicide, Méndez came back superbly and his free-kick against Racing was a moment to remember.
AM: Ignacio Fernández – Gimanasia
Gimnasia were wildy inconsistent throughout the Torneo 2015 but one of the few reliable sources of quality for Pedro Troglio was midfielder, Nacho Fernández. A good dribbler of the ball with a wonderful left foot, the 25-year-old scored 8 times, including a spectacular injury time winner against Crucero del Norte. An additional 5 assists have prompted interest and San Lorenzo are reportedly hopeful of prizing him away from La Plata.
AM: Nicolás Lodeiro – Boca Juniors
The little Uruguayan proved to be an excellent acquisition for Arruabarrena and Boca after some big performances at crucial times in the season. The 26-year-old’s winner in the Monumental was a big step towards the Primera title and although he was prone to drift in and out of games, Lodeiro provided the little extra bit of guile from midfield that Boca sometimes needed.
FW: Carlos Tevez – Boca Juniors
It would be grossly unfair to attribute Boca’s success to one player but the arrival of Carlos Tevez at the midway point undoubtedly proved to be the tipping point in the title race. His return of 5 goals is hardly staggering but Tevez is a natural born winner and where he goes trophies follow. His presence in the Boca side lifted the whole club and his determination dragged Arruabarrena’s side to glory.
CF: Marco Ruben – Rosario Central
There is only one option in the number nine role after outscoring his nearest competitor for the tournament leading scorer by 7 goals. Marco Ruben proved himself to be the most dangerous striker in the league and his 21 league goal almost pushed Central to an improbable league title. As Golazo’s player of the season his inclusion here was inevitable.
FW: Leandro Fernández – Godoy Cruz
A strike rate of better than one in two in a pretty poor side is good going and Leandro Fernández is just about the only Godoy Cruz player able to come out of 2015 with any credit. Full of energy, the 24-year-old covers a lot of ground running into the channels but when in front of goal, Fernández proved to be an excellent striker of the ball. Several of the bigger clubs are now interested and it will come as no surprise if he is not in Mendoza in 2016.