Thursday, March 29, 2007

DIEGO in hospital

It´s not the first time that he´s been there, but everytime something like this happens, it still take us by surprise and the situation brings a whole country and a lot of people from around the world into a state of total alert.

Diego MARADONA, the greatest footballer of all time in my opinion, was rushed into the Güemes Hospital in Buenos Aires after he suffered a non-drugs related problem. Reportedly, it has to do with DIEGO´s unhealthy diet and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

DIEGO´s personal doctor, Mr. CAHE, said "his life is not in danger" and that´s a good thing to hear in times like this.

I wish him a speedy recovery and here´s hoping that he changes those habits that are endangering him.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Friendly against Chile confirmed

After a couple of FIFA fixtures in which the Albiceleste was nowhere to be seen, a friendly match for Argentina has been confirmed.

The local players training weekly with Alfio BASILE in Buenos Aires will play against Chile in Mendoza, Argentina on April 18.

It´ll be a great opportunity for COCO to test the local talent and for us to see how they´ve been working lately and which one of those players can really push for a place in the Copa America squad.

Mendoza is the capital city of the province that goes by the same name. This beautiful city is located really near Chile´s capital of Santiago.

The Malvinas Argentinas Stadium was built for the 1978 World Cup and Godoy Cruz (currently in the first division) play their home matches there.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Our boys are going to the U17 World Cup

Argentina started the U17 South American tournament in Ecuador in the best possible way: winning 4-0. But they didn´t repeat many performances like the first one and went all the way to the final game to make sure they get the tickets to the World Cup in Korea.

Argentina qualified for the World Cup even before facing Peru in their last match. Colombia destroyed Venezuela 5-0 and there was no way Argentina were going to finish outside the first four teams.

With a 1-1 draw, both Argentina (3rd) and Peru (4th) are qualified. Brasil defeated Ecuador 5-2 to claim the title, while Colombia finished in second place.

Congratulations to our boys. They suffered a lot of injuries and sometimes they didn´t have more than 4 players in the bench but despite all those problems, they managed to achieve the two missions they had: qualification for the U17 World Cup and the PanAm Games in Rio.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The quest to defend our basketball gold begins

The draw for the FIBA Americas Championship 2007 (Qualifying for the Olympic Games) that will run from August 22nd to September 2nd in Las Vegas, USA, have been conducted and Argentina will share group A with Uruguay, Panama, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Group B will be formed by United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Canada and Virgin Islands.

The champion and the runner-up will qualify for the Olympic Games in Beijing next year while teams that finish from 3rd to 5th will play another tournament to try and get the ticket to China.

I must say that I´m quite pleased with this draw since we don´t have to play the home team in the first round and we also avoid bitter rivals Brazil, always dangerous Venezuela and Steve Nash-powered (?) Canada.

I think Puerto Rico will be our main threat and you can never give up against Mexico or Uruguay.

I´m really looking forward for this tournament to begin and I hope our big guns can finally wear the Albiceleste in Las Vegas before hopefully going to Beijing to defend our gold.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend's roundup

It was another weekend full of action and with influential performance by several argies around the top European leagues.

CARLITOS "El Martillo" (The Hammer)

Everyday he is closer to becoming a legend at Upton Park. West Ham fans adore him and his scoring count appears to be open now. Second goal in the last two games and this time his contribution really helped his team's cause, generating and later scoring a penalty and then being quick to start the celebration when Bobby ZAMORA´s shot hit him on the goal line. The ref had no choice but to give the "ghost goal" and West Ham won a premiership game after three months. Now they are really going to need Carlos TEVEZ at his best to face a really difficult run-in in which they have games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United (at Old Trafford in the last game of the season).


Four goals in the last two La Liga matches he played. Lionel MESSI is really showing that his huge potential is closer and closer everyday to become a reality. Granted he scored the fouth goal in an easy 4-0 win over Recreativo, but the important thing is that he is finding the back of the net and getting more and more minutes of action after a series of annoying injuries. Keep it up PULGA, your Copa America is only three months away!


