Boca favourite Bianchi returns for third stint

19 December 2012 07:46

Veteran Argentinian coach Carlos Bianchi came out of retirement for a third spell as coach of Boca Juniors, where he won three Copa Libertadores, after signing a three-year contract on Wednesday.

Bianchi, 63, immediately revealed his intention to bring back on board playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, who left six months ago following a Copa Libertadores final defeat to Corinthians of Brazil.

Riquelme had not seen eye-to-eye with previous Boca coach Julio Cesar Falcioni. "The decision is down to Roman - I will talk to him and see if he is minded (to return to action). I know what Roman can offer Boca," Bianchi told a news conference, describing the 34-year-old former Barcelona amd Villarreal man as "a very important piece" of the squad jigsaw.

"I am very happy to be returning to Boca," said Bianchi, who won four domestic and five international titles in his previous spells with the Buenos Aires-based outfit, who are one of Latin America's biggest clubs.

Bianchi, the only coach to win four Copa Libertadores, came back as general manager four years ago and now takes the reins again as the club try to improve on sixth place after the initial league tournament of the season or Torneo Inicial, well adrift of table-toppers Velez Sarsfield.

The return of the man known popularly as "The Viceroy" comes after fans demanded the replacement of Falcioni.

Bianchi won the hearts and minds of Boca fans in his two previous stints with the club where Diego Maradona made his name, by landing four Argentine league titles, three Copa Libertadores and two Intercontinental Cups between 1998 and 2004.

Before achieving fame as a coach, Bianchi was also a successful player and is the highest-scoring Argentine to date in the history of top flight football, home and abroad spells included.

He scored 206 goals in two stints with his first club Velez Sarsfield and 179 for French sides Reims, Paris Saint Germain and Strasbourg.

But those achievements are easily forgotten given his coaching success. He won his first Libertadores title with Velez Sarsfield in 1994 before adding three more crowns with Boca, while landing Intercontinental Cup honours with both.

A brief and unhappy spell with Roma preceded his arrival at Boca but his welter of titles back in Argentina more than made up for that.

Bianchi will return to the hotseat six years after his last actual coaching role -- a brief stint with Atletico Madrid after which he entered what he termed an extended "siesta" before he returned in 2009 to Boca as assistant manager for a year prior to entering what seemed a well-earned retirement.

Source: AFP