Buenos Aires Times

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Boca hire Burdisso as sporting director as search for coach continues

Fresh from their Copa Libertadores defeat, Club President Daniel Angelici installs Nicolás Burdisso as sporting director.

Wednesday 19 December, 2018
Boca Juniors' new sporting director, Nicolás Burdisso.
Boca Juniors' new sporting director, Nicolás Burdisso. Foto:NA/MARCELO CAPECE

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Former Xenieze defender Nicolás Burdisso has been appointed sporting director at Boca Juniors, the local giants have announced.

The former Inter Milan and Roma centre-half was unveiled at a press conference earlier this week.

The move comes just days after the Buenos Aires club parted ways with coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto following the historic Copa Libertadores defeat to arch-rivals River Plate in Madrid.

Burdisso began his career at Boca, spending more than seven years at the club, before moving to Italy as a 23-year-old and playing out the rest of his career there, where he also donned the colours of Genoa and Torino.

"I've been waiting for a long time to return to the place that formed me," said Burdisso, 37, who retired earlier this year having won 49 Argentina caps.

Despite leading Boca to back-to-back league titles, the club decided to dispense with Barros Schelotto following the 3-1 defeat to River a week ago in the Libertadores final second leg that was moved to Madrid over security concerns.

The original second leg – following a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Boca's emblematic Bombonera stadium – was postponed three weeks ago after several Xeneize players were injured when their team bus came under attack from River fans on the way to the Monumental.

Burdisso, who has no coaching experience, was an under-20 World Cup winner with Argentina in 2001 and Olympic gold medallist in Athens in 2004. He played at the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010.

One of his first tasks will be to find a new coach.

"We have a very clear profile for the coach we need," said Burdisso, who began his career at Boca as a youth player, before spending five seasons with the first-team squad.

Local press reports in recent days have named former Brazil and Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, and José Pékerman, the former boss of the national teams of Argentina and Colombia, as possible replacements for Barros Schelotto, suggesting the club may be looking at coaching staff with a higher, more international profile.

- TIMES/AFP

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