In the last couple of weeks I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked in keeping everyone up-to-date with all things Chilean football due to work, festivities and illness. Earlier in the week I briefly wrote about the Clausura play-off final and also an in-depth article on Universidad de Chile and Jorge Sampaoli’s success.
And instead of spamming everyone’s timeline on Twitter I thought it would be better to write about all the latest news that may be of interest which has happened recently. Unsurprisingly news has been dominated by the three Santiago ‘giants’ but there is news of returns to Chile for high profile players as well a new TV deal, coaching changes and the start of the Apertura campaign.
New TV deal
Every club in the top two Chilean leagues were handed a financial both with the news that CDF, who broadcast live games, will distribute U.S. $40m to the 32 teams over the two leagues; an increase of 5%. As expected Colo Colo (9%), Universidad de Chile (8%) and Universidad Católica (7%) command the biggest shares while 57% will be split amongst the other 15 clubs and Primera B clubs will share 18%.
ANFP president, Sergio Jadue, announced: “We are very happy to see that the ‘Canal del Fútbol’ continues to grow and that the clubs receive an important dividend in a difficult economy.”
Another export to Serie A?
Udinese are believed to have made a bid of US$1.25m for Audax Italiano wide-man Matías Campos Toro. The Chilean internationalist announced recently that he saw a move to Europe as his next step despite interest from Universidad Católica who have started talks with the player. He would join fellow Chilean Mauricio Isla at the Friuli. He would represent a very shrewd signing for the Italian club; cheap, youthful, dynamic, versatile and provides a goal threat from the left-flank which he covers so well. He would have no problems fitting into the Zebrette’s 3-5-1-1 system.
Universidad de Chile transfer controversies
Universidad de Chile have caused controversy with their work in the transfer market as they attempt to purchase two of Universidad Católica’s star players. La U made an offer of US$800,000 for Fernando Meneses, UC’s impressive wide man, thinking that it would have to be accepted due a clause in Meneses contract. However the player’s contract is more complex according to Católica who own 50% of the player while Colo Colo own 20%, O’Higgins 20% and the player himself 10%. The club say that the clause only exists between them and Colo Colo. Any other club have to pay a reported US$2.5m – the figure UC values the player at.
Meanwhile left-back Roberto Cereceda signed for La U on freedom of contract from Cató prompting debate around when he put pen to paper. There have been suggestions that the defender signed before or during the semi-final clashes between La U and UC in the play-offs. A claim Cereceda refutes: “It is a lie to say that I had arranged my transfer to La U before the semi-finals of the Clausura.”
Universidad de Chile also announced the signing talks began after the semi-finals took place.
Looking away from the off-field controversies and onto the pitch, if Los Azules can add Meneses signing to Cerceda’s they are robbing UC of two of their most important and impressive players. Cerceda played left-back for Católica but with his energetic bursts from deep there is no question he could fill in seamlessly if Eugenio Mena moves on. Whereas Meneses would join Junior Fernandes in helping replace the departed Eduardo Vargas. More of a winger than forward he possesses an abundance of ability and Gustavo Canales would thrive of his deliveries from wide positions.
Potential break-up of La U squad
As expected many of La U’s players have attracted interest from elsewhere in South America, Europe and further afield, with Edaurdo Vargas already left to join Napoli. Captain José Rojas is close to a move to Brazil’s Botafogo although Vasco da Gama and Flamengo are also interested, two sides La U defeated on the road to their Copa Sudamericana success. Vasco da Gama are also keen on Charles Aránguiz, Fluminense on Marcelo Díaz and Corinthians on Gustavo Lorenzetti. Meanwhile Eugenio Mena has had interest from Spain while Mexican side Toluca are said to be after striker Gustavo Canales who could prove the key to bringing Humberto Suazo to the Estadio Nacional for six months. Monterrey, Suazo’s current club, could be a possible destination for Canales with Suazo possibly going the other way. But it is all dependent on finances of both clubs, with Suazo earning a substantial wage. Another player who may come to Chile with La U is former player Pedro Morales who joined Dinamo Zagreb over three years ago.
It had been confirmed that Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys have made a total bid of around US$2m for Díaz and defender Marcos González. However Díaz is keen to continue under Jorge Sampaoli, signing a new deal which reflects his importance to the team.
Sampaoli and Vargas miss out on awards while Vargas promises to return
Despite La U’s success at home and abroad manager Jorge Sampaoli and star-forward Eduardo Vargas were edged out into second-place as best manager and player in South America in end of season awards. Sampaoli was beaten to the honour by Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez who won the Copa America and Santos’ Neymar finished ahead Vargas who beat Neymar’s team-mate Ganso to second-place. Vargas did make the team of the year however, along with fellow Azul’s Jhonny Herrera and Marcos González.
