Ricardo Centurión has done it again. Authorities stopped him at 8am (eight in the morning!) on Monday after he ran a red light in Lanús, apparently getting a little too close to a group of children on their way to school. He refused a sobriety test, though some reports indicate he was drunk, and he allegedly tried to bribe the officers who caught him. In the end they declined to arrest him, though they did confiscate his car.
The 25-year-old Argentine footballer has been playing well and regularly for Racing Club in 2018 after a topsy-turvy couple of years at Boca Juniors, Genoa and São Paulo. Though he didn’t score, he played 67 valuable minutes in la Academia’s 5-0 route of Patronato on Sunday.
But off the field is a different thing altogether. This is far from the first ugly situation Centurión has found himself in. He’s gotten into car accidents, insulted teammates, been accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend, posted photos in which he brandishes a sawed-off shotgun and insulted the president of Boca Juniors on Twitter (perhaps part of why he wasn’t invited back at that club).
He looks in fine form, with Argentine national team head coach Jorge Sampaoli even mentioning how impressed he is with the midfielder in recent months. But how well does a player have to play to be to be worth that much baggage?
This is not how Boca Juniors want their season to be going. On March 1, they failed to score away in Perú in the Copa Libertadores. Fine, there are more games to come and it’s a tough away trip. Two weeks ago, they lost and failed to score against Argentinos Juniors. Fine, fine, their lead in the league remained solid and a slip-up was bound to happen at some point. Look past those two outliers and their 2018 is full of wins and impressive performances.
But then came Wednesday. In arguably the most important Argentine football match of 2018, Boca, the in-form side, the powerhouse that was cruising to glory yet again as rivals River Plate struggled to keep their head above water, came crashing down. They lost 2-0, and with that scoreline hinchas of the Xeneize have earned themselves months of ruthless taunts from their cross-town rivals.
Yesterday, it got even worse. The Millonarios beat Belgrano at home 3-1, the first time they’ve had three consecutive victories in quite a while, while Boca settled for a 1-1 tie with Atlético Tucumán. That came after a Saturday in which Talleres captured a sixth win in eight games, 1-0 over Defensa y Justicia, which now puts La T just six points behind Boca as the Superliga heads down the final stretch.
Elsewhere, Godoy Cruz and San Lorenzo both won to keep up the pressure in third and fourth place, and Racing smashed Patronato 5-0 to stay in fifth. Independiente play Monday night.
Lionel Messi started, scored and played 90 minutes in Barcelona’s (first, Spain) routine 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao (13th). With Atlético Madrid’s 2-1 loss to Villareal and the La Liga season winding down, Barça now more than ever have one hand on the league trophy.
Éver Banega played 90 minutes in Sevilla’s (Spain, sixth) frustrating 2-1 loss to Leganés (12th). Los Rojiblancos are now 14 points out of fourth place with Villareal ahead of them in fifth, but in a way it almost doesn’t matter because of their midweek performance in the Champions League—Sevilla toppled English giants Manchester United in one of the upsets of the season, and Banega was arguably the star of the show.
Sergio Agüero and Manchester City (England, first) did not play their scheduled match Monday night against Brighton (12th) because the Seagulls were too busy losing to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Érik Lamela started, scored and played 81 minutes in Tottenham's (England) 3-0 win over Swansea in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Sergio Romero started and earned a clean sheet in Manchester United’s (England) 2-0 FA Cup win over Brighton on Saturday, continuing his role as José Mourinho's first choice in the competition. Marcos Rojo again did not make the 18 due to injury, but on March 16 signed a new three-year deal to stay at Manchester United, amid light transfer speculation.
Ángel Di María started, scored and played 90 minutes in Paris Saint Germain’s (France, first) 2-1 win over Nice (eighth). Giovani Lo Celso was a 76th-minute substitute. But with a 17-point lead in first place and their embarrassing crash out the Champions League still fresh, results for PSG don’t have much meaning right now.
Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín are in the opposite position. Not only are Juventus (Italy, first) still in the Champions League, but with their scoreless draw with SPAL (17th) on Saturday, their lead in Serie A is now two points over Napoli, who won. Both players played 90 minutes but obviously failed to score.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano both played 90 minutes in Hebei China Fortune’s (China, eighth) 2-1 loss to Shandong Luneng (second).