The time of Paulo Díaz, Marcelo Gallardo’s favorite to replace Martínez Quarta

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The formal soccer rehearsal that the Doll arranged is a first clue: the Chilean was the companion of Javier Pinola in the central defense. He also played both qualifying matches with his team at a high level.

Marcelo Gallardo was always clear that Lucas Martínez Quarta would go to Europe. He lived with that certainty since the Chino broke into the First River, but that feeling has grown since the j24-year-old defender from Mar del Plata He began to win the position to a historical like Jonatan Maidana, at the beginning of 2019. From that moment the Doll envisioned the future successor. And it was always clear to him: Paulo Díaz.

The technician insisted on the Chilean for more than 6 months until the leadership could give him the pleasure, in August 2019, in exchange for $ 4 million for 70 percent of the pass. But it happened that Martínez Quarta remained one more year in the cast of Núñez and it was difficult for the Chilean to find minutes on the court.

Until now, his time has come. The formal soccer rehearsal that Gallardo arranged this Saturday is a first clue: Díaz was the companion of Javier Pinola in the central defense. The Chilean played both qualifying games with his national team and did so at a high level. But not only for that reason the coach would decide for Díaz instead of Robert Rojas, the Paraguayan who had many minutes during the past semester.

Díaz is more like Martínez Quarta, by physical build and characteristics. And, in addition, the Chilean will give River a quality leap in one of its lowest points: the aerial game. Díaz, despite not having a great stature (180 centimeters) is a remarkable header in both areas.

Diaz has elite conditions: good presence, correct location, great handling of both legs so he can play in the four positions of the defense, personality, command voice, aggressiveness, intensity and experience (he has already accumulated 25 games with the jersey of Chile). But he has a great one against the 26-year-old defender: tends to deconcentrate easily. And much more: these inattentions lead him to commit child mistakes, inappropriate for a footballer of his hierarchy (for example, the red one against Central Córdoba in Santiago del Estero, 14 minutes into the first half at the Monumental stadium, in the last Super League)

But Gallardo is convinced that Diaz’s moment has come. She has been working under the orders of the Doll and the Chilean is already aware of the things that he cannot allow because, it is known, the coach millionaire her pulse does not tremble when changing.

The bad news of the Saturday practice was provided by the youthful Elías López, who felt a muscular discomfort in the left hamstring and studies should be carried out to determine the degree of the injury. Until this weekend, the 20-year-old boy, who barely added three games in the First Division, was the main replacement for Gonzalo Montiel because Jorge Moreira will be away from the courts for several days, also due to an injury. The Paraguayan suffered a strained anterior right rectum during the week and was ruled out to play against Liga de Quito for the Copa Libertadores.

Before training at River Camp, new PCR tests on all players and members of the coaching staff.

Armani; Montiel, Paulo Díaz, Pinola, Casco; Nacho Fernández, Enzo Pérez, De la Cruz; Alvarez, Borré and Suárez. Those were the 11 that Gallardo stopped in training ahead of Tuesday’s clash against the Quito League, in which he will have the mission of winning to stay with the first place in group D of the Libertadores. The only unknown that existed seems to be resolved: it was time for Paulo Díaz. Will you take advantage of it?

JCH.

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