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SPORTS | 17-11-2022 10:07

River Plate unveil Martín Demichelis as new coach, replacing Marcelo Gallardo

Commanding ex-national team centre back faces the difficult task of succeeding Marcelo Gallardo, who led River through a glorious eight-and-a-half year spell.

Former Millo defender Martin Demichelis was on Wednesday unveiled as the new coach of River Plate.

The commanding ex-national team centre back faces the difficult task of succeeding Marcelo Gallardo, who led la banda roja for eight-and-a-half years and oversaw its most successful spell in history.

Demichelis, 41, returns to the club where he began his playing career in 2000. He played just a couple of seasons on national soil before moving to Europe, where he stayed for almost two decades, playing for Bayern Munich, Malaga, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and Espanyol.

Recognised as a tough defender, he was a member of the Argentina's national team squad at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and was runner-up in the World Cup under Alejandro Sabella in Brazil.

Demichelis arrives at River after a year-and-a-half spell as coach of Bayern Munich's second team. He has gained a great deal of experience at the Bavarian club during his time as a player, spending seven seasons there and winning three Bundesligas, four German Cups and two German League Cups.

"I'm grateful for the trust and the willingness. I have no doubt that, together with my team, we are going to honour this position so that River continues along a successful line of continuity. We have a great group to continue along this path," Demichelis emphasised in his first press conference as the manager of the Millonario.

"There is a lot to do, but I am very calm," said Demichelis, who returned to Argentina on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday signed a three-season contract with River.

It is his first spell as a head coach in Argentina and he has taken over River, one of the nation's most popular clubs.

"River is like the Bayern Munich of South America," said the former defender, offering the comparison freely.

He declared that "the foundations [left by Gallardo] and the structure are strong. I [have] prepared for five years. I had the chance to experience River again as a player, but I didn't want to burn bridges and I stayed in Europe to play in Spain, and I also went to Italy, because this club deserves preparation."

As for the footballing philosophy, Demichelis said that, under his command, the Millo would seek to be protagonists and "continue in the search for prominence in matches and tournaments."

"This club demands to win," he declared. "For me there is no success without discipline, and this institution deserves it, we will go along that line."

In the same vein, he added that "because of the position in which I played, whether as a central midfielder or central marker, both are strategic positions, which allow you to have a privileged analysis of the development of a match."

Demoichelis said he would give River "defensive solidity" while being "as vertical as possible."

Before the end of the press conference, Demichelis wished "success in the World Cup" to Argentina and national team coach Lionel Scaloni.

"I have no doubt that Argentina will play all seven games. It's a team that has the advantage of arriving with a very solid base, with good energy, and with a strong emotional conviction," said the new head coach.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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