It wasn’t too long ago since River Plate managed to persuade Marcelo Gallardo to remain at the club for another year when it appeared the Copa Libertadores winning coach was set to leave. Now, ahead of an important year, president Rodolfo D’onofrio was delighted to announce on Wednesday that Gallardo would be staying put until 2021.
D’onofrio’s recent presidential re-election will run for the same length of time and given the trophy-laden three-and-a-half years that Gallardo has been in charge of River, supporters will be confident of adding to that.
If Gallardo sees out this most recent contract, the 41-year-old will surpass the iconic Angel Labruna as the longest serving River coach.
“I belong in this house, my link with River is for life,” Gallardo said after putting pen to paper on this latest extension.
¡Vamos por más! 🙌 ⚪️🔴⚪️
Marcelo Gallardo firmó un vínculo con #River hasta 2021.
🏆 Los títulos del DT del Más Grande 👇 pic.twitter.com/IZllgBBuMq
— River Plate (@CARPoficial) January 4, 2018
At some point Gallardo’s future does seem destined to lead to Europe but after already winning the Copa Sudamericana, two Recopas, the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Argentina, that was always expected to be sooner rather than later.
River begin 2018 with any hopes of a league title already virtually gone but another crack at the Copa Libertadores was too tempting for Gallardo.
D’onofrio is confident River have four more years with the “best manager in Argentina” and hinted that there could be even more after that but above simply challenging for honours in 2018, the pair stressed the project that they both envisage.
The onus here was particularly on River’s academy as the club has become more dependent on signing from other clubs in recent years and D’onofrio would like to see an increase of in-house talent graduating from the youth sides to the first team.
The far more immediate focus is on arming Gallardo with a team that can win the Copa Libertadores after a disappointing end to 2017, that was glossed over by lifting the Copa Argentina in December.
— Atlético Nacional (@nacionaloficial) January 3, 2018