How many now? Well, exactly 18 now. Only one less than Frederic KANOUTÉ. Who? RONALDINHO? Samuel ETO'O? Ruud VAN NISTELROOY? All of them playing for big teams of course. No, no, you're wrong. I'm talking about Diego Alberto MILITO a humble, low profile players that all is doing since he arrived in Europe is burning nets! Another strike, another three points for Real Zaragoza against Atlético de Madrid to leap-frogged them and arrive to the fifth place in the standings, only one point behind Valencia and two behind third-placed Real Madrid. Will COCO call him? I'm sure I want to!


Shock after losing 2-0 against Brazil on Friday, starting the second round of the U17 South American tournament in the worst possible way. But joy on Sunday, after a scary start losing to Colombia 1-0, the little albiceleste turned it around and won it 2-1 with goals from Alexis MACHUCA and Santiago FERNANDEZ. Now Brazil are leading with 6 points and we are joint second with three points like Perú, Colombia and Venezuela. Ecuador are in the bottom of the table with no points and they will be our next rivals on Tuesday. A win will surely take us really close to the main objective which is the qualification to the U17 World Cup.


He became famous in a Copa America match against Colombia when he failed 3 penalty shots in the same game. Then he went to Spain and a brick wall collapsed over his leg when he was celebrating a goal he scored for Villarreal. And that was his most remembered image in Europe. Now Martin PALERMO seems to be playing in a different league. He is the top scorer of the tournament in Argentina after he scored 4 goals on Sunday against Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. Those four goals came right after a hat-trick he scored last week for Boca against Estudiantes (the team he supported all of his life). And these 7 goals followed a famous strike from behind midfield against Independiente three weeks ago. What I'm trying to say to all of you is...don't be surprised if Martin PALERMO goes to the Venezuela Copa America. Coco BASILE had him at Boca when he won everything before being named national team manager and with his current form, I wonder if he'll choose to leave him out.


Not many other argie goals in the European leagues but there were a few that are worthy of a mention:

Sergio ALMIRON scored Empoli's only goal in a 3-1 defeat at Rome against Lazio.

Guillermo PEREYRA only needed 3 minutes to score a brace for Real Mallorca and give his team the three points with a 2-0 win over Real Betis.

Gustavo REGGI opened the scoring for Levante but Espanyol scored soon after that and the game ended 1-1.

NBA (National Basketball from Argentina!)

Walter HERRMANN seems to be getting used to life in the NBA. He is improving his performances and getting more minutes playing for the Bobcats. But I'll leave the NBA coverage to our friend John from Malaysia who is always updating us! Thanks in advance John!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Argentina on top of the World

We talked about the FIFA ranking many many times and I think we´ve come to an unanimous decision regarding it: It is important (because it has a saying in the process that determines the World Cup seeded teams) and it is also very unclear and sometimes unfair as well.

But this time, we will say that it is the best ranking of all times! Because Argentina is the best ranked national team according to FIFA!

Even though, in my opinion, we´ve had better times in the past, it is the first time Argentina is on top of this ranking that was often led by Brazil (now 3rd) and lately by World Champions Italy (2nd).

Great news indeed!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


In the aftermath of Lionel MESSI´s hat-trick for Barcelona against he can´t stop attracting looks and flashes as he is in the cover of every sports newspapers of the World.

To be honest with you, I wouldn´t pay much attention to that if it wasn´t for what MESSI keeps on repeating again and again: He wants to play for Argentina.

That´s the thing that matters the most to me. I´m sick and tired of players complaining about the fact they have to travel, play many games and sacrifice a lot of things to represent their country.

I don´t want that no more and that´s why I feel happy when I read what MESSI said in an interview published today by Olé

“I would do any sacrifice to play for Argentina and there´s no doubt that I´d rather play in the Copa America than go in a vacation somewhere. Anyway, BASILE knows which players will he bring. But I want to be in Venezuela because I love to wear the Albiceleste”.

A little bit of history behind MESSI´s hat-trick. With 19 years and 8 months of age, he became the second youngest Barcelona player to score three goals against Real Madrid. The youngest ever? His name was Paulino ALCÁNTARA and he scored a hat-trick against Real Madrid in a Copa del Rey match all the way back in 1916 when he was just 19 years and 6 months of age.

