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The Least Balanced Rivalry in the World

The Clásico Platense is known in South America as the least balanced rivalry in the world for a reason: as Estudiantes has 1 World, 4 Continental and 6 National titles, Gimnasia has nix. In this saga, Gimnasia makes one last attempt for some dignity.
Started on 27 May 2020 by Tango
Latest Reply on 18 July 2020 by J_ames
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Very comprehensive update, I like it! Also a great season in the league and a promising start in the Copa Libertadores!
Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 yearsEdited

The rise and fall of Bruno Vides

February, 2023

Everyone has their ups and downs. Some people realize it, change their ways, and correct their path. Others prefer to stay grounded on the past, without realizing that we are living in the present. This is a story about the latter.

I'm still mesmerized by the content of the conversation I've had last month with Bruno Vides. Bruno, you know, has been a player of utmost importance during the reconstruction of this club. He's no Maradona, he has no technique, but he knows how to slot the ball where it needs to be, and for a long time, this is all we needed.

His performance in Clásicos were something else. He came to decide Clásicos as they come. Gimnasia has never been so dominant in Clásicos, and Bruno has a huge part on this dominance. Again, not a complete striker, but he did wonders for our fans.

I was planning on using him for a while after the arrival of Sebá Rodríguez. I'm not gonna lie, Sebá is a talent far beyond that of Bruno, but his limited finishing skills made me sketch a plan where we would give him a lot of training before starting him. But Bruno latest exhibitions forced me to cut this plan short, as he just stopped scoring.

It was since August the seventh that he didn't score. His 4 goals against Táchira would still put him on the table as Gimnasia's top scorer in the Copa Libertadores, but he hasn't scored in the knockout stages. The magic is just gone and he was outgrown by the club status. And that's OK. I knew this day would come, and I've been planning for some weeks whether to let him go, how to pay the due respects with the due celebration of his accomplishments. Last month, it changed.

I wasn't expecting for Bruno when he came into my office. He turned the doorknob, stuck his head into the room and asked if it was OK for him to come in. I wasn't busy, so I let him in.

I was already rehearsing in my mind how to save this conversation, how to talk about the bad news. As he stepped into my office, I thought he was aware of what was going on and we would have a peaceful conversation about the future. Until the moment when he, bearer of an inexplicable lack of self-awareness, pronounced these words:

- Hey gaffer. Now that we won the Copa Libertadores, I think it's about time for you to give me another raise to reflect how important I am to this institution.

In that moment I knew this conversation would be harsher than predicted.

- With all due respect, Bruno, you've got a raise last year and you've been scoreless for a long time. You know, I had to start Khalil instead of you on the latest games. You haven't started a game for quite a while... Are you sure you are in a position to request another contract?
- Oh, come on, Khalil hasn't being doing that well.
- Neither have you.
- Nah, it's just a phase, you know.
- So ask for a contract after this phase is over. - After I said that I could see his face turning red.
- Listen, man. I've been carrying you and this group of dorks on my back for some years now. This team was only about me, and we got a Superliga because of me. You owe your manager career to me. Be reasonable, just give me a contract.

You know what? I've had enough. All the importance of Bruno Vides has gone down the drain after this disrespectful behavior. I exploded:

- Yes, you WERE important for this team, Bruno. And you got rewarded as such at the right time! But now the club has outgrown you, and honestly, Sebá Rodríguez and Khalil Caraballo have way more to offer than you do now. When you came in here, I thought we would have a conversation about you wanting to stay or to leave, to be important somewhere else! Now, I'm sure that your future doesn't belong here, you've been disrespectful to me, and bear in mind that you are not more important than the club. I've had enough, Bruno, you're done here! Tell your agent and pack your bags! And for last, but not the least: I don't owe you shit, boludo, I don't owe you shit!

I don't know if he heard what I said. I haven't heard a word of what he was yelling at me while I yelled at him. It was nasty, two grown men yelling at each other for money. Well, at least he was in it for money. And I don't know if I handled this well, I don't know if I did the best I could, all I know is that it was a nightmare and I lost some nights of sleep trying to find a new club for him. First, I tried to offer him by his transfermarkt value of 4 million euros. Not a single soul. Then, I tried to get some open offers for him. The 2 million euros, from Argentinos, was the highest bid. Shit. You know what? Good riddance.

Replies


@ScottT "perennial bridesmaid" I just loved it. And yeah, beating Estudiantes will take time, but we are up for the task

@Jack only the scenes of the next episodes will tell!

