Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A comeback for Juan Sebastián VERON?

Reporting from Mendoza now. Land of sunshine and wine (especially for you John!).

Just a quick post to talk about a possible comeback for Juan Sebastián VERON.

After being villified and blamed almost exclusively for Argentina's terrible 2002 WC campaign, Juan Sebastián VERON is playing at a very high level pulling the strings for an impressive Estudiantes de La Plata side which is having a saying in the fight for the title in Argentina (managed by Diego SIMEONE).

Now there are talks about the list of players based in Argentina that Alfio BASILE wants to call up to train with him twice a week in Buenos Aires.

And his name is one of the heaviest in that list. Will he get a call up? Does he deserve it? Does he deserve all the punishment the public is giving him after 2002?

Here's the list of players that would be on COCO's mind:

Oscar USTARI (Independiente)
Sebastián SAJA (San Lorenzo)
Gustavo CAMPAGNUOLO (Racing Club).

Hugo IBARRA (Boca Juniors)
Daniel DIAZ (Boca Juniors)
Juan KRUPOVIESA (Boca Juniors)
Hernán PELLERANO (Vélez)
Paulo FERRARI (River Plate)
Gustavo CABRAL (Racing Club)
Cristian VILLAGRA (Rosario Central)
Mauricio ROMERO (Lanús)
Germán RE (Newell’s).

Fernando GAGO (Boca Juniors)
Fernando BELLUSCHI (River Plate)
Juan Sebastián VERON (Estudiantes)
Nicolás CABRERA (Gimnasia)
Cristian PELLERANO (Nueva Chicago)
Juan Manuel TORRES (Racing Club)
Hernán ENCINA (Rosario Central)
Lucas CASTROMAN (Vélez)
Rodrigo ARCHUBI (Lanús)
Marcos AGUIRRE (Lanús)

Rodrigo PALACIO (Boca Juniors)
Martín PALERMO (Boca Juniors)
Mariano PAVONE (Estudiantes)
Daniel MONTENEGRO (Independiente)
Ernesto FARIAS (River Plate)
Gonzalo HIGUAIN (River Plate)
Ezequiel LAVEZZI (San Lorenzo)
Mauro ZARATE (Vélez).


Anonymous said...

Part of me (a biased part probably) doesn't want Veron to come back. While I feel like his performance in 2002 didn't help any I can't blame him entirely. The system that Bielsa implimented, with the long balls and all the extra running, is the main cause for our premature exit. We were never going to be like the Netherlands or Sweden so it was a stupid move, particularly since it's our strength to play like Argentinians, with lots of passing and maintaining the ball on the ground. I feel that that, along with refusing to play Crespo and Batistuta together (our two tall strikers) played a larger role than just Veron. That said I don't think he had a good WC, particularly if you look at how he played in 1998. Yes he is better now but my main concern apart from any behind the scenes antics is his age. The guy is already 32 so we know he isn't going to make it to 2010. I feel like we should consider some of the younger players who might get more mileage so to speak. Finally, and this is more of a playing style issue, I prefer Aimar, Insua, and D'Alessandro to him (all who are still in their 20's and could possibly, though it's still pretty remote for the first two, make it to 2010). I just enjoy watching them play more than I did Veron (in 1998 when I didn't dislike him). Granted I know that Alwin and some others are going to disagree with me but I thought I should just state my opinion.


johnny said...

FYI-there is a short article on ESPN's website this morning about a French club seriously looking at Gonzalo Higuain.

alwin said...

Dear argentinafan and all,

Its your humble opinion and i respect it, no issues on that part. I am a Veron fan but i don't support him blindly without acknowledging his contributions and his mistakes in the past.

If you look at 2002, the heavy load of the blame by the public should not only go onto Veron for that matter because:-

1) 1st game against Nigeria, he played superbly and was pulling the strings in midfield. Although it was only a 1-0 scoreline not for the number of saves done by Ike Shoronmu in goal for nigeria that day. The team looked in tandem and worked as a unit. And Veron was heavily involved distributing pases to his fellow teammates.