The team of the year: Jhonny Herrera; Néicer Reasco (LDU Quito), Marcos González, Rolando Schiavi, Claudio Rodríguez (Both Boca Juniors) ; Arévalo Ríos (Tijuana), Ganso (Santos), Riquelme (Boca Juniors); Neymar (Santos),Hernán Barcos (LDU Quito), Vargas
Speaking to the Universidad de Chile official website Eduardo Vargas claimed that he would finish his career with Los Azules. He said: “I can assure you I will finish my career with La U. I’ll never forget the love I have (for La U).”
A legend retires
Diego Rivarloa bid farewell to the Azul Azul crowd in Universidad de Chile’s second-leg Clausura final win over Cobreloa in his last game before retiring. The 35-year-old Argentine/naturalised Chilean, known as ‘Goku’, played for a number of clubs in his career including Argentinos Juniors and Atlas but it was with La U, in three stints, that he enjoyed his most fruitful spell winning four championships and a Copa Sudamericana as well as netting over a hundred goals – he was the clubs top ‘foreign’ scorer with 101 goals.
The striker openly admitted that he did not see eye-to-eye with current boss Jorege Sampaoli but opted against carrying on his career elsewhere, instead agreeing to take on a role behind the scenes at the Estadio Nacional.
Universidad Católica lose captain Mirosevic
Cató have seen their talisman Milovan Mirosevic join MLS side Columbus crew. One of their leading creative forces and goal scoring threats. But his departure should be outweighed by the triple signing of Paraguayan striker Roberto Ovelar, forward Michael Ríos and Uruguayan defender Matías Pérez who will replace Cerceda.
Ivo Basay re-shapes Colo Colo squad
Four of Colo Colo’s new signings have joined up with the club for the start of pre-season; Mathias Vidangossy (Deportes La Serena), Miguel Angel Gonzalez (O’Higgins), Juan Toloza (Brasov, Romania) and Horacio Cardozo (Kavala, Greece). They will be joined by two big signings in Chilean internationalist’s Pablo Contreras and Gonzalo Fierro who return to the club they started with from PAOK in Greece and Flamengo in Brazil respectively.
Miguel Angel Gonzalez is expected to live up to his ‘El Magico’ nickname after his move from O’Higgins and he’s looking forward to getting started despite the added pressure of playing for ‘El Cacique’.
He said: “Every player would be excited to play for a club as big as Colo Colo. I know how everything is. I know there will be more demands on me than there was at my other clubs.”
While Los Albos have released a new shirt with a not so subtle dig at their arch-rivals’, Universidad de Chile, Copa Sudamericana success by having a picture of the Copa Liberatadores embroidered onto the top in reference to their 1991 win of the tournament, the only time a Chilean team has won the illustrious trophy.
Return to the Primera for Puch?
Former La U player Edson Puch looks set to find his way back to the Primera División to join the team of his heart Deportes Iquique after asking to leave UAE club Al Wasl who are managed by Diego Maradona. He claims to have got bored playing in Asia and fed up with the time he spent on the bench and in an ‘amateur league’.
He said: “I have told my agent I want Iquique. So far, I think I have a 95% chance of returning to the club. Deportes Iquique is the club I love; I never would ask the club for millions and millions.”
Iquique have already made an impressive signing in Boris Rieloff who spent the Clausura at Colo Colo.
O’Higgins: Eduardo Berizzo replaces Joseph Cantillana
Palestino: Daniel Carreño replaces Gustavo Benitez
Santiago Wanderers: Arturo Salah replaces Hector Robles
Ex-Huachipato boss Salah stated that he has come to Wanderers “to win” while maintaining the identity of the club by focusing on youth.
The 2012 Primera División Torneo Apertura will kick-off on the 29th of January with a repat of the Clausura play-off final to get things underway as Universidad de Chile host Cobreloa. The full card:
Universidad de Chile v Cobreloa
Deportes Iquique v Colo Colo
Palestino v Universidad Católica
O’Higgins v Antofagasta
Rangers v Deportes La Serena
Cobresal v Unión San Felipe
Huachipato v Santiago Wanderers
Audax Italiano v Unión Española
Unión La Calera v Universidad de Concepción
Copa Liberatadores Representatives
Chile will be represented by Universidad de Chile, Universidad Católica and Unión Española in the 2012 Bridgestone Copa Liberatadores which begins on the 24th of this month.
A comprehensive list of the transfers so far in the Primera División can be found here.
All quotes can be attributed to La Tercera if not stated.
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