“I´m very happy because I scored three goals. I was starting to play well but I was not scoring but it all happened on Sunday and it was exactly against Real Madrid. I´ve never imagined that I could score a hat-trick the way I did. I haven´t even dream about it. Now if someone like Diego MARADONA says I could be a reference, it just makes me happy”

“Just after the game, RAUL (Real Madrid) came to congratulate me. When I got back home I told all my family because I was more excited about what he said to me than for the three goals I´ve scored”

MESSI´s contract with Barcelona expires in 2014 and it has a cancellation clause of 150 million Euros. That´s the money any team interested in him would have to pay if they are serious about a transfer. But then they could face yet another obstacle: MESSI´s commitment to FC Barcelona.

“This club opened its doors for me in a very key moment of my life. My family and I are very comfortable here.”

And just as I finished typing this last quote from MESSI there are rumours flying high about Inter being very keen on signing him. Reportedly, they are offering Argentine defender Walter SAMUEL and Brazilian forward (and party-boy) Adriano in exchange. Source:
Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy)

Expect more news about Lionel MESSI…after all he is the World´s Cover Boy this week…

Monday, March 12, 2007

MESSI: "I want to play the Copa America"

A couple of days after scoring a sensational hat-trick for FC Barcelona against Real Madrid, Lionel MESSI have declared that he would like to play in the Copa America for Argentina and he added: "Wearing the Albiceleste is always something really special".

He was interviewed for a TV show from Argentina and when asked about the position in which he would like to play for the Albiceleste he said: "I´d like to play like I did in the U20 World Cup (The Netherlands 2005 when Argentina became Youth World Champion and MESSI was top-scorer and elected best player of the tournament). I would like to play a free role in attack."

And it almost looked like he was talking to our reader Allan who said he would like to see MESSI playing for Napoli next year in Serie A. Because LIO said that he "would like to stay in Barcelona because it was the club that opened the doors for me and my family and the relationship with the people here is sensational".

Sensational weekend for Argentina in sports

U17 apart, this weekend was all about celebration and great performances from our athletes all over the world.

On Saturday, Lionel MESSI was the star of what is, perhaps, the biggest classic match of the world between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Barcelona was behind in the score three times. Three times MESSI levelled and with his hat-trick and Sevilla dropping all three points against Gimnastic, the Catalan giants are back at the top in La Liga.

Another country, another derby, another Argie delivering! Inter were down 1-0 thanks to a sensational strike by Ronaldo (I like the guy! I´m happy he is doing fine after all the injuries and problems he had). Four Argentines were playing for Inter (Walter SAMUEL, Nicolás BURDISSO, Javier ZANETTI (captain) and Hernán CRESPO) but the league-leaders just couldn´t break their neighbours defense...until...Julio CRUZ entered the game replacing Hernán CRESPO and within seconds of doing so and by hitting the first ball that went his way he levelled the score, only to steal the ball and send a perfect pass for Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC for the second a few minutes later.

The title now for Inter is pretty much in the bag...barring another Italian style match fixing scandal! haha!

But it continued in other sports as well. Guillermo CAÑAS, coming from the qualy as lucky-loser, defeated Roger FEDERER and, by doing so, he preserved Argentine legend Guillermo VILAS´ record of 41 consecutive matches won.

Apart from those sensational performances there were goals from Diego MILITO for Zaragoza (1-1 against Betis), Luciano GALLETTI (Atlético Madrid 2-0 against Deportivo La Coruña), Sergio ALMIRON (Empoli 2-2 against Livorno), Ezequiel GARAY for Racing Santander (1-1 against Espanyol) and Ariel IBAGAZA for Mallorca (they lost 3-1 against Real Sociedad).

Some stats:

70 goals scored by Argentine players in 26 weeks of La Liga.
An average of 2,69 Argentine goals per week in Spain.
Diego MILITO is the top-scorer with 17 goals.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Little Argentina disappoint and is still not through

Long gone are the times when any team from Argentina could be any team from Venezuela by a large margin. Prove to that was the sensational Caracas FC´s defeat of River (1-0) in Buenos Aires for the Copa Libertadores during the week.

Now Argentina and its U17 version couldn´t manage to beat Venezuela in the South American tournament and the 1-1 draw leaves us needing a victory in the last game of the first round to avoid any major upset and be eliminated from the tournament.

Colombia are through while Paraguay are the only eliminated side from Group B.