2) The second game against England. He played 45 mins and Aimar 45 mins. Veron was heavily marked by Nicky Butt his teammate at Manchester United who knew quite a lot of things about him. Yes i have to agree here that Veron didnt play well in this game. But in the second half, when Aimar came on, Argentina didn't even do much more than they did in the first 45mins (except for the abundance of possesion that we always have), if i can recall only Pochettino's header was saved by Seaman. I actually think that we were lucky to only loose 1-0 that night in Sapporro. As i have mentioned time and time before, Argentina seem to be effected mentally when they play England recently, the players just seem shaken and not their selves. I would really like to witness a performance of full confidence from Argentina in the future against England especially. The day we become victorious against the English is the day i would say that we have gained mental strenght.

3) Sweden game, Veron didnt start and was brought in as a second half sub, by the time he was in i think Bielsa already pushed the panic button and had run out ideas. It was too little too late.

The point is, if people were to single handedly blame a player is not in full context because i think the 2002 team was a brilliant set of players except for a tactic that did not suit them well. Yes, i agree with you that Batigol and Crespo should have started upfront together rather than just one of them.

I do hope Veron gets included among the players as i think he would love to silence his critics. He will bring alot of experience for this local based players. Veron has played in the top clubs in Europe and he will know a thing or two that all the youngsters can learn from. Most of the players mentioned in the list are still "green" in terms of experience and it could be a good thing for them. We would not know whether he will feature in 2010 but he serve as a good educational tool for the young ones.


Anonymous said...

I love that we are having discussions on two different topic blogs, hehe. It's fun discussing things with you. Particularly since we have differing opinions on la Brujita. Anyway just to clarify, my personal oppinion is that Veron was not the cause or even a particularly large part of why we were eliminated in 2002. I think we can all agree that poor tactics and finishing were what caused our exit. I do think though that his performance in 2002 was not at the same level as 1998. Yes he had a decent against Nigeria but against England his passing was pretty bad and he was not particularly effective. I remember he said latter he was feeling the effects of his previous achilles injury. Sweden was just sad. We couldn't finish plain and simple. Again while I personally think Aimar was better than Veron that year (it's a matter of opinion, I'm not stating facts here) the main culprit was poor finishing. That said, I consider Veron to be a possible short term solution to the problem. Like it or not the guy is 31 (I misstated his age last email, sorry) which will make him 35 for the next WC which makes it highly unlikely that he will be around in 4 years. It all sounds very much like "To an Athlete Dying Young" (very sad poem) but the fact of the matter is that a 35 year old playmaker seems unlikely, particularly due to the fact that the sport is getting faster and rougher with injuries more prevalent. I would rather keep working with the younger guys (Insua, Aimar, D'Allesandro, etc) who have the same European experience so that they get used to the other players also acting as a learning tool and get more out of them, rather than go back to Veron.
Regarding England, I think the last two times we played them we lost due to tactical errors. In 2002 we had some passing/finishing issues but we were playing like a European team and that was our main weakness (since we don't have the height advantage). In the last friendly we went defensive when we had a 1 goal lead (sound familiar?). I think we can beat them and I don't think that it's a mental issue. I feel like the players are used to playing matches of that stress level (Brazil for example). I think we have had tactical problems. In 1998 we were the better team and one of the goals England scored was due to Owen diving and getting a penalty (same thing happened in 2002 actually if I recall, he seems to get us everytime). If we had faced them this past WC I think we would have beat them, particularly since they were having tactical issues themselves and were not all that impressive.

Well that's it for the moment, did you respond to me anywhere else? I should go check...where is everyone else by the way?


johnj said...

Hi there everyone,

Its great to be back from a short holiday, as currently in Malaysia it is a month of festivity. It is therefore my pleasure to wish all our Hindus and Muslim Albicelestes fans a Happy Deepavali and Salam Aidilfitri, whoever you are and wherever you may be.

Thanks Seba, for thinking of me while toasting some great Argentine wine. Hopefully you’re having a great time over there

Ok now back to football, well there seems to be a very lengthy (and healthy) talks regarding Juan Sebastian Veron return to the national team. Well judging from what I’ve heard he has improved tremendously since his return to Argentina. Though many will only remember his time at Man Utd and Chelsea but what I would like to remember was during his great days at Parma and Lazio. It was during this time where his exploit and skills was the stuff of magic.

