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SPORTS | 03-01-2019 13:46

Gustavo Alfaro takes charge as Boca Juniors' new coach

Alfaro, 56, who leaves another Buenos Aires outfit, Huracán, said he felt a "mixture of pride and challenge" at taking the role.

Boca Juniors confirmed Gustavo Alfaro as their new coach on Wednesday evening, just hours after the club's former boss joined LA Galaxy.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto left the Buenos Aires club last month after the Xenezie's historic Copa Libertadores final defeat to arch rivals River Plate.

Boca's Club President Daniel Angelici, who had tried and failed to have the Millo kicked out of the Libertadores final after the second leg was postponed following an attack on Boca's team bus by their rivals' fans, said Alfaro had the "ability and professionalism to take charge of" the club.

Alfaro, 56, who leaves another Buenos Aires outfit, Huracán, said he felt a "mixture of pride and challenge. It wasn't an easy decision because I was torn inside.

"But I feel that I'm delivering on a promise to my old man: I promised him I'd arrive at the biggest [club] in Argentine football."

In local media outlets, Boca had been linked with former Brazil and Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, as well as former Argentina and Colombia boss Jose Pékerman, though some observers saw those leaked big names as ways to placate the fans.

Barros Schelotto, 45, left the club despite having led them to back-to-back titles in his first two seasons before the disappointment of losing to River in South America's premier club competition, the final second leg of which was switched to Madrid -- and won 3-1 by River -- due to the fan violence.

Two weeks ago, Boca named former Inter Milan and Roma defender Nicolás Burdisso as their sporting director, his first management job since retiring as a player at the end of last season.

Alfaro, a coach with a lot of experience of local competitions, has won five trophies since beginning his coaching career in 1992 and he expects to lead the club to glory.

Born in Rafaela, Santa Fe province, the 56-year-old said at a press conference that this was the greatest opportunity of his career.

"Boca Juniors are obliged to win every competition in which we play and we know that we have big challenges ahead," he added.

Alfaro's first match in charge will be a visit to Newell's Old Boys in Rosario on January 27.

Boca's new coach has previously lled teams including Atlético de Rafaela (his former club as a player, for whom he made 126 appearances), Patronato de Paraná, Quilmes, Belgrano de Córdoba, Olimpo, San Lorenzo, Rosario Central, Tigre, Gimnasia LP, Huracán and Arsenal de Sarandí, the club with which he won the Copa Sudamericana (2007), Clausura title (2012), the Supercopa Argentina (2012) and the Copa Argentina (2013).

Surprisingly, Alfaro has already missed out on the chance to lead the Xeneize. In 2006, Mauricio Macri (then Boca's club president) approached him view a view to hiring him. In the end, the duo could not agree a deal. 

The chance, however, came around again.

- TIMES/AFP

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