1. Colombia 7 Pts.
2. Argentina 5 Pts.
3. Venezuela 5 Pts.
4. Uruguay 4 Pts.
5. Paraguay 1 Pts.

Now Argentina will face Uruguay and will advance with a win or a draw.

Losing to Uruguay will leave Argentina with another option and that is a win by Colombia against Venezuela.

Let´s hope we won´t be needing a helping hand from elsewhere and win the next one to be a step closer to the U17 World Cup and the PanAm Games.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Argentina to gamble in Las Vegas without their ace?

I don´t know if you people are aware but there are talks between San Antonio Spurs and Manu GINOBILI and the team have asked him to stay out of the basketball Olympic Qualifying tournament that will be played in Las Vegas later this year.

Apparently, MANU will listen to the club and take that time to rest.

It´s been a long time since MANU last took a few days off and his body needs some rest. Especially when he had a season with some very annoying injuries. That could give him the chance to heal completely and re-charge the batteries.

I, for one, think it could be beneficial for Argentina. Wait...wait...I´m not saying I don´t want to see MANU leading our team on its way to Beijing to defend the gold medal. I´ll be a great loss in itself. But at the same time, it will start preparing a bunch of players for the big time. MANU won´t play for Argentina much longer after the next Olympics. That´s a fact. So now Carlos DELFINO, to name one, will have to step up and take control of our perimeter while others like SCOLA, OBERTO, NOCIONI (if he plays in Las Vegas) will going to have to lead by example and help the newcomers with all their experience.

I still think Argentina certainly have the potential to qualify for Beijing. In my opinion, we will be one step behind USA and we could have a very strong rival in Brazil (if they play full strenght with the best of their NBA talent: Anderson VAREJÃO, Leandrinho BARBOSA, Nené HILARIO, Rafael ARAUJO and Marcus VINICIUS). Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Canada will all be tough teams to beat as well.

What do you feel about all this?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

U17: Argentina only managed to draw against Colombia

After an impressive start of the U17 South American tournament in Ecuador, Argentina had to settle with only one point after they drew 0-0 against Colombia.

There were no signs of that scoring machine that tore apart Paraguay only two days ago in our debut. But the team is pretty much on course for the second round as the best three teams from the group of five, will advance to the final round.

One shocking piece of bad news is the injury to the best player of our team, striker Federico LAURITO who plays for Udinese (Italy). During the match against Paraguay, he broke the ligaments of his right knee and will of course miss out on the rest of the tournament. Here´s wishing for a speedy recovery for him.

The next match will be against Venezuela on March 11th before ending the first round participation with the Rio de la Plata derby against Uruguay (March 13th).

Monday, March 05, 2007

Little Argentina off to a great start in the U17 South American tournament

It´s always tough to face the first game in any competition. Most of the times, the nerves get to you and they keep you from performing the way you should.

Not today, though!

Argentina defeated Paraguay 4-0 to send a statement to the rest of the teams in the competition.

The goals were scored by Damián MARTINEZ, Cristian GAITÁN, Eduardo SALVIO and Matías QUINTANA

Argentina start training with local players

With a lot of anticipation and several months to go for the Copa America Venezuela 2007, Argentina started training this morning with a group of players from the local league.

Out of the 21 players called up (see previous posts to check out the names), there were a few that couldn´t make for different reasons.

Boca Juniors forward Rodrigo PALACIO is injured (fractured toe) and José SOSA has flown to Germany to finalise the details of his contract with Bayern Munich (he´ll start playing for the Bavarian giants in June).

Apart from them, several players that are involved in Copa Libertadores matches this week in which River Plate will face Caracas FC (so CARRIZO, FERRARI, TUZZIO, PONZIO and BELLUSCHI were not part of the first training session).

Here are some comments from Coco BASILE at today´s press conference:

"As soon as the Clausura tournament is over, my players will come and stay with me here (at Ezeiza´s AFA head-quarters) until it´s time to go and play the Copa America."

"I´ve got 40 players in mind to face all the next challenges we´ve got in the next few months."

"I watch every game every player of the players I have into consideration. No matter where they play in the World."

"We´ll do everything we can to try and win the Copa America."

"RIQUELME is not in the list right now, but the doors are open for him and for every player who plays in a good and consistent level."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

TEVEZ finally on target, but West Ham lose

He had to wait almost half a year for this moment to come, but Carlos TEVEZ have finally scored a goal for West Ham in an all-important London derby against Tottenham Hotspurs.