After all, Sir Alex Ferguson would not have not splash on a record-signing fee if he was not aware on what la Brujita is capable of.

Yes I do agree with some of your opinion regarding on his experience from which others can learn and perhaps this could be useful for Coco’s plan especially for next years Copa America.

Whether Coco’s plan will work or not? Whether la Brujita wouls silence his critics? Only time will tell. But in the meantime there is no harm for all of us to unite and stand behind our beloved Albicelestes.

And speaking of England, the Los Pumas (our rugby team that is) will be playing against them in November at Twickenheim. Not sure about the rest, but I’m sure Seba and myself will be looking forward to this. In the meantime…..



helen said...

I totally support Veron and think he deserve a chance back to the national team.

I don't think it is fair to blame him alone for the 2002 disaster, even though he should, and actualy have taken a lion's share.

Anyone here who like Diego Simone? I am his fan. Most people only remember him for the Backham incidence. But I remember him as a tough, strong, smart player who gave everything to Albicelestes.

helen said...

Is Coco serious when he taked about calling up home-based players and train twice a week in Buenos Aires? I don't think any club (especially the big ones) will support his plan.

Has anyone heard anything like that before?

Anonymous said...

Veron's time has passed, period. Perhpas it was a mistake to keep him out of the team for 2006, personally I think the decision was correct to leave him out as we needed to move in a different direction (Riquelme, or Aimar would have been my preference). But to consider it now for the rebuilding effort would be short-sighted and frankly a waste of time. He is playing well in La Plata but it is not like he is a world beater. And in any event he is old. I mean, I love Redondo and wish Passarella would not have been stupid about keeping him out of 1998 either but it is not time to bring him back today. We need to move on, no short term solutions, there are many other veterans that can take up that mantle of helping the young ones mature. Brujita, thank you for your commitment and good bye.

Alex Camacho (could not log in for some reason)

john said...


Actually Coco's plan is not something new in World Football. Below are just to name a few: -

1) When Guus Hiddink was coaching the South Korean National team, he had assembled all his local based players for a centralized training 6 months prior to the 2002 World Cup. During this time, players are exempted from playing for their clubs.

2) Prior to Euro 2004, it was reported that Otto Rehaggel had the final the say for the season 2003/04 Greek league fixture. Therefore, he had full control on all the players he wants and he may keep them together for length of time before any qualifier or friendly matches. I'm not sure whether this was true or not but the Greek FA was facing suspension from FIFA due to allegation of their involvement in the domestic leagues and clubs management.

3) Before the 1998 World Cup, the Iranian club called Pirouzi had to be exempted from participating in that season's domestic competition. This was due to the fact that many of its players represent the Iranian National team. Since the Iranian FA has given ordered all its national team players to report for centralized training, Pirouzi was the biggest casualty here.

4) Another interesting note is the Malaysian Under-23 team, which was preparing itself for the Sydney 2000 Olympic qualifiers. While the players were exempted from representing their domestic team, the Under-23 was incorporated as a participant in the Malaysian Premier League back in 1999. Our Singaporean counterpart also followed this feat recently.

Such incident was also reported in some other parts of the world and FIFA is not happy about this at all. I just hope that Coco’s plan will not cause unrest between the AFA and clubs official. I believe that all parties should work together and have equaled responsibility towards the domestic league and national team as well.


Anonymous said...

Well said Alex Camacho, I agree with you and you said what I was thinking more concisely and eloquently than I did.
As far as Basile's plan John. I think what is going to happen is that he is going to build a backbone with the local players since he can train with them on a regular basis to which he will then add European players. If you look back to his previous stint as national coach he did something similar. He started out with all domestic players but then slowly added some European-based players. I mean Maradona didn't even make the team until AFTER we lost to Columbia (5-0). At least that is what I'm hoping happens and that he gets of this ONLY domesitc player kick.


alwin said...

We can go on forever debating about Veron, in the end it's Basile decision and if he sees him fit for his squad then let it be. But to me, i must say that Veron has been harshly treated on the whole and it doensn't really justify his contribution to the game. I will stick to my side of the fence which is FOR La Brujita.

