Boca Juniors is not going through its best moment. A long streak without a win at La Bombonera, the team’s poor performance and interminable internals generated a bad climate at the xeneize club, despite the fact that it comes from being two-time champion of Argentine soccer. What are the causes of this crisis? Let’s review the five most important points that put Boca in check.
THE FOOTBALL LEVEL
The Boca de Miguel Angel Russo that won the 2019/2020 Super League had found an identity. A team that defended well, closer to its own goal, and that made the most of individualities and spaces. The speed of Salvio and Villa plus the quality of Tevez were decisive for the title that he snatched from River on the last date. However, after the return to activity due to the stop that originated due to the pandemic, it was no longer the same.
The midfield suffered the loss of Pol Fernández and the level of the players in general dropped. He still managed to win the Diego Armando Maradona Cup, but he was left out in the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores against Santos with a tough 3-0 defeat. At the start of the Professional League Cup, except against Vélez (a 7-year win). 1) and against River (1 to 1), where at times it was superior, the team did not appear. And leaves more doubts every day. With Claypole he was close to the role in the Argentine Cup. The bad moment is reflected in a fact: he has not won at La Bombonera since December 27 of last year.
A DT WITHOUT A COURSE
Miguel Angel Russo started as the ideal coach for Boca. An experienced coach, champion with Boca in the 2007 Libertadores, with a good relationship with Juan Román Riquelme and with the backs to manage a dressing room like him XeneizeToday, Russo is going through a cycle that went from high to low. And today he is very questioned, to the point that after losing with Talleres after another pale performance his future is put in doubt. From the 11 that came almost from memory at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic, Russo’s team ends up giving an image in the present that leaves more doubts than certainties.
The footballers lowered the performance, it is true. But Russo didn’t help empower them. Capaldo, a steering wheel with a lot of brand and drive, ended up as a right back in an improvised way. Buffarini and Jara, two specialists in that position, watch the games from the bench. Zambrano appeared as the starter, always leaving doubts, when the consolidated pair of centrals was López and Izquierdoz. Without an area 9 with a presence, a lack that Boca feels and a lot in each game, he accepted Abila’s departure and never looked for a player to fill that vacant position. From one day to the next he went from the line of four to the line of three, and then to change again … But what Boca does not have today is an idea of the game. It is not known what he wants to do on the field. It is known that he plays badly, that it depends only on his individualities. And that the technician does not find the way out.
THE FOOTBALL COUNCIL
The arrival of Juan Román Riquelme to the vice presidency was celebrated by the people of Boca. Roman, the idol, assumed responsibility for football and with his wisdom he was going to help Boca regain greatness. Although the team added two local titles, something for nothing less, the Football Council chaired by the former 10 was surrounded by controversy so far this cycle. On the one hand, the disputes with Carlos Tevez, the idol on the playing field, left Riquelme and his companions in a bad way. Patron Bermúdez and Raúl Cascini, who are with Román, had misleading statements to the team captain.
The deal with other players was not good either. Since the abrupt departure of Pol Fernández, the comings and goings with Pavón, the statement informing that Buffarini was not going to renew with the club (a player who was later sidelined by DT) when he still had several months left on his contract, showed a Advice with little tact when handling an institution like Boca. Riquelme, in charge of soccer xeneize, did not speak to the press since he became vice president. And its sides did not prove to be the most suitable for communicating decisions that in such a large club must be handled professionally. The Riquelme who questioned Macri and who made him famous Topo Gigio, seems to be standing on the other side, the side that Riquelme himself criticized when he had the shorts.
AN ANGRY TEAM
Last weekend it was clear that the mood of the squad is not the best. Fabra’s slap to Izquierdoz in the middle of the game was one more example of the nervousness and anger that has been seen in soccer players for a long time. To go a little further back, but not so much, it is enough to review the celebrations of some goals in this Professional League Cup. More than celebrations, they were emotional discharges, outbursts and samples of anger contained by situations that do not end up being resolved indoors.
It gives the feeling that what is transmitted from the Council, the mistreatment that the players feel from the leaders who, strikingly, were footballers, ends up having an impact on the field. Nobody says it out of doors, but the malaise is present. And Russo, the driver, lost authority and was left in the middle of this problem that seems to have no solution. Wanchope Abila, after not being taken into account in an area where Boca is lacking, will go to MLS; at the beginning of the year, Salvio, now injured, had declared that he wanted to leave if an offer appeared; Zárate warned that if he did not play as a starter, he preferred to leave the club. It is expected that in the middle of the year there will be a major purification of the campus. Meanwhile, the anger and the uncertainty grow and the solutions seem very far away.
THE LACK OF REINFORCEMENTS
If Boca needed something thinking about this 2021 and renewing energy to fight the Copa Libertadores again, they were new faces. But in this market of passes they were conspicuous by their absence. It could be said that the great incorporation, and the only one, was that of Marcos Rojo. All other possible arrivals came to nothing, in rumors, in failed attempts. Boca undoubtedly needed a 9. Abila’s injuries (now sold) and Soldano’s lack of a goal made it clear that this position was adrift, since neither Tevez nor Zárate fulfill that function. Nobody came.
The midfield is one of the weak points of the team. The departure of Pol Fernández and the injuries of Pulpo González leave a gap that the DT still cannot fill. By not having Buffarini and Jara, and after the arrival of Colombian Román was punctured for not passing the medical examination, the DT improvised Capaldo as a side. It is always said that Boca has a great squad, but today at Xeneize nothing is left over. And although it is incredible, due to low performances, injuries and lack of reinforcements, it seems that far from being left over, he lacks hierarchical footballers.