It isn’t yet confirmed but with #AlfaroTraidor (Alfaro Traitor) trending on Twitter, Gustavo Alfaro has made himself public enemy number one in Parque Patricios by quitting Huracán amid rumours that the 56-year-old is poised to take the top job with Buenos Aires behemoths Boca Juniors.
Since it was confirmed that Guillermo Barros Schelotto would not be continuing at Boca in 2019, speculation regarding the back-to-back league champion’s successor was rife but with the likes of Gabriel Heinze, José Pekerman and Ricardo Gareca all distancing themselves from the role, president Daniel Angelici and new sporting director Nicolás Burdisso have been forced to look elsewhere.
That would appear to have led them to Alfaro and as the links only grew stronger, the Huracán manager opted to make his position clear by handing in his notice with El Globo, thanking and apologising to supporters for his sudden change of heart.
‘This was a very complex decision for me, both emotionally and for sporting reasons,’ Alfaro explained in his post to social media.
Gustavo Alfaro says thanks & farewell to Huracán as the 56-year-old is a step away from being named the new Boca Juniors manager pic.twitter.com/IshDXc31KC
‘I’ve had a wonderful and unforgettable 18 months at the club and felt a lot of respect and support from the moment I arrived.
‘The reasons are not easy to explain or perhaps to accept. I know that this is not easy to understand or accept when analyzed from passion rather than with reason.
‘I know there will be people who are hurt, let down and disappointed and I know that in this profession, coaches are not immune to public derision.’
Alfaro went on to thanks Huracán president Alejandro Nadur, all the staff and his players but there was a realisation in the experienced coach’s words that his bridges have been burned at the club.
‘I know that maybe next time we meet the words will be insults. I know it will hurt and I know the cost of my decision. This was not a simple decision but today with pain I feel that I have to leave. Thanks Huracán, with pain I say goodbye.’
Painful or not, Huracán have already released a statement expressing their disappointment with the manner in which Alfaro has conducted himself, having led El Globo to a fourth placed finish last season and a return to the Copa Libertadores.
Remaining in the top four this season and with that Libertadores campaign due to start in a couple of months, an exciting time at the Estadio Tomás Adolfo Ducó has been deflated somewhat by Alfaro’s decision.
Huracán may look to include some players in any potential compensation deal with Agustín Rossi, Paolo Goltz and Emanuel Reynoso all mentioned as possible makeweights, while Antonio Mohamed, one of those for a while under consideration by Boca, could make a managerial return to the club.
All that is certain for now is Alfaro is out at Huracán and waits for some official confirmation from Boca. The 56-year-old is unlikely to get pulses racing at La Bombonera but for a club that prides itself on results over aesthetics, Alfaro is a manager not far from that vision.
Huracán have been well organised, tough to beat and effective on the counter over the past 18 months, leading to a period of relative success near the top of the league table. Expectation at Boca, however, will be radically different.
Merely qualifying for the Copa Libertadores will not be cause for celebration and if Guillermo Barros Schelotto never quite won over the faithful with his managerial abilities after back-to-back league titles, it gives an idea of the pressure that Alfaro will find himself under from the outset.
A pressure that Alfaro will never have experienced. Since beginning his coaching career at Atlético de Rafaela, where he had spent his days as a player, Lechuga has bounced around clubs with only a disastrous few months in charge of San Lorenzo in 2005 coming even remotely close to the status of Boca.
Quilmes, Olimpo (where he won promotion to the top flight with both), Belgrano, Patronato, Rosario Central, Tigre and Gimnasia have all been stops and it is only with Arsenal de Sarandí where Alfaro has lifted any major honours.
Backed by club founder and dodgy former AFA president Julio Grondona, Arsenal enjoyed the most successful period in their history with Alfaro leading the minnows to the 2007 Copa Sudamericana and a first Primera title during his second stint in charge in 2012.
How all this prepares Alfaro for arguably the biggest job in South America remains to be seen but there will be little time and patience awarded.