As for the centralized training on the whole, i think it's a good idea to gel a team together but lets hope these players do no get burned out with their club commitments and Basile's idea. Most likely i would think in a way he his preparing a squad for the Cope America next year.


helen said...

John, thank you for your reply and examples.

But, if you notice, all these examples come from small countries. Korea, Greece, Iraq, Malaysia. By all respects they are in a different level from ARG. If you can give me examples of Brazil, Italy, German, Spain, that will be a lot more persuading. And that's what I am talking about.

andaman said...

It's a good plan. I hope Coco won't have problem with the players' clubs. Nice to see a mix squad of talents from local and abroad.

Saurabh said...

Happy Diwali (Festival of Lights celebrated in India with fireworks and every house being decorated with lamps) and Eid Mubarak to all.

John, Thanks for your painstaking research of in digging up examnples of teams that experimented with centralised training for the national team.

However, as Helen has pointed out, there have not been too many top class national teams that have done the same. While the idea may be viable for a short term objective like Copa America, its long term utility is questionable.

As far as vilification of Veron is concerned for his role in 2002 debacle, I am of the opinion that it was trifle unfair as there was a collective failure with tactical ineptitude from Bielsa, several players coming back from injuries and poor finishing.

But his comeback is altogether a different question with his age being a definite hurdle.

It is interesting that Diego Simeone's name has cropped upo for he was an emodiment of the never say die spirit and gave his all for the national shirt. But I did feel that he was also below par in 2002 campaign.

john said...

Hi There Everyone,

Great to have you back Subh. How was Diwali celebration for you? Great I hope.

Anyway I must that I have to agree with everyone’s view regarding on the centralized training system but I was only giving examples not comparisons. When you compare all the countries that I’ve mentioned, they are not in the same mould as Argentina, Italy, Germany or Brazil for that matter. Therefore I would to say that it is almost impossible for such centralized training to take place.

You see, in many of those countries that I’ve mentioned above, the FA and the league are very much a different entity altogether. For example the FA is run by a management thats conncentrates on issues related to the national team and football development programs etc, while the domestic league is run by a different management (which is recognize by the FA of course) which concentrates on sponsorship for the league, fixtures and other league related issues. Correct me if I’m wrong, many of the people who manage the domestic league happens to be top official from the football clubs itself. For such training to take place it may require an agreement from all parties, from I believe I doubt that these top football clubs official will ever agree to such proposal. After all, it is the club that pays the players wages not the FA.

Where else in countries that I’ve mentioned in my earlier comment, there seems to be a tendency that the FA is influences by some political element that seems to have a different agenda altogether. To put it simple, I would say that in Argentina or England there is much more freedom and democracy they way football is run there compare to South Korea and Iran.

That’s is why FIFA has taken a huge stand on punishing any nation whose FA is influence by some political parties or government bureaucracy. And for this, I really hope that this is not the case for Argentina.

Seba, perhaps maybe you can provide us the bigger picture on this matter


alwin said...

Hi All,

As mentioned by Helen, you dont get "BIG" nations doing such things as i belive even they have encountered issues of having not enough time to prepare their players. If you look at some of the examples mentioned by John, these nations teams are mostly based on local league talent except for a few who are playing abroad. But in Argentina's case it's abit different because they have countless of european talent and domestics talent.

Yes John, you are giving examples and not comparisons and Thank you very much for your research. It's good because it only opens up the discussion further.

If most of the clubs agree to to release their players then it's a good thing as we may have a very united team. But on the other note, there are no european based players training together with them and this could also pose a question whether is Basile ready to mix and match. Will this move cause confusion when the european boys are available.

My idea of getting a team together is that to ensure that most or majority of the guys who are going to be in your starting line up to train together and get accustomed to each others style.

On the News around, The Honduras Football federation is considering hiring the GREAT Diego Maradona to be their coach for the National Team.

Also, Gabriel Palletta has scored for Liverpool in the 4-3 win over Reading in the League Cup.


Anonymous said...

Paletta was good in getting the goal but i must question his defending, but it was not totally his fault as liverpool my favourite club has been playing badly over the past few weeks.