@TheLFCFan yep, that is by far the best moment of the history of this institution, and we gotta profit from it the best we can

@Griffo yeah, we are starting to compete with the European teams for Argentine players, and Boca and River are being forced to step up their game

@Zed thanks, I appreciate it! I hope we can keep up the good work!
That turned nasty quickly! A shame that someone who has been quite influential on the rise of the club has probably tarnished it all in a matter of moments.
Aw, a shame that such a hero had to turn so sour. However, it was very cheeky to request another deal at this moment in time. I agree, good riddance!
Ouch! Certainly not what you want but for a player, let alone someone that wasn't performing to expected standards, to disrespect the manager it is good to show you stand up to him and show him the door. Might not be as much money as wanted but will make others think a lot harder before coming with demands!
First - congrats for the title, another great achievement and you are the current powerhouse of Argentinian football.

As for Bruno - you've said it right. (actually SAF) - never allow the player to become more than the club. Ciao, Bruno!

16: A new powerhouse?

Pre-season 2023/24

I shall confess to you that the impostor syndrome was still kicking in after the first Argentine title. We won the league, indeed, but a shorter version with plenty of room for surprises. It felt just like out of the all possible surprises, we got lucky.

Now it is a totally different story. A Copa Libertadores trophy has been added to our trophy room and we won a Superliga with 40 rounds, leaving a wobbly Boca Juniors behind. It is time to think about Gimnasia as a national and maybe continental powerhouse, and more important than that, it is time to behave like one.

Transfers


In

José Mauri, 27 years old: the deep lying playmaker was promised to have a thrilling international career. Things started to go south when his club, Parma, declared bankruptcy, but he is still a good player for the Argentine football.
Francisco González, 21 years old: a talented winger that can play at both sides of the attacking half. Another player coming from Newell’s after years of frustration of not getting back up.
Luciano Fontana, 19 years old: incredibly promising talent, worth every single penny of his huge transfer fee, the right wing-back is expected to do wonders for the Lobos.
Joaquín Díaz, 19 years old: with less pizzazz than Fontana, but playing at the same function, he is set to be a top quality player for the Argentine football. He will be a solid option for the starting XI after Europe steal Fontana away from us.
Thiago Chiappa, 20 years old: despite the young age, he is more a reality than a promise. Player of outstanding quality that I still don’t understand how we could get him without competition, the playmaker is set to carry this team to our future glories.
Federico Pesenti, 20 years old: the left wing-back will come as an option for Agustín Bindella. Although still promising left back, he was harmed by some years lost in the third division.

Out

Not a spectacular amount of money coming in this time, but we managed to get rid of some dead weight. Lautaro Chávez has gone after years of unsuccessful attempts of shaping him into a start, and Tomás López is one of these players that got outgrown by the club’s status. I don’t think he will be sad to receive his salary in Euros for some years.

The most surprising sell was the sell of José Cabral. Talleres came out of nowhere with 4 million euros for our promising left back, and I decided to let him go. Despite his potential, his favorite functions were not exactly appropriate for our football style.

Copa Argentina 2023


We faced UAI Urquiza at the 5th round. Even though they won the Argentine league five times since 2012 in the feminine category, they are not as successful in the masculine, lying in the third division. For that matter, the 1-1 tie would be a great result for the club, but in the wrong category.

And yes, we had to go the penalty shootouts to eliminate a lower tiered team. AGAIN.

Superliga Argentina 2023/24 - Expectations


For the first time ever, the gambling operators are putting Gimnasia in the title fight. As they got it wrong by miles twice in the last three years, I see that we finally received the acknowledgment that we deserve. Or else, maybe, they are tired of losing money. We are predicted to be in a 4-way fight for the title with Boca, River, and San Lorenzo, but I don’t think that El Ciclón is up to the task. To the bottom of the table, Rosario Central will be in that relegation fight. As the situation unfolds, Newell’s accumulates failed attempts of coming back and Central has been threatening to get down for years. The future doesn’t shine bright at Rosario.

Replies


@ScottT I was looking for better ways to let him go or bench him, but I couldn't do nothing after that behavior

@Jack, yeah, I mean, context, right?

@TheLFCFan my biggest fear at the time was losing the team in such a crucial time, so money is not the issue here

@OneMoreGame the club might have been underachieving for a while, but has always been traditional. No one can be bigger than the club, really
I think you got it spot on with the title to this update, you are slowly taking over the country. Chiappa is an incredible signing.
Spending money now, Fontana looks to be very promising and hopefully will play a major role in your long term future. Excited for the season ahead!
You love a good penalty-shootout! ;) Some really good signings made. I particularly like the look of Chiappa. His age is an obvious factor but his immediate talent is also scarily good!
Fontana and Chiappa look like amazing signings, hope they can deliver for you and help cement your place at the top of Argentinian football!

