BUENOS AIRES - Bringing a player of Carlos
Tevez's quality back to an Argentine club is a pipe dream in the
financially weak domestic game, according to Velez Sarsfield
sporting director Christian Bassedas.
A transfer in Argentina comparable to Ronaldinho's return to
Brazil last month to play for Flamengo is unthinkable, said the
former Argentina player.
"We can't compete with Brazil. Brazil is backed by very
strong companies and that's not the case here," Bassedas told
Reuters in an interview at Velez's training complex outside
Top Argentina striker Tevez, who moved to Manchester City
from neighbours United in 2009, had left Boca Juniors for
Corinthians in Brazil in 2004 for around $20 million, then the
biggest deal in South American football.
Three times South America's Player of the Year between 2003
and 2005, the 26-year-old has priced himself well out of the
Argentine market but during bouts of homesickness has more than
once said he wanted to return home.
In Argentina, the secret of clubs like Velez, looking to
build a side to emulate their brilliant team of the 1990s, and
first division title holders Estudiantes is that they are well
run on a tight budget.
"If you look at the administration of River Plate in the
last 10 years, it's been very poor. I say that with all due
respect," said Bassedas referring to one of the world's biggest
"River sold players non-stop, they should be in a much
better position," added the 37-year-old.
River Plate were big exporters of talent in the 1990s and
early 2000s when the likes of Argentina World Cup players Pablo
Aimar and Javier Saviola were transferred to European clubs.
Now, club president and former captain and coach Daniel
Passarella, who claims the previous administration bled the club
dry, is hanging on to top asset Gabriel Funes Mori hoping for a
better offer than Benfica's 10 million euros.
River were 79 million Argentine pesos ($19.72 million) in
the red in the latest balance shared by the previous and present
administrations, Passarella told the Sports daily Ole last week.
Passarella will not spend on top players, believing River
can steer clear of relegation at the end of the season in June
with their present squad of aging veterans, raw youngsters and
Meanwhile, former River playmaker Andres D'Alessandro is
thriving at Brazil's South American champions Internacional who
have added to their Argentine contingent by signing ex-River
striker Fernando Cavenaghi on loan from Girondins Bordeaux.
"At Velez my experience was always of a club run on sound
ethical grounds," said Bassedas, who spent all his formative
years and 10 as a professional at club founded in 1910 by
"That's how a structure like this club can be maintained and
that's how they can pay the contracts they take on," added
Bassedas, who was 21 when he helped Velez win the world club
title in 1994, 27 when he moved to England to play for Newcastle
United and 30 when he made a surprise decision to retire.
Bassedas played a key role as Velez, winners of the Clausura
championship in 2009 at the end of his first season as sporting
director and runners-up to Estudiantes in this season's Apertura
in December, made two measured signings in the summer
Velez signed Argentine-born former Mexico striker Guillermo
Franco as a free agent and also recruited attacking midfielder
David Ramirez, a late developer from modest Mendoza provincial
side Godoy Cruz for a reported $2 million.
"Ramirez is a player I really like, who achieved success and
recognition at 29 but who I think can enrich all the kids in our
"This leap [for him] is like going to Europe," added
Bassedas, well aware that many talented players in Argentina
miss the boat of a lucrative move to a European club.
"Velez always had a very rich youth scheme. Those (players)
in the middle (in age) are the ones who want to go abroad and
bringing them (to an Argentine club) is impossible because you
can't compete with the international market."
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