news from argentina

Simeone takes over at struggling San Lorenzo

April 21, 2009

Former Argentina captain Diego Simeone took over as coach of struggling San Lorenzo on Tuesday with the aim of reviving both his new team and his own career.

Simeone, who won 106 caps, played at three World Cups and was famously involved in the sending-off of David Beckham during a World Cup match in 1998, replaced Miguel Angel Russo who quit a fortnight ago.

"I want an organised, dynamic and aggressive team," Simeone told a news conference after taking charge of his first training session. "Last night, I was so nervous I couldn't sleep."

Simeone, who, unshaven and wearing all-black, cuts a menacing figure on the touchline, made an impressive start to his coaching career when he won domestic titles with Estudiantes in 2006 and River Plate in the first half of 2008.

He was considered as a potential replacement for Argentina coach Alfio Basile when he quit in October but River's poor form and the surprise emergence of Diego Maradona as a candidate scuttled his chances.

The former Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Inter Milan and Lazio midfielder left River in November with the team bottom of the Apertura championship, his coaching reputation having taken a huge knock.

San Lorenzo have lost 10 of their last 13 games and are in disarray with most of the squad expected to leave when the season ends in June.

The only major Argentine club never to have won the South American Libertadores Cup, they were knocked out at the group stage two weeks ago and were greeted by protesting fans when they returned home.

Their domestic form has been equally dismal and Sunday's 3-0 defeat at lowly provincial side San Martin-Tucuman left them 18th in the Clausura championship with 10 points from 10 games.

Two championships - the Apertura and Clausura - are played in the Argentine season.