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“The club decided to divide the functions since Alianza Lima needs specific attention in professional football,” were the first statements of Bonillo, who was the right arm of Ricardo Gareca in the successful cycle in charge of the Peruvian team (2015-2022 ).
Thus began a kind of reconstruction in Matute with which the intimate club seeks to continue fighting for the title in League 1 (since becoming champion in 2017, it has played five of the six finals that were played in Peruvian soccer) and, above all, start competing on an international level.
It was a conference to take the first step. But there are still doubts among the fans with a view to the 2024 season. The preseason is just around the corner (December 6) and in La Victoria they have to accelerate the pace to define everything. Therefore, below we answer five questions about the future of the intimate institution.
Alejandro Restrepo and Bruno Marioni will be in charge of the signings at Alianza Lima. (Photo: Violeta Ayasta / GEC)
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The new and important role of Néstor Bonillo
In recent weeks, Néstor Bonillo has become relevant in the intimate scene. He himself pointed out that after falling in the final, administrator José Sabogal himself asked him to assume new responsibilities to help build the 2024 squad.
Thus, Bonillo went from being an external advisor in which he carried out a situational diagnosis of the club’s infrastructure (how the minor divisions, children’s divisions, schools were functioning) to being the club’s advisor in sports planning and leading the entire reconstruction.
In fact, it was Bonillo who advised Bruno Marioni and Alejandro Restrepo to come to the club and work under his tutelage.
What will be José Bellina’s new position?
The secret was revealed: it is now known what position José Bellina will hold. “In this general structure, José Bellina will become the Sports Development Manager. You will see the structures of youth football, children’s football, schools, women’s football so that the club can manage to put a greater number of players in professional football who have the level so that the team has trained footballers from the institution, an objective that will be pursued in the medium and long term; beyond what the development of structures means,” explained Néstor Bonillo.
Bellina was, until before the 2023 League 1 final, the sports manager. That is, he made up the 2021 and 2022 squads, years in which Alianza Lima achieved a two-time championship. The final balance, seeing it from a purely results perspective, was good.
However, if Matute’s offices agree on something, it is that for 2023, he and the then coach Guillermo Salas were wrong when it came to signing players. Not because of the bad luck of injuries, but because there are key positions that were not reinforced such as left back (the substitute for the irregular Ricardo Lagos was Amasifuen, a youth player), right back (Gino Peruzzi was absent many games due to injury and Edinson Chávez he did not measure up to the point that they had to experiment by even putting Zanelatto or Aldair Rodríguez, two wingers, in that position), midfield (Ballón was the one who played the most because he did not have a substitute and Alianza lacked a mixed midfielder. The right one was Menossi, but when he decided not to come, they looked for Andrade who is more of a ’10’).
A no small fact: of the starting team that faced the final back against the ‘U’, only Zambrano and Sabbag were the signings for this 2023. Poor planning in terms of hiring. (Photo: Andina / Andrés Valle)
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Who is Alejandro Restrepo, what do they say about him and what is his football philosophy?
“Alejandro Restrepo is part of the new crop of young Colombian coaches who are revolutionizing soccer in this country,” they tell us from Colombia about the new Alianza Lima coach. Born in Antioquia, Medellín, 41 years ago, Alejandro has a degree in physical education from the University of Antioquia. He took his first steps as a coach in training categories. He had experience in the Colombian Sub 17 during the 2015 South American Championship. In 2019, due to force majeure situations after the departure of Paulo Autuori, he took the great leap and took the reins of the Atlético Nacional first team for a few weeks.
After that brief experience, Restrepo dedicated himself to the minor divisions of Nacional (Sub 20). While his training continued, the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio in November 2020 once again opened the doors for him to take charge of Nacional, although he was once again not designated as a full coach.
Seven months later, and after a terrible cycle by Alexandre Guimaraes, Restrepo had his third cycle in charge of the first team. And his first title came by winning the BetPlay Cup, defeating Deportivo Pereira in the final, which would later become his second experience.
Restrepo used the 4-2-3-1 at Atlético Nacional. In this lineup, after beating Pereira 5-1, Andrés Andrade -until now an Alianza Lima player- started and scored a goal.