The dominator and the dominated

First semester of the 2023/24 Season

There is no hiding from the responsibilities now. Our team has grown stronger, our club has grown powerful. We have a duty to show this strength and power on the pitch and consolidate ourselves as a powerhouse.

Well, there is plenty of room for that. Money is starting to flow into the Argentine football, and moments like these are crucial in order to define new balances of power. Our mission now is to be at the spotlight and to get the attention of the big investors who triggered this inflow of cash. And the best way of doing that is by getting results.

Superliga Argentina – Rounds 1 to 21



Well, you have seen today’s title. There is a reason for it. We have played dominant football and our competitors were far behind us. With a total of 18 wins, 2 draws, and only 1 loss in 21 games, we came to show everyone who we have become.

Highlights

Round 01 Gimnasia 1-1 All Boys: looking in retrospective, it’s unbelievable that such an incredible campaign has started with such a disappointing game.
Round 03 Independiente 0-2 Gimnasia: we started to look strong after we dominated and grabbed a solid win over the Rojos.
Round 04 Estudiantes 1-2 Gimnasia: despite their bad moment, Estudiantes are always trying to make it rough for us. But the tougher they play, the stronger we show ourselves.
Round 05 Racing Club 1-2 Gimnasia: to finish off a tough week with three away games against traditional rivals (adding up to 12 Copa Libertadores titles), Ianni got to rapidly turn around a game that started bad.
Round 08 Boca Juniors 1-0 Gimnasia: our first and only defeat came from a game where we failed to display the dominance that we displayed elsewhere. Boca controlled the match and got a deserved win.
Round 09 Belgrano 1-6 Gimnasia: in a game that started tough, we managed to win by a landslide after breaking the deadlock in the first minutes of the second half.
Round 11 River 1-3 Gimnasia: one of my proudest moments was to completely overpower River at the historical Monumental de Núñez. Karime got one back right after our third goal, but that does not outshine our brilliance.
Round 15 Argentinos Juniors 0-2 Gimnasia: this one was important for two reasons: (1) get one over Vides after the tragic events of February and (2) get a dominant win over a club that has given me plenty of problem in the near past.
Round 19 Defensores de Belgrano 1-5 Gimnasia: with a brilliant display from José Luis Malo, we managed to uncomplicate a game that we complicated in the first half.
Round 20 San Lorenzo 1-2 Gimnasia: victories in the Nuevo Gasómetro are special to me because of the hard conditions of playing there: tough crowd, narrow pitch, and a strong opponent.
Round 21 Gimnasia 2-2 Boca: after crushing everyone at the table, we failed to beat Boca. Maybe their shirt still intimidates my players, but the tie was actually a good result after the dreadful start.

San Esteban's Clásico Platense Count: 6-4-1

Argentina – Manager of the Year / Team of the Year / Young Player of the Year

Superliga Argentina – Standings



And we are some miles ahead of Boca right now. Even though we did not manage to beat them, we got a 12-points lead over them, making their title hopes an uphill battle. Vélez falls 7 points behind Boca, and after them, a tight battle for the last Copa Libertadores spots unfolds.

On the other end of the table, Aldosivi, Atlético Tucumán, Godoy Cruz, and Defensores de Belgrano are monopolizing the relegation fight, as Argentinos Jrs, the 16th, stand 6 points above them. It is sad to see Atlético Tucumán going down after their meteoric rise with their apex reaching the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores in 2018, but their recent displays have been disappointing, and their spot is well deserved.

Copa Libertadores de América 2023 – Knockout Stages


Second Round vs. Atlético Nacional

1st Leg Atlético Nacional 1-1 Gimnasia: all emotions were reserved to the dying moments of the game, as a boring event unfolded into a thrilling match after Lucas Santos opened the scoreline for the home side at the 88’ minute and Malo, playing at his home country, got us an equalizer at the 94th minute.

2nd Leg Gimnasia 3-0 Atlético Nacional: even though the 0-0 would get us through, I wanted a win in order to avoid complications. It started at the 39th minute, with Cabrera. The goal helped us to control the match and the second and third goals came naturally.


Quarter-finals vs. Palmeiras

1st Leg Palmeiras 1-2 Gimnasia: as Palmeiras has risen as an economic powerhouse in Brazilian football, we prepared ourselves to suffer for this game. With a defensive counterattacking approach, we managed to get the first blood with Leonel Vega. Our joy did not make it to the half-time, as Otávio found an equalizer right before the whistle. Our relief came only at the 88th minute, when Sebá Rodríguez got a weird goal on a rebound to seal our victory.

