On the shorts with Riquelme as a teammate in Boca upon his return to the club: the story of Leandro Somoza, Russo’s substitute in Paraguay

Leandro Somoza and Juan Román Riquelme laugh during a preseason with Boca in Tandil (Fotobaires)

He was in doubt until the last minute more for his own intentions than for medical advice. Miguel Ángel Russo will be absent in the Boca bank in what will be the restart of the official competition for being a risk patient. Both Jorge Amor Ameal and Juan Román Riquelme recommended that he not travel to this appointment and leave everything in the hands of his coaching staff. For that reason, it is that Leandro Somoza, with the collaboration of Mariano Herrón, will take over.

Russo’s relationship with Somoza dates back to the 2005/2006 season, when the DT landed in Vélez and met a footballer who had long since won the title and was one of the leaders of the group. Despite his young age, he had ancestry in the Velez team and was also a soccer leader on the field. He even kicked penalties and wore the captain’s tape. Together they conquered the 2005 Clausura, just before Miguel left for Boca to win the 2007 Libertadores with an inspired Riquelme.

He Skinny He was transferred to Spanish soccer in 2006 and there he met Roman for the first time in a squad. It was in a Villarreal that he had him as a great figure but would also give him an outlet for his conflictive relationship with the Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini. In the last months of the year, the communication began to fray until it was definitively cut off. Somoza and Riquelme They hardly had time to go deeper because on the 10th he returned to La Ribera to win the Cup.

Somoza and Russo with their eyes fixed on the ball: El Flaco will take over the team in Paraguay (Fotobaires)

Somoza and Russo with their eyes fixed on the ball: El Flaco will take over the team in Paraguay (Fotobaires)

The elegant central midfielder with a good foot, a stern face, a strong leg and prone to skirmishes between rivals, played a season in the Yellow Submarine, another at Betis and began his return to Argentine football to land in Boca with the help of Julio Cesar Falcioni. It immediately became part of the spine within a campus that had heavy names such as Agustín Orión, Rolando Schiavi and Sebastián Battaglia (plus Riquelme) who would later be added Pablo Ledesma and Santiago Silva under the leadership of Carlos Bianchi.

It was a time when not even the favorable results covered the internal ones between the subgroups of the establishment. Falcioni and Riquelme were confronted and several referents took sides with one side and the other. In 2012 the team lost the final of the Libertadores with Corinthians and Román accused feeling empty to have a six-month interval with football. Motivated by the return of the Viceroy, he put the shorts again in 2013. At the beginning of that year, while talking about the return of the 10, Somoza declared: “A captain is important, but so is the group. There is no use if there is a captain and the group goes the other way. Today (Riquelme) is not with us and I prefer to talk about the group and the matches that lie ahead “.

The story in the short and medium term would not end well for either of them: after the elimination in the quarterfinals of the Libertadores Somoza said goodbye and sought asylum in Lanús, where it was once again an important piece; Riquelme showed his differences with the directive committee chaired by Daniel Angelici and in mid-2014 he left for Argentinos Juniors, where he was promoted to First before retiring from football.

The relationship between Somoza and Riquelme did not end well in 2013 when they were part of the same team (Fotobaires)

The relationship between Somoza and Riquelme did not end well in 2013 when they were part of the same team (Fotobaires)

In 2015 he met Russo again in Velez, in which it was a not very fruitful step for both from the sporting point of view. Few will remember him but his last season as a footballer was in Aldosivi from Mar del Plata, where he achieved the objective of promotion to First being champion. But his stay in La Feliz was short-lived: he hung up his boots and joined the lower divisions of Lanús, where he had left a good memory for his leadership and the star of the 2013 South American Cup.

At the same time, Russo was in charge of Millonarios de Colombia while fighting prostate cancer from which he emerged unscathed. After rehabilitation, he definitively reintegrated into the world of football with the challenge in Peru with Alianza Lima, where he had for the last time his historical coaching staff made up of Hugo Gottardi and the Prof Guillermo Cinquetti. In the middle of the dispute of the Libertadores 2019, he changed teams and took over Cerro Porteño de Paraguay, where he unexpectedly summoned new assistants (Somoza was joined by Mariano Uglessich and his current physical trainer Damián Lanatta).

Russo summoned Somoza to his coaching staff when he took over Paraguay's Cerro Porteño last year (NA)

Russo summoned Somoza to his coaching staff when he took over Paraguay’s Cerro Porteño last year (NA)

When he had just assumed in Boca, in exclusive dialogue with this medium Russo clarified about his modification in the coaching staff: “They are my decisions and nothing more. Purely and exclusively from my plane, strictly “. There was debate and some uncertainty about the return of Somoza to Boca now forming part of Miguel’s coaching staff due to the strained relationship that had remained with Riquelme, who became a leader under the mandate of Jorge Amor Ameal. Any type of rigidity was put aside and the choice of DT and the professional plane prevailed. As an alternate aide de camp was added Mariano Herrón, an old acquaintance of Román, while the link with the Reserve of Sebastián Battaglia and Juan Krupoviesa is Hugo Benjamín Ibarra, all former led by Russo.

Somoza’s fledgling career as a coach will be an international challenge in very unique circumstances. Russo trusts him as a right-hand man in his coaching staff as much as when he directed it at Velez, where he already showed characteristics of a computer and a team strategist. A technician on the court. Tomorrow on the other side of the lime line he will seek to support his favorite technician and return to La Boca with a positive result that accommodates the Xeneize in Group H of the Cup.


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