Barros Schelotto to part ways with Boca after Copa Libertadores defeat to River

After almost three years in charge at the Bombonera, the coach will not see his contract renewed

Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici has confirmed that the Copa Libertadores final defeat against River Plate was coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s last game in charge of the Buenos Aires giants. 

Having drawn the first leg of the much-hyped ‘Superfinal’ 2-2 at the Bombonera, Boca and River were then forced to play the return leg in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu due to violent incidents at the Monumental, River’s home. 

On Sunday, Boca once more took the lead through Dario Benedetto, only to see Lucas Pratto, Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez seal a 3-1 comeback victory for the Millonario after extra time. 

Barros Schelotto’s departure was widely expected, and was sealed on Friday in a press conference attended by both Angelici and the outgoing coach. 

“The club had to make a decision and we understood that the best for Boca was to start the year with a change, that we had to look for a new coaching staff,” the president explained.

“In no way am I here to fire him, I have no doubt that this is a ‘see you soon’.”

Angelici added that Barros Schelotto’s, whose contract comes to an end in December, “has left the bar very high.” 

He also stated that no talks are currently underway with a potential successor, with the likes of Gabriel Heinze, currently at Velez Sarsfield, former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and Huracan’s Gustavo Alfaro rumoured among the early candidates. 

Barros Schelotto, meanwhile, who worked alongside twin brother Gustavo at the Bombonera, cut a diplomatic tone as he said goodbye to the club he has worked for as both player and coach. 

“I wish to thank the directors, Boca’s employees and the players, because your work comes through the footballers but it has to have the support of the directors and everyone at Boca,” he said. 

“I want to avoid any questions you have, today I want to leave peacefully. I gave everything, I’m leaving in peace with the fans, I don’t want to be right, at some point we will see each other again.”

The coach took up the Boca post in 2016 having started his career on the bench with a successful spell at Lanus, after seeing a job with Palermo in Italy fall through due to a lack of coaching qualifications. 

He delivered back-to-back Primera titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18, while also guiding Boca to the semi-finals of the 2016 Libertadores. 

A failure to deliver continental success, however, saw Barros Schelotto come under fire from the famously demanding Boca faithful, desperate for their first Copa title since 2007. 

And Superclasico defeats to River in 2018 in the Supercopa and Superliga, as well as the Libertadores, ultimately made his exit inevitable midway through the current league season, with Boca currently sixth in the standings, 12 points behind leaders Racing Club with two games in hand due to the fixture upheaval caused by repeated final reschedulings.

And while his next move is still uncertain, the Argentine has been linked to a move to MLS as the successor to Gerardo Martino at Atlanta United, having starred state-side as a player with Columbus Crew.

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