2nd Leg Gimnasia 0-0 Palmeiras: our miracle in the first leg made our rivals nervous, as we could see by their succession of fouls throughout the game. Their shaking legs made them blow the vast majority of their plays, unable to harm our lead.


Semifinals vs. Grêmio

1st Leg Grêmio 4-0 Gimnasia: after last year’s title won against them, and this year’s group won also against team, we could see in their eyes that Grêmio have had enough of our shit. The quick winger Pepê got them ahead some couple of minutes into the game, and they were ferocious on our attempts to get back up. In the second half, Pepê got his second and the landslide began, showing how useless ball possession can be sometimes.

2nd Leg Gimnasia 3-2 Grêmio: with the elimination in the bag and the ticket home already purchased, I told the lads to at least get a win, for pride. It did not start well, as we were 2-0 down at the 40th minute, but our team showed a bit of self-respect and turned it around in the second half.


In the end, a spectacular 8-goals game has given Grêmio another defeat in the Final after penalty shootouts, and Flamengo got their third title in a season dominated by Brazilian sides.

Copa Libertadores’ Review

Copa Argentina 2023


Seventh Round Gimnasia 1-1 Racing Club (5-3 after p.s.o.): I have lost all hope to win a game at this competition. Sebá Rodríguez has tried his best opening the scoreline at the 2nd minute of the game, but we gave away a goal in the first minutes of the second half. And again we had to recur to penalty shootouts to win.

Quarter-finals Boca Juniors 0-0 Gimnasia (4-2 after p.s.o.): there is a limited amount of times that you can get away with not winning and qualifying on penalties. This line has been drawn in front of us at the quarter-finals, when Boca had plenty of footage to study our penalty shootouts after so many occasions.


Replies


@Jack we have a position and a responsibility now. And we gotta acknowledge it

@TheLFCFan well, for all good reasons, this is not being an exciting season

@ScottT no I don't, they just keep following me wherever I go. And yeah, Chiappa has the level of a player from a good European team

@Zed cement is the word, more important than getting it is keeping it
A thrilling start to the season. An absolute storming start at that! I suspect another title is coming your way if you don't completely fold in the second-half of the season. Hope I haven't tempted fate...

Quite a disappointing first leg against Gremio proved to be irreversible. A good effort in the second-leg but it wasn't to be unfortunately. Nor was it in the cup. Will you ever win it?! It has your number!
Yep, Now it's you vs Boca in Argentina as there the only team can beat you (as in the cup), but they will fall over against other clubs. It's absolute great achievement that you turned Gimnasia into the best team in the country.

In the Libertadores it's you versus the big teams from Brazil. This time Gremio won but again you almost take your team to a second consecutive final which again is huge!
Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 yearsEdited

Record breaker

Second half of the 2023/24 Season

Our dominant exhibitions in the first half of the league put us in a very comfortable position. After opening 12 points over Boca, I started to think about the records. They are not as relevant as a trophy, but they keep our wheels spinning: as we aim for higher prizes, we can avoid complacency.

From this moment on, I had a hard time finding centre backs in the market. The options are limited, as the demand in Europe for Argentine defenders is growing huge and they leave young. I had to expand the search and could fine a young gem (as an option for the future, not for the first squad) at Instituto, in the Primera B, the second level of the league system. The kid costed me 3 million euros, a high price that you have to pay for a second division player in times of shortage of supply. The talented winger I brought from Belgrano, in the other hand, costed me only 2,5M.

Roberto di Santo, 19 years old: the promising defender comes as a precaution, as Europe and China are swooping Argentine defenders here and there. As it gets harder and harder to sign full grown defenders, we better develop our own.
Juan Pérez, 18 years old: this kid can shoot with either foot and play in either wing. The same story as usual, we've seen a promising player in the market, we had the money, and we got him.

Out

China came with loads of money this time, and they would have gotten a lot more, but many of my players did not fancy an adventure in the East. The sell of Agustín Bindella to Wuhan (cringe) broke the record as the biggest sum ever paid for a basurero. I just hope he has an uneventful stay in the capital of the Hubei province, far from any world-stopping pandemic (the plague of the 14th century was also originated in Wuhan).

Superliga Argentina - Rounds 22 to 38



The remaining 17 games were not as successful as the first 21, but the 13 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses are also a satisfying result and enough to break some records.