After Mark NOBLE opened up the scoring for the Hammers, Carlitos cooly flicked a free-kick past Paul ROBINSON to put his team 2-0 up.

But a late comeback, including two goals in the last two minutes, secured a 4-3 win for Spurs and left West Ham empty handed once more.

CARLITOS got a yellow card for a crazy goal celebration but I think it was worth it because of all the things he was living since he left Brazil and arrived to East London.

Hopefully he´ll start banging in more goals from now on!

To Spain now where we had 3 Argentine goals in the match in which Zaragoza defeated Real Sociedad. Germán HERRERA scored the first for Real Sociedad, Pablo AIMAR levelled the score before Diego MILITO, from the spot, gave Zaragoza a 2-1 lead with 15 minutes to go.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Youth World Cup: Argentina know their Group E rivals

The draw for the Youth World Cup Canada 2007 (U-20) has been conducted and Argentina will share Group E with Czech Republic, North Korea and Panama.

It doesn´t look like a Group of Death or something like that. In fact, it was a kind draw for our boys who, however, will need to improve dramatically from what they shown in the South American tournament if we want to defend the title MESSI, KUN and company won in The Netherlands 2005.

Here´s the complete draw:

Group A (Toronto, Edmonton):

Group B (Burnaby, Victoria):

Group C (Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton):
New Zealand

Group D (Montreal, Ottawa):
Republic of Korea
United States

Group E (Ottawa, Montreal):
Czech Republic
Democratic People´s Republic of Korea

Group F (Victoria, Burnaby):
Costa Rica

Friday, March 02, 2007

The people have spoken

Olé, the only sports newspaper from Buenos Aires, is conducting a poll amongst its readers and the question is simple:

How would you like to see our national team formed to play in the Copa America?

A: Only with local players?
Votes: 9859 (26,9 %)

B: A mix between local players and players from Europe?
Votes: 24862 (67,9%)

C: Only players from Europe?
Votes: 1916 (5.2%)

It´s clear that the supporters believe that COCO´s got it right. At least the idea.

Now, what really surprises me is that only 5% of the people want the Albiceleste to be entirely represented by our stars playing in Europe.

D´ALESSANDRO says there´s no problem with MESSI

They haven´t talked to each other after the incident
(Click here to watch the video)
but Andrés D´ALESSANDRO said those are things that happen in the pitch and stay in the pitch.

There were no apologises after the game but the positive things is that at least one of the players involved (D´ALESSANDRO, because MESSI didn´t comment publicly after the incident) is playing down any chance of a possible rift between them.

Personally, I think it´s wrong that MESSI over-reacted to a very subtle touch, but at the same time, D´ALESSANDRO was wrong in what he did. He shouldn´t have even come close with his head towards LIO´s.

Here´s hoping there will be no more acts like this involving Argentine players. You may saaaaaaaaaaaaaay I´m a dreamer! :)

Sources say: COCO will call RIQUELME when he is match fit

It was an open secret really. COCO gave ROMAN the captain arm-band for the first game in his new tenure (against Brazil in London, when we lost 3-0).

Soon after that, RIQUELME announced his retirement from International football but the reasons he gave for taking that measure (his mother´s health), plus the fact that before making it public, he called the manager to let him know first-hand, kept the manager from being mad or angry at RIQUELME and most importantly, the door remained wide open.

Now, with a renewed interest from ROMAN to be a part of the team that will go and play the Copa America in Venezuela (June-July 2007), Alfio BASILE will embrace him once again as he considers RIQUELME a great playmaker and an important member of his squad.

Where will VERON stand in this? Well...I don´t think we should really compare VERON with RIQUELME. Or make them compete for the playmaker spot as I think BASILE will see VERON more as a right midfielder (probably) rather than have him sitting behind the two strikers as he´ll like to see ROMAN.

Plus...according to BASILE, there is never an excess of talented footballers. That´s a rule in his book.

Many managers will be scared to bring to a World Cup many offensive players (take a look at Sven Goran Eriksson with England (he took an unfit Michael OWEN, an injured Wayne ROONEY and an unkwown Theo WALCOTT to join the only game-ready forward he had Peter CROUCH. So just four attacking men! Too little!).

