Boca Juniors confirm return of Miguel Ángel Russo while Racing Club turn to Sebastián Beccacece

It might be holiday season and only a little over halfway through the Superliga season but it’s been all change at a number of Argentina’s biggest clubs.

Fresh from a victorious presidential campaign Jorge Amor Ameal confirmed the return of Miguel Ángel Russo as manager of Boca Juniors while 24 hours later than planned due to an administrative oversight Racing Club put pen to paper on Sebastián Beccacece’s Avellaneda switch.

Neither move came as any surprise having been all but done deals for a week or so since both Gustavo Alfaro departed La Bombonera and Eduardo Coudet left Racing for Brazilian club Internacional. However, it wasn’t until Monday that Boca made Russo’s return official and Racing initially planned to present Beccacece. That was before realising the paperwork wasn’t complete and a Tuesday press conference instead sealing the former Independiente manager’s swift move from the red to the blue side of Avellaneda.

Boca’s Copa Libertadores semi-final defeat to River Plate ultimately sealed Alfaro’s fate and with a new regime in charge at La Bombonera a new era has been ushered in. Familiarity however is key and new vice-president Juan Román Riquelme will have been central in selecting Miguel Ángel Russo as the new manager.

Russo lifted the Libertadores as Boca manager in 2007 with Riquelme as the talismanic number ten and the pair will be aiming to construct a team capable of lifting title number seven in 2020.

“I always had the dream of returning to Boca again. The previous coaches who were lucky enough to win the Copa Libertadores have returned,” Russo told reporters.

“Hopefully I can win the Copa Libertadores and celebrate in La Bombonera,” he added.

The 63-year-old was Cerro Porteño manager as they lost to River Plate in the Libertadores quarter-finals this year and was Alianza Lima coach before that prior to his most recent trophies with Millonarios in Colombia.

Russo may not be the exciting appointment that Boca supporters had hoped for but is a respected figure selected by the beloved Riquelme so as the club resume the Superliga season in second, the atmosphere at least is far more positive.

Defending champions Racing Club are also still in the running, only four points behind leaders Argentinos Juniors, yet their latest appointment is perhaps a little more of a gamble.

Sebastián Beccacece began the season as rivals Independiente manager but after a woeful couple of months in charge stepped down before the end of the campaign. The 39-year-old now takes over from Eduardo Coudet looking to restore his reputation and build on firm foundations left at the Cilindro.

That is certainly something worth bearing in mind. Beccacece’s time at Independiente will create a sense trepidation but Racing are a far better run club and the young coach’s outstanding work with Defensa y Justicia only a year ago should not be forgotten.

Director of football Diego Milito said as much when expressing the ‘maturity’ shown in looking across the apparent derby divide when seeking a replacement for title winner Coudet.

“I’m very happy to be at Racing,” Beccacece told the press.

“My time at Independiente was fleeting and at no point did even make me hesitate to not come. Everywhere I go I try and give it my all.”

“Here I come to do the same, I like that a club like Racing, which is used to fighting [for the title] has called me and has trusted me despite some bad results.”

Beccacece should not be judged by his experience at Independiente but does have to prove himself once more.

“We have a team with a very good average age and we are discussing arrivals,” the new Racing manager confirmed. With a strong core to the squad and the possibility of some additions, La Academia can not only aspire to defend their Superliga title but also compete in the Copa Libertadores.