An emotional Julio Cesar Falcioni waved farewell to his adoring public at the Estadio Florencio Sola before Banfield’s final home game of the year against Argentinos Juniors a few weeks ago. Ill health had forced the club to rethink things ahead of 2019 and if the decision to bring back the vastly experienced title winning coach two years ago was one route, then the move to appoint Hernán Crespo as his successor is the complete opposite.
Falcioni brought an strong attachment to the club and a wealth of experience; Crespo brings profile and desire. With only a short stint in charge of Serie B club Modena and as youth coach at Parma, the former most expensive player in the world is something of a gamble.
Nevertheless, with president Lucìa Barbuto in charge, the first elected female club president in Argentina, Crespo represents another step towards a more youthful, progressive Banfield.
— Club A. Banfield (@CAB_oficial) December 19, 2018
“It’s a very important day for me. I want to thank the people of Banfield for this beautiful responsibility, one which I take very seriously,” Crespo said at his official presentation.
Since calling time on his glittering playing career in 2012, Crespo immediately set about completing his coaching badges and after serving as youth coach at Parma, where the iconic number nine had enjoyed great success during the 1990s, the only prior management experience was a short stint in charge of Modena, failing to steer the struggling club away from relegation danger in Serie B during the 2015/16 season.
A point seemingly not lost on Crespo, whose gratitude and humility towards Banfield is clear.
“The project and the growth are important. I promise a great effort and hard work and while I’m going to make mistakes, with formations and substitutions, I will not lack desire to work or dedication.”
Eager to begin his management career, Crespo certainly has no shortage of inspiration and guidance having worked under some of the greatest coaches over a 20-year period. And while the 43-year-old will look to utilise this, Crespo admits that he will look to develop his own style.
“When I started dreaming about being a football player I loved [Marco] Van Basten, Diego [Maradona], Enzo [Francescoli], but I wanted to be Crespo because I could not be them. The same thing happens to me now that I’m a coach, you can admire, you can like one or the other, but in the end it’s me.
— Gabriel Batistuta (@GBatistutaOK) December 19, 2018