BASILE in 94 used Claudio CANIGGIA, Gabriel BATISTUTA, Abel BALBO, Diego MARADONA and he even had offensive midfielders Leonardo RODRIGUEZ, substitute forward Ramón MEDINA BELLO and a young Ariel ORTEGA in the mix.

I see no reason for VERON and RIQUELME to co-exist in the team. Of course, I don´t want them to be picked because of their names. I want them to perform in order to deserve the call.

VERON did it last season by becoming one of the best players of the tournament, helping his team of moderate budget (Estudiantes de La Plata) beat millonaires Boca Juniors to the title.

Will RIQUELME do the same this time around?

Under-17: South American tournament

Well...another tournament in which the Albiceleste will be involved.

I´m talking about the U-17 South American tournament which will also qualify teams for the U-17 World Cup in Korea and the Panamerican Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

What I´ve heard was that Miguel TOJO is training with the boys in Ecuador (host of the tournament) and that Hugo "I´m happy with the tie even though I could be out of the Olympics" TOCALLI will fly there today to take command of the group that will make its debut on Monday against Paraguay.

The first four teams will qualify to the World Cup in Korea to be played from August 18th until September 9th, 2007.

There´ll be two groups of 5 teams each and the first three from Group A and B will advance to the final round in which every team will play against its 5 rivals and the champion will be decided by total points obtained in that final round (same system they used for the U-20 tournament in January).

Argentina will play in Group B and will be joined by Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Group A will be formed by Brazil, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia and Chile.

Bananito will be the tournament´s mascot (see picture):

The Under-17 South American tournament was first introduced in 1985 with the idea of creating a regional competition to qualify teams to the then newly-born U-17 World Cup. The first three editions where played by U-16 players.

Argentina won the first edition by beating Brazil in the final. But the boys in yellow are the winningest team in this competition: they took home 7 out of 11.

Argentina won 2 times (1985 and 2003), while Colombia and Bolivia each won in one opportunity.

Will try and investigate a little bit about our players in search of a possible new star for the future.

And of course we´ll follow all the action here in this space!

Am I missing something here?

Oh...yeah! Of it is:


Thursday, March 01, 2007

RIQUELME returning to our National Team?

To add info to the RIQUELME saga, despite being criticised by the Chilean newspaper yesterday, he apparentely wants to come out of the volunteer international retirement and play for Argentina in the next Copa América (Venezuela 2007 in June).


Yep. Exactly what you just read.

Now back in Argentina (playing for Boca Juniors), the reason why he quit our National Team is no longer valid. He was feeling bad about all the criticism he was getting from the Press and the public in general and the way it affected his mother´s health. But he was so worried because he was living in Spain and he was so far from his mother (who had to be hospitalised in the past).

Apparentely she is better now and he feels safer because he can be in Buenos Aires with her to support her.

With VERON back in the team, he also feels BASILE is not taking into consideration the past trouble a player might have had and he thinks the manager is keen to give any player another chance.

So the funny ways of life can sort out the playmaker´s spot woes that Argentina were having to deal with and if RIQUELME is happy again with life then who knows what could happen.

Are you happy with the news of a possible RIQUELME´s comeback?

Let´s discuss!

Our talent from across the Atlantic

We know now the 22 players called by COCO from our local league. We also know that he wants to take to the Copa America Venezuela 2007 a mix of those players and the best talents we´ve got playing in the European leagues.

OK, now here are the names that are almost certain for the upcoming Copa America:

Roberto AYALA (captain)
Gabriel MILITO (COCO is really a fan of him and he didn´t disappoint against France)
Fernando GAGO (BASILE had him in Boca and he was a key part in that successful team)
Lionel MESSI

One step behind this group are:

Gabriel HEINZE
Carlos TEVEZ
Javier MASCHERANO (the duo of CARLITOS and MASCHE will depend on whether they are able to get a decent form by playing more minutes because if it wasn´t because they were in trouble at West Ham not playing that much, COCO would love to have them on board).

The big question mark remains on whether he picks Hernan CRESPO to opt for experience and a recognised striker or if he gambles with Mariano PAVONE to start building up for the future and try and find a new BATISTUTA in him.