South America wrap: Chelsea target Dybala not joining Palermo
Charlie Reynolds looks back at another eventful week in South American football - both on and off the pitch
Confusion over Dybala signing
Palermo’s president ended up looking slightly foolish this week following his announcement that the Serie A side had signed Instituto star Paulo Dybala. Maurizio Zamparini claimed the club had signed the teenage wonderkid ahead of more notable European sides such as Chelsea, Internazionale and Paris Saint-Germain and hailed the forward as being ‘the next Sergio Agüero’. However, despite Zamparini’s confident declarations, Dybala’s club Instituto quickly moved to deny that their 17-goal star had been sold, stating that the man Zamparini had dealt with did “not have the mandate nor the possibility to sell Dybala”. For the time being the starlet remains in Argentina but it surely cannot be long before we see him on this side of the Atlantic.
Adriano to sue former club Corinthians
Adriano, the former Inter striker, has announced he is planning to take legal action against his former club Corinthians. The 30-year-old, who is currently without a club, intends to sue his former side after he alleged he was held prisoner at a training camp. The former Brazil international claims he was not allowed to leave as a punishment and that it left him feeling humiliated. “I will take [legal] action [against Corinthians],” Adriano told Globo TV. “I was in prison for one week. At no time did I agree to stay there.” Adriano, who is currently recovering from a recent operation, also said he hoped to join Flamengo soon and force his way back into contention for a place in the Brazil squad.
Mixed week for Neymar and Santos
Santos suffered a set back in their bid to retain their Copa Libertadores crown, losing 2-1 to Bolívar in the first leg of their knockout tie. The Brazilian club got off to the worst possible start, conceding after just two minutes when a fantastic Jhasmani Campos free-kick cannoned off the post and rebounded of the goalkeeper’s back into the net. Santos managed to equalise in the 34th minute but Bolívar controlled possession for most of the game as the visitors tired in the high-altitude conditions. The home side restored their lead through another Campos set-piece after 75 minutes. Bolívar’s victory was somewhat marred by an incident in the second half when Neymar was struck in the face by a missile thrown onto the pitch and the home side were perhaps fortunate the game was not called off. Despite the inauspicious start to the week, Neymar and Santos will arguably look back on it favourably, thanks to the club’s 3-1 victory over São Paulo in the semi-final of the Campeonato Paulista. The Brazil international was once again the star of the show scoring all three goals, including his 100th for the club, to give his side the chance to win their third consecutive Paulista title – a feat no club has achieved since Pele managed it in the 1960s.
Veteran Ortega looks set to call time on career
Former Argentina international and River Plate idol Ariel Ortega has admitted he will probably retire in June. The 38-year-old playmaker has played for Valencia, Parma and Sampdoria as well as having three stints at River Plate in a controversial career. One of the most naturally gifted players of his generations, Ortega’s often-dazzling skills were undermined by his regular disciplinary problems and much publicised alcoholism. While El Burrito dreams of a final send off in front of a packed River Plate crowd, it appears that this is a forlorn hope due to his irreparably damaged relationship with club president Daniel Passarella. If this is indeed the case it will be a sad end to a long and at times thrilling career.
Goal of the Week: Santiago Silva’s spectacular scissor kick
This week’s goal of the week was scored by Boca Juniors’ burly Uruguayan striker, Santiago Silva, who finished a fantastic sweeping counter-attack with an acrobatic scissor kick volley past the helpless Colón goalkeeper. To make things even better, Silva followed it up with a trademark surreal celebration.