As for the Argentina coach and his idea, i think its good for local talent as i am a firm believer of a collective group of players that are good rather that for reputation.

I heard of this blog from a few people and i have to say that it's has some quality articles in it. I was following you blog on soccernet during the world cup. Keep up the good work Sebastian Garcia.

Mahen - Malaysia

linda said...

A bit late perhaps, but allow me to jump into this excellent discussion. The possible list looks very good, I'm especially pleased about Higuain (we need to get him before France does!).

The Veron issue I think comes down to the same reason a lot of experienced and still excellent players don't get picked anymore. It's the age issue. These players cannot be the backbone of the team for very long, so if Basile is looking to build for the future as he claims then choosing a younger playmaker is probably wise.

As for the proposed training camp, I think it's an excellent idea, as long as he does add in European players later on and integrate them properly. It can be difficult for coaches because European clubs typically are reluctant to release their players, but it's hardly sensible - in fact I'd say it's criminal - to ignore all the talent that we have in Europe. Anyone see Messi play against Real Madrid? That's what I mean.

That said, I think we all saw how hard Messi found it to integrate into a team that had already been built by Pekerman, which used the same 'spine' all the time. That's what Basile will have to overcome.

Seba said...

Apologise for taking too long in replying. 40 out of the last 56 or 60 hours have been spent on buses! Not that I can complain about it because I'm enjoying this 3-week trip like I never enjoyed a vacations before in my life!

We are in Villa La Angostura (translation would be: THE NARROWNESS VILLAGE! haha!). It is a beatiful place in the Patagonia (Neuquen is the province) and it has mountains (with ski resorts -out of season now-) and incredible lakes!

It is called the "narrowness" because of the very narrow piece of land between the continent and the 12-square-kms forest located in what looks like an island (but it's not!).

I knew Juan Sebastián VERON will divide the waters (like RIQUELME) when it comes to discuss about them.

Let's see...my opinion is that if he is the best in his position right now (we need to see which position does COCO want him to play in) then he should be called up again.

We need to field the strongest possible team for the Copa America and we need experienced players taking part.

It'll be wrong to call him up thinking long term and with South Africa 2010 in mind. But I'd welcome him thinking of the Copa America.

He could still be playing in Europe because of his level of performances and I think he deserves a second chance after playing badly in 2002 and being singled-out as the main culprit of our poor campaign. If he joins COCO's team he will come with the need of proving his critics wrong and we need players with that kind of "anger" to start winning things.

Besides, I'm a big fan of redemption stories and here's a possibility to have one in front of our eyes.

Thanks again for all your messages and for making it really enjoyable to have a blog!

Saurabh Bhattacharjee said...

Hi Seba.

Hope you continue with your, what appears to be a highly enjoyable vacation. I must say I am fascinated by the Latin American names of places. They seem to be much more colourful than most Anglo-saxon names. It would be interesting to see how they acquired their names.

John...I went back to my hometown, Kolkata for the Diwali and Eid holidays to meet my folks. So, could not follow on most of the weekend matches except the Classicio. While Messi was outstanding, the poor form of Ronaldinho and Deco has hit Barca hard. Having said that, the team did create few gilt-edged chances which Gudjohnsen should have put across. I am sure one would not tire asking why is Saviola being ignored.

Boulharoz and Ramos showed that Ronaldinho can be kept quite, at least for sometime, if not the whole game.

I do feel that Ronaldinho's less than satisfactory showing in last few games does put Riquelme's game in perspective. It is not very easy when you are being shadowed and your teammates are not able to pitch in adequately (Deco has been terribly under par).

Coming back to the possible alternatives for Basile, I would like to state that no coach can afford to have a single blueprint for the team at international level. Coaches have to be flexible to adapt to the talent at one's disposal and would have to be quick enough to react to newly developing changes. Or else, one would suffer like Bielsa or a Karol Bruckner.

Further, some of the old practices like having centralised practice may not be viable in the present age of highly globalised football. Unlike one and a half decade ago, the footballing cream (including the B team )of most countries ply their trade in Europe.

These are some of the realities that Basile must confront and contend with before making his choice.

ARG4EVER said...