PEKERMAN gone? Who’s next?


The man said it in Germany right after Argentina was knocked out of the World Cup.

The man repeated it in Buenos Aires minutes after his plane landed.

He is not staying. Provided there are no miracles around, PEKERMAN will become Argentina’s ex-manager and he seems to be adamant.

Hugo TOCALLI, PEKERMAN’s assistant manager, could continue acting as an interim manager until the end of this year and it’s very unlikely he will become a potential full-time manager for the future.

However, the final word on that will come next week. There will be a meeting at the AFA headquarters in Buenos Aires and its president Julio GRONDONA will try all the tricks in his bag to convince PEKERMAN to stay.

If he fails, then there are several names dancing in the air.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

Diego MARADONA: Nobody feels the same about our national team. Nobody lived the things he lived as a player. There are no other icons such as his figure to identify our Country. He is dying to have the chance of managing Argentina but he is hardly qualified for that and his managerial jobs have been far from a success.

Alfio BASILE: Has experience at a World Cup (USA ’94). Suffered from the controversy around MARADONA’s suspension and the team fell to pieces. Was undefeated before that for more than 30 international matches. Have won the last 4 trophies at stake while at BOCA JUNIORS. Plays offensive and attractive football and won’t be afraid of playing the likes of MESSI, TEVEZ, AGÜERO, SAVIOLA, AIMAR all together.

Daniel PASSARELLA: Managed during France ’98 and was captain in Argentina ’78. Knows his stuff but had a tight relationship with the media and some key players (REDONDO being the most notorious).

Américo GALLEGO: He says if he was blonde he’ll be regarded as one of the best in the World. He might be right! He won league titles with RIVER PLATE, INDEPENDIENTE and NEWELL’S OLD BOYS in Argentina and with TOLUCA in Mexico. Very successful and loved by the players. Was assistant manager for PASSARELLA in France ’98 and was also a player during Argentina ’78.

Jorge BURRUCHAGA: Seems to be GRONDONA’s favourite if he fails to convince PEKERMAN. He is a young manager (currently at INDEPENDIENTE) and has talent. Was an icon for Argentina, scoring the third goal in the World Cup final against Germany in Mexico ’86.

Miguel Angel RUSSO: Another young and talented manager. Was crowned champion with VELEZ SARSFIELD and has a good image. He was left out of the World Cup Squad in 1986 in one of the final cuts made by BILARDO.

Carlos Salvador BILARDO: Speaking of which…he was the first one to apply for the job even before returning from Germany, where he was working as a TV commentator. That early postulation was not welcomed by the AFA. Has the backing of many in the media and the public opinion (however PEKERMAN continues to be the favourite in every poll). GRONDONA is not a fan of his defensive style even though noboby can forget the World Cup victory in ’86 and the final four years later in Italy.

Carlos BIANCHI: He is probably the most successful manager in the history of the Argentine league and if he is not, he is right up there with the best. Failed the two times he went to manage in Europe (AC ROMA in the 90’s and ATLETICO MADRID last season). He doesn’t get along well with GRONDONA and that could hurt his chances. But nobody can underestimate his chances, specially being so strongly identified with every BOCA supporter.

Ramón DIAZ: Played in ’82 alongside MARADONA. Had a great career playing for INTER MILAN and then became a great manager for RIVER PLATE (winning several leagues and 1 Copa Libertadores -1996-). Offensive minded. He likes his teams to play attractive football. The bad thing about him? He’s been inactive at a high level for quite some time and has a tendency to be very controversial with his statements.

Héctor CUPER: He is currently unemployed. Had great spells at VALENCIA and INTER but failed to win the important final matches.

Nery PUMPIDO: Recently hired by NEWELL’S, he was the goalkeeper in Mexico ’86 and had great campaigns as a manager in the Paraguayan league (even winning the Copa Libertadores with OLIMPIA). He is not a clear favourite for the job but given his low profile, he could surprise a few people.

Ricardo LA VOLPE: He recently managed Mexico in the World Cup and ended up in a war against the media. But he is a talented manager and he is Argentinian. He was the third goalkeeper in Argentina 1978 and could come as a great option for GRONDONA. On the other hand, he is not very popular with the people because he left Argentina in 1978 and never managed a club in our country so people don’t know him.