Highlights

R23 Chacarita Juniors 2-4 Gimnasia: in an eventful match without many of my best players out in the pre-Olympic games, we haven't played our best (not at all!) but still got a nice 4-2 win.
R28 Huracán 1-0 Gimnasia: this Juan Fernando Garro type has somehow got my weak spot. He always scores against us yet he is useless against our rivals. Next time I see him I'm gonna send my defenders right to his ankle. F***ing bastard.
R31 Gimnasia 1-0 River: as the season starts to get to the end and the title is on the way, we start to do the basics. In this case, a basic 1-0 win with a set piece goal was more than enough.
R34 Gimnasia 4-1 Rosario Central: the lads did it only to irritate me. They knew they could overpower Central, they knew they were far better than their opponents. They just waited until the 81st minute to show it to piss me off.
R35 Gimnasia 2-0 Estudiantes: Estudiantes is determined to lose against us for a tight margin. After the early second goal, there were so many fouls and yellow cards that nothing else happened.
R36 Vélez 3-2 Gimnasia: in one of the best games in the season, we managed to get a tie after Vélez opened 2-0, but a late - I mean late - penalty awarded the home side an undeserved win.

San Esteban's Clásico Platense Count: 7-4-1
All Time Clásico Platense Count: 57-68-67


Superliga Argentina - Final Standings



In the end, Boca fell apart and the 12 point-gap became almost 30. Vélez, on the other hand, had a fantastic second half of the season, with a similar record to ours, emerging as Gimnasia's actual title rival, but still falling 16 points behind. No match for the Lobos this year, I'm afraid.

At the other end, the sad relegation of Godoy Cruz and Atlético Tucumán, clubs not so traditional, but their origins in the countryside Argentina will be missed, as the league is dominated by teams from the Buenos Aires province. Both Godoy Cruz and Atlético Tucumán played in the Copa Libertadores in the late 2010s, participating for the last time in 2017 and 2020, respectively.

Awards - Best Manager / Team of the Season / Top Goalscorer
Records - Number of Wins, 31 / Number of Points, 97 / Games Undefeated, 19

Supercopa Argentina


SCA Vélez 0-1 Gimnasia: In a tight game, we lifted the Supercopa Argentina after a marginal victory over Vélez.

Copa Argentina - 5th Round


5R Gimnasia 1-0 Estudiantes de Buenos Aires: in the competition already famous for its unnecessary tough games, we managed to not go to penalties this time.

Copa Libertadores - Group Stage


In the group stage, we were drawn against Universitario and two old acquaintances, Atlético Nacional and Grêmio. Pretty much the group of death.

R1 Grêmio 1-1 Gimnasia: there was plenty of expectations over this debut. Gimnasia caused Grêmio a big upset by beating them in the Copa Libertadores 2022 final. Grêmio caused Gimnasia a huge upset by overpowering them in last year's semifinal. As the bitterness grows between the two of us, we got a tie away from home, that could be determinant in order to define the winner of the group.
R2 Gimnasia 6-0 Universitario: the comic relief of a tense group, Universitario could have much more chances had they fall in a different group. In this group, however, they can consider themselves out of the competition. Gastón Ianni scored four, completely out of the Peruvians' reach.
R3 Atlético Nacional 2-3 Gimnasia: another team in this group capable of producing entertainment are the Verdolaga side. The result itself looks way more emotional than the game actually was, but they showed themselves a dignified adversary, capable of something bigger this year.
R4 Gimnasia 3-0 Atlético Nacional: in La Plata, however, the Verdolagas barely touched the ball. In a dominant display, we got a natural 3-0 win.
R5 Universitario 0-2 Gimnasia: the Peruvians tried to pose a tougher challenge this time, and they did it to some extent. Our power, however, was too much for them.
R6 Gimnasia 5-0 Grêmio: as Grêmio tumbled awfully against Atlético Nacional at home in the previous game, the final round of the group was a great opportunity for us to simultaneously avenge the 4-0 defeat last year and to eliminate a team that could emerge from their own ashes to harm us later on. As we were pumped, something was off to their team, and, well, we got that one back.


Around the World



Some set of surprises this season. Fluminense finally broke the deadlock and got their first international title ever. In Europe, Bayern got the UCL trophy back to Germany and Atlético continued the long-time tradition of Spanish champions in the UEL.

In the national leagues, Once Caldas shocked Colombia (twice!) and Fiorentina finally brought some spice to the decadent Italian Serie A. Even though they got the UCL, Bayern didn't manage to win the domestic league, beaten by Dortmund. In the Netherlands, finally someone else got it over Ajax. Feyenoord were the champions.

Replies


@ScottT You couldn't jinx it, I'm some seasons ahead. And I've given up on the Cup, the Club World Cup shall be easier.

@OneMoreGame both Boca and River are disappointing me, to be honest. Vélez is surging with more potential than them at the time. And yeah, Brazilian teams are dominating the continental landscape, but with some hard work we can fight them.

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