/ Quilca León Marco Antonio
With Pereira, Restrepo made history by winning the 2022 Finalización Tournament, the first national title in the club’s history. This year he once again wrote his name in the golden pages of the institution: he reached the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores. On his squad was Arley Rodríguez, a player who won two times with Alianza Lima.
Regarding his style of play, the coach himself explained it in his conference: “Balance would be a good description of our idea of the game, liking offensive football, being superior to the rival through possession, but identifying the scenarios to which which ones we are going to face.”
Although he made history with Pereira using a 3-4-3 system, at Atlético Nacional he used 4-3-3. Which means that the coach adapts to what he has. And taking into account that Alianza has already signed Kevin Serna, it is likely that the Colombian will opt to play with two open wingers and a nine.
At Deportivo Pereira, Restrepo used a 3-4-3, a formation that could fit in Alianza. Here is the lineup in the historic victory against Boca Juniors in the group stage of the Copa Libertadores 2023.
/ Quilca León Marco Antonio
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What is the real situation of José Sabogal?
According to information from Julio Vizcarra, a journalist for this newspaper, a few weeks ago a meeting was held between the new creditors -those who bought the claims from the Blanquiazul Fund-. In an “intense” and “hot” meeting, everyone pointed to José Sabogal, general manager, as the main person responsible for the failure of the three-time championship and what happened after the final in Matute.
However, although rumors spread of Sabogal’s possible departure, five months after replacing Fernando Salazar, we learned that he will still continue in office. Although everything is momentary.
It happens that it has been decided to call a Creditors’ Meeting. This process in which Sunat is involved does not take less than six weeks. That is, until the end of the year. Until then, the general manager “will be under permanent evaluation,” according to our source.
Which players are leaving and who are staying?
There is talk – with complete justice – more about the leaders and their irrational decision to turn off the Matute lights so that the rival does not celebrate, than about the footballers, protagonists and culprits in turn of the sporting result. But the truth is that there will also be changes at the football level, something that they did not manage to do one hundred percent in these years in which they became champions. In the second final, for example, only Zambrano and Sabbag were this year’s runners who made headlines.
In that sense, there are ten footballers who end their contract this year: Andrés Andrade, Cristian Benavente, Josepmir Ballón, Hernán Barcos, Jairo Concha, Edinson Chávez, Gino Peruzzi, Pablo Míguez and Santiago García.
Concha’s situation is uncertain at the moment: the leadership tried to convince him to renew his relationship in recent months, but he did not receive an affirmative response. At the moment it is not known if it will continue, although it is a project in Alianza due to its importance in the squad.
— Club Alianza Lima (@ClubALoficial) November 24, 2023
The case of Barcos and Ballón are similar. They are the leaders of the locker room, they show hierarchy, but age is a favor that is not in their favor. They have not yet decided if they will continue to count on them.
On the other hand, the footballers who still have a contract are: Carlos Zambrano, Yordi Vilchez, Ricardo Lagos, Jesús Castillo, Franco Zanelatto and Gabriel Costa. Of all of them, Lagos and Costa are the most criticized by the fans and the situation of both will be evaluated.
Then there are the cases of Bryan Reyna and Christian Cueva. Bryan still has a contract until 2025, but Alianza is not at all happy with the attitude he took after his possible signing to the Gremio of Brazil fell through by decision of the intimate team. “It is very likely that he will not continue. They are going to pay his exit clause and he will go, probably abroad”, they told us from Matute, although from the football players’ environment they told us that there is no rush and that, for now, he is still an Alianza player. His replacement will be the Colombian Kevin Serna, who had a great season with ADT. Those who could also arrive are: Kevin Sandoval, Renzo Garcés and Marco Huamán.
Cueva, for his part, completes his loan. But he ended his second stage in Alianza very badly. ‘Aladino’ played with a serious injury to his right knee (rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament) since March and, when coach Mauricio Larriera informed him that he was not going to be part of the squad that faced the finals, the midfielder did not even appear in Matute did not show any support to his teammates. Christian will have to return to Al Fateh, although a legal dispute could begin: the intimate club will have to take care of the operation for his injury and his monthly payment while he is recovering.
Finally, another who will not continue is Pablo Sabbag. The Colombian was on loan from La Equidad, but Matute completely agrees that they do not plan to pay a clause to retain him. He was important in the Apertura, but then, after an ankle injury that became more complicated, his level declined.
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