The enormous challenge that now lies ahead is to demonstrate its validity. A challenge the size of the history of the mythical Racing de Avellaneda, his new club. He already said it on social networks, although of course, with other words: he wants to make it clear that his knee injury is part of the past and that recovering the eye of the tiger is not only possible in the movies. The scorer wants to prove to his detractors that his talent for inflating nets has no expiration date. And this Friday (7:30 pm) he can start doing it against Tigre, for the third day of the Argentine League. The ‘Predator’ will appear on the list for the first time and could debut. Regarding this, below we review what awaits the former captain of Peru in ‘La Academia’.
Fernando Gago’s Racing has been having an almost full moment. He lost a golden opportunity to win the Argentine League on the last day of last season, after Jonathan Galván lost a penalty against River Plate in the last minutes. However, it is a team that has known how to hit the table like a big team has to do: filling the showcase with glasses.
They were champions of the local tournament in the 2018-19 season and, with Gago at the helm, they beat Boca in two finals in a row, appropriating the Champions Trophy and the International Super Cup. Of course, this campaign began irregularly, drawing against Belgrano at home and losing to Argentinos Juniors. The ‘Academy’ fans need a win to get their hopes up again. To do so, they put all their chips in a squad that was reinforced with experienced players like Maximiliano Morales, Guerrero himself and with the projection of a young talent like Ignacio Nardoni.
There are coaches whose game philosophy is a copy and paste of what they were as footballers. Gago undoubtedly belongs to this group. Boca’s ex-five was one of those central midfielders that exuded clarity, precision and panorama. His Racing is a true reflection of what he was on the field: he has a clean start from the bottom and the association is plan A and B in offense. Without the ball he exudes intensity and high pressure. They all run. In this last aspect, the strategist probably has a differentiated job with our compatriot.
“It will be difficult for him to adapt to Argentine soccer. We’ll see if Gago is going to ask him to crash, press the defenders or ask him for more tactical work when Racing doesn’t have it. He will take into account the issue of age”, comments Ignacio Raposo, an Argentine journalist who covers the day-to-day life of the Argentine team for Planeta Racing.
Alfio Basile, Racing idol and one of the most winning coaches in Argentine soccer, praised the work that Gago and his assistant Federico Insúa have been doing. “I like the philosophy of Gago and Insua. I’ve known them since they were kids and I know how they think, I also see the way Racing tries to play, being a good team that will progress”, said ‘Coco’ for Esperanza Racinguista.
In theory, it seems that neither of the two strikers who will compete with Paolo for the position are better than him in terms of track record and experience. Maximiliano Romero, a regular starter, has 25 games with Avellaneda’s team and only 3 goals, while Gastón Reniero has no goals so far in three games played. “Paolo has the experience that the other forwards don’t have. In addition, his goalscoring efficiency has been proven, with the other forwards there are still doubts, ”Raposo tells us.
Racing plays with a 4-3-3 tactically, having two wingers like Johan Carbonero and Matías Rojas who should get tired of creating scoring situations for them. Paolo’s responsibility will be to be fine in the definition.
Paolo’s present is not the most encouraging. In Avaí, his last team, he played 10 games totaling 427 minutes and could not celebrate any goal. His last goal was on August 16, 2021, in Internacional’s 4-2 win against Fluminense, and we have to go back almost five months to see our compatriot play a full game, which took place against Athletico Paranaense.
If Paolo recovers his level, he could even be an option for Juan Reynoso in the Peruvian team. It would be a luxury for the ‘Cabezón’ to have the exFlamengo on the bench. Although of course, he will first have to comply with an order of priorities in Racing: get physically fit, win